How to Transfer Photos From iPhone to iPhone

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Besides financial or health information, your photos might be the most valuable thing on your iPhone. After all, they're one-of-a-kind items that, if you lose, you may not be able to ever get back. Because of that, it's crucial that you know how to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone when you get a new phone

Of course, photos aren't the only kind of data you may want to move. If you just want to transfer contacts, try the instructions in How to Transfer Contacts From iPhone to iPhone. If you'd rather transfer all data from one phone to another, make a backup and then restore from backup on the new phone.

But let's get back to photos. This article provides step-by-step instructions on three ways to move a lot of photos from one phone to another, as well as a tip for how to easily share just a few photos between your phones or with another person.

Transfer Photos with iCloud

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The basic idea of iCloud is that all devices logged into the same iCloud account can have the same data on them, including photos. This means that iCloud is designed to make it simple to move photos from one device to another. If you've set up two phones to connect to the same iCloud account and sync their Photos app with iCloud, uploading the photos from one phone will get them added to the other phone in short order (though the more photos you have, the more storage you'll need. As of publication, the costs to upgrade to 50 GB are US$0.99/month or 200 GB for $2.99.month). Follow these steps on both phones:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap your name at the top of the screen (in iOS 11. In iOS 10, tap ​iCloud and skip to step 4).
  3. Tap ​iCloud.
  4. Tap ​Photos.
  5. Move​ the iCloud Photo Library slider to on/green and photos will sync between the devices.​​ Depending on how many photos you have, and how fast your Internet connection is, this may take a while. Because uploading photos uses a lot of data, use Wi-Fi so you don't hit your monthly data limit.

CRUCIAL NOTE: If you're transferring photos because you're getting rid of one of the iPhones, be absolutely sure to log out of iCloud before resetting that phone/deleting its data. If you don't log out of iCloud, deleting the data/photos on the phone you're getting rid of will delete them from iCloud and all devices syncing with that iCloud account.

Transfer Photos by Syncing with a Computer

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Another simple way to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone is to sync the photos to a computer and then use that computer to sync them to a second iPhone. This works pretty much the same as any other time that you transfer content from the computer to your iPhone. It also​ assumes that the second iPhone is set up to sync to the same computer; that's key.

In this case, you can choose from two ways to sync:

Pick your option and follow these steps:​​

  1. Sync the iPhone wth the photos on it to the computer as you normally would.​​
  2. Click Photos in the left-hand column of iTunes.
  3. Check the box next to Sync Photos, if it's not already checked.
  4. Choose where you want to sync the photos: a folder, the Photos app on Mac, or the Windows Photos app on Windows.
  5. Check the box next to All Folders​​.
  6. Click Apply to save the changes​.
  7. Click Sync to sync the photos.​
  8. When the sync is done, check the syncing location selected in step 4 to make sure all the photos are present.​
  9. Disconnect the phone.​​
  10. Sync the second phone, the one you want to transfer the photos to. 
  11. Follow steps 2-7 above.
  12. When the sync is complete, check the Photos app on the iPhone to make sure they've transferred.
  13. Disconnect the phone.

Transfer Photos with Photo Apps like Google Photos

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If you're really into iPhone photography, there's a good chance you use a photo-sharing service like Google Photos. Since these kinds of apps/services ​are designed to make the photos added to them available on any device where you use the app, they can also help you transfer photos to a new phone. 

Because there are so many different photo-sharing apps, there's not enough room here to write step-by-step instructons for every one. Luckily, the basic concepts for how to use them to transfer photos are roughly the same for all of them. Adapt these steps as needed:

  1. Create an account with the app you prefer.
  2. Install the app on your iPhone if that's not already done.
  3. Upload all the photos you want to transfer to the new phone to the app.
  4. On the second iPhone, install the app and sign into the account you created in step 1.
  5. When you sign in, the photos you uploaded in step 3 will download to the app. 

Transfer Photos with AirDrop

Using AirDrop on iPhone
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If you just need to transfer a couple of photos between your phones, or want to share them with another nearby person, AirDrop is your best bet. It's an easy and fast wireless file-sharing feature built into the iPhone. To use AirDrop you need:

  • iPhones​​ running iOS 7 and up
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled
  • Phones that are within a few feet of each other.

With all of those conditions met, follow these steps to transfer photos using AirDrop:​

  1. Open the Photos app and find the photo(s) you want to share​​.​
  2. Tap Select​​.​
  3. Tap ​the photo(s) you want to share​.
  4. Tap the ​action box (the box with the arrow coming out of it).​
  5. Nearby devices that can receive files via AirDrop appear. Tap the one you want to send the photo(s) to.
  6. If both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID, the transfer happens right away. If one device uses another Apple ID (because it belongs to someone else, for example), a pop-up on their screen will ask them to Decline or Accept the transfer. Once accept, the photos will be transferred to their iPhone.

Transfer Photos Using Email

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Another option for transferring just a couple of photos is good, old email. Don't use email to send more than two or three photos, or to send very high-resolution photos, since that will take a while to send and can burn up your monthly data. But to quickly share a couple of photos either with yourself or with someone else, these steps make emailing them easy:

  1. Tap Photos to open it.
  2. Browse through your photos until you find the picture, or pictures, you want to email.
  3. Tap Select.
  4. Tap the photo, or photos, you want to email.
  5. Tap the action box (the square with the arrow coming out of it)
  6. Tap Mail.
  7. A new email, with the selected photo(s) in it appears.
  8. Fill out the email with an address, subject, and body however you want.
  9. Tap Send.