With the latest iPhones and iPads shooting 4K video at 60fps, you can quickly run out of storage space – especially if you only have 64GB of storage to play with.
Aside from the fact that it’s not a good idea to back up these precious memories, you’ll want to copy those large videos off your iPhone to free up space. Here’s how to get videos from iPhone to PC fast and easy – and for free.
Using Lightning cable
There are literally dozens of Windows apps that let you manage your iPhone’s storage and can transfer photos and videos to and from your PC. But you don’t need any of those, and you certainly don’t need to pay for the software.
Oops, you don’t even need iTunes – it’s just as easy as dragging and dropping files from your Android phone or USB flash drive.
All you need is a laptop or Windows PC and the USB cable that came with your iPhone or iPad. If you don’t already have that on hand, you can buy one on Amazon for just £6.99.
Step 1. Connect your iPhone/iPad to your PC with a Lightning cable (or 30 pins if you’re connecting to an iPhone 4S or below).
Step 2. Press the Windows key + E to launch the File Explorer window.
Step 3. Wake your iPhone and unlock it. Tap ‘Trust this computer’ if prompted.
Step 4. Click your iPhone under This Computer (or My Computer on earlier versions of Windows).
Step 5. Double-click Internal Storage on the right, then DCIM and you should see one or more folders, labeled 100APPLE, 101APPLE, 102APPLE, etc.
Step 6. If you want the most recent videos, click the folder with the highest number. The oldest ones are in the directory with the lowest number.
Step 7. Photos, screenshots, and videos are displayed in a list in ascending chronological order. You can select everything in the folder or just select the video.
Top tips: Hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on different files to select them. You can also sort folders By Type so that all .MOV files – videos – are together.
Step 8. You can then right-click on the selected files, copy them, and paste in the folder of your choice.
If your iOS devices aren’t recognized by Windows when you plug them in, we’ll cover how to make your iPhone or iPad show up separately in File Explorer.
Use iCloud Photo Library
There used to be a Windows program called iCloud Control Panel, but Apple removed that program a few years ago and offered an updated replacement for it: iCloud for Windows
This works with Apple’s iCloud Photo Library, which is available on all devices running iOS 8 or later. This replaces the older Photo Stream function for backing up photos but not backing up videos. With Photo Library, photos and videos are seamlessly synced with iCloud and your other devices like PC or laptop.
There is a downside, however. Unless all your photos and videos will fit in 5GB of free iCloud storage, you’ll have to pay to upgrade for more storage. That’s 79p per month for 50GB, £2.49 for 200GB or £6.99 for 1TB.
Again, to clarify, you can only enable iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone or iPad if you have enough storage space in your iCloud account.
Once you have this set up (which also involves enabling iCloud Photo Library on your phone or tablet – the option is in Settings -> Photos), you can download iCloud for Windows from the link above. Launch it and next to Photos, click Options. Here you can tick the box next to ‘Download new photos and videos to my PC’ and you can choose the folder where they will be stored.
You can also – if you want – upload all the photos and videos from a certain folder on your PC to iCloud Photo Library so they’re available on all your iOS devices.
Also, note that this method – apparently – requires iCloud to be enabled on your iPhone or iPad. Plus, the software only works with Windows 7 and up.
Use a third-party cloud storage service
If you don’t like the sound of iCloud for any reason, you always have the option of using a third-party cloud storage service to backup and transfer your videos from iPhone to PC, although the process depends on the hosting service you choose.
We recommend using Google Photos, a Google Drive app that will back up your entire photo and video library for free. Once backed up, you’ll be able to access your favorite videos from the Google Photos website on your PC.
There are a few caveats, as with most things in tech: you’ll have to pay for storage if you want to save full-resolution videos, or accept Google’s unlimited storage with limits on video quality. The video will be downscaled from 4K to 1080p and the photo will be compressed, which, although that’s a very impressive compression method, doesn’t really affect the overall image quality.
Google Photos also offers the ability to delete all photos and videos from your iPhone once backed up to iCloud, allowing you to free up valuable space on your device while still being able to access your content. through the Google Photos app.
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