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How to transfer photos from iPhone to iPhone

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By Simon Hill


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How to transfer photos from an iPhone to an iPhone
Simon Hill/Digital Trends

Maybe you’re about to head home after a party, or you’ve had a fun day out with family, and before you go someone wants to grab that awesome group photo you took. If you both have iPhones, then it’s easy to share your shots with a few simple taps. Let’s take a look at how to transfer photos from an iPhone to an iPhone.

If you’re looking for a method to transfer photos from your old iPhone to your new iPhone, don’t worry, we’ll cover that, too.

How to transfer photos from your iPhone to someone else’s iPhone

Apple’s AirDrop is perfect for quickly sending or receiving photos from people nearby. To begin with, you need to make sure that both the sending and receiving iPhones have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on and Personal Hotspot turned off. You can open the Control Center to check by swiping up from the bottom of the screen on an iPhone 8 or older, or swiping down from the top right corner of the screen on the iPhone X or newer.

Photo transfer AirDrop on iPhonePhoto transfer AirDrop on iPhonPhoto transfer AirDrop on iPhon

To turn on AirDrop you need to tap and hold on the network settings card in the top left corner of the Control Center (the same place you’ll see your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icons). Now tap to turn AirDrop on and select Contacts Only or Everyone. If the person you’re sharing photos with is one of your contacts, then tap the Contacts Only option, if not tap Everyone.

Share photo iPhone to iPhone with AirDropShare photo iPhone to iPhone with AirDropShare photo iPhone to iPhone with AirDrop

The sender should open up their Photos app, find the photo they want to share, and tap the Share icon at the bottom left (rectangle with an arrow pointing up). The top section immediately under the photo will show nearby iPhones. Tap on the relevant one to share the photo.

The receiver will see the photo up on screen with the option to Decline or Accept. Simply tap on Accept and you’re done. The photo will be added to your Photos app.

How to transfer photos from your old iPhone to your new iPhone

We have a full guide on how to backup your iPhone, which will allow you to save all the photos from your old iPhone and transfer them to your new iPhone, simply by restoring your backup during the setup process. We’ll quickly run through how to do it here anyway.

Transfer photos using iCloud

The easiest method is to use iCloud to transfer your photos wirelessly, but you only get 5GB of storage for free, so if you have a lot of photos you may need to buy more storage, or you can skip ahead and use iTunes instead.

Photo backup in iCloudPhoto backup in iCloudPhoto backup in iCloud

Open up Settings and tap on your name at the top, then tap iCloud > Photos and make sure that iCloud Photos at the top is toggled on. If you’re doing this on your old iPhone, then it will take some time for your photos to upload.

Log in with the same Apple ID on your new iPhone and repeat the process: Settings > [Your name] > iCloud > Photos and toggle on iCloud Photos.

You can select Optimize iPhone Storage or Download and Keep Originals, we recommend the first option to save on storage space. It will take some time for your photos to download, but that’s you done.

Transfer photos using iTunes

If you’ve yet to set up your new iPhone, then you can always restore a backup of your old iPhone, which will include photos, during the setup process. Here’s how:

Make sure your computer or laptop has the latest version of iTunes installed. Plug your old iPhone into your computer and open the iTunes software. Select your iPhone in iTunes and click Summary in the left pane, then click on This computer under Backups in the right pane, and click Back Up Now. It will take a while, but you should see today’s date and time appear under Latest Backups when it’s done.

Turn on your new iPhone and the iOS Setup Assistant will give you the option to Restore from iTunes Backup. You’ll need to plug your new iPhone into the same computer and start up iTunes again. Select your new iPhone in iTunes and click Summary in the left pane, then click Restore iPhone in the right pane, then Agree and away you go. It will take some time to complete, but once it’s done all your old photos will be on your new iPhone.


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