Science & Technology



Tech Q&A: Backing up an iPhone while moving photos to PC

Steve Alexander, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Science & Technology News

Q: I back up iPhone photos to iCloud, and I'd like to transfer them from iCloud to my PC. But I was surprised to read in your column how much data the photos lose during the iCloud-to-PC transfer (see

You suggested transferring photos from the iPhone to Dropbox and from Dropbox to the PC, but I'd rather not have to do that. Can I just continue backing up to iCloud, then moving the photos from iCloud to Dropbox and from Dropbox to the PC?

-- John Swanson, Lakeville, Minn.

A: You should definitely keep backing up your photos (and your other iPhone data) to Apple's iCloud online storage service. That way, if your phone is lost or damaged, all of your data and photos can be transferred to a new iPhone without any loss of data.

But transferring photos to a PC via iCloud's "shared albums" results in a loss of data. Transferring photos via iCloud's "iCloud Drive" doesn't cause data loss, but requires sending the photos via a compressed zip folder, which must be decompressed before the pictures can be viewed.

Transferring photos from iCloud to Dropbox is more straightforward (see, but there's an easier way: Use the Dropbox automatic upload feature to copy multiple photos from your iPhone.


Here's how:

-- On your iPhone, go to Settings and choose the Dropbox app. Click "photos" and under "allow photos access" select "read and write."

-- On your Dropbox app, go to files, select "create" and in the resulting list choose "upload photos." You will then see your iPhone photos; touch the ones you want to upload and click "next." You will then be asked whether you want to upload them to Dropbox or to a specific file folder within Dropbox. Make a choice and click "upload."

-- Once Dropbox uploads the photos from your iPhone, it will automatically copy them to the Dropbox app on your PC -- provided that the PC and iPhone are signed in to the same Dropbox account. (Once the photos are in Dropbox on your PC, copy them to another PC folder. That way they won't be affected by future changes on Dropbox.)


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