How to Import Photo and Video Files from iPhone and iPad to Windows PC


Apple usually doesn’t work well with others. It also goes to import photo and video files from iPhone and iPad to Windows PC. (Although Microsoft usually works great with Apple, in the sense Microsoft makes a lot of great applications on Apple platforms.)

Unlike importing photo and video files from iPhone and iPad to Mac, there is no AirDrop or Image Capture or Apple Photos to use. However, fortunately, because of the common case that people buy iPhone, no Mac but Windows PC, Apple has basic support for Windows PC in the terms of iPhone or iPad.

There are several good references I found when I tried to import photo files from my iPhone and iPad to my Windows PC as the following.

  • https://www.windowscentral.com/how-transfer-photos-iphone-and-ipad-your-windows-10-pc, Transfer photos from iPhone and iPad to your Windows 10 PC
  • https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201302, Transfer photos and videos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/import-photos-and-videos-from-an-iphone-to-pc-2e4e4db4-4c3d-041c-b88f-3ee4358dd95e, Import photos and videos from an iPhone to PC

Steps to Import Photo and Video Files from iPad Pro 4 to Surface Go 2 (from iPadOS 15.4 to Windows 11)

I didn’t try all the possibilities because I have my certain use case and also just certain devices, viz., my iPad Pro 4 and Surface Go 2 with iPadOS 15.4 and Windows 11.

What is the use case?

Transfer some info-images (mostly screenshots or images I save from the Internet) like the following ones from my iPad or my iPhone to my Surface Go 2 (Windows 11) to use in documents like this blog post.

So the underlying requirements also include importing in common photo file formats like jpeg, just as files not as photos in a specific application like Photos and with edit on iPad or iPhone applied instead of side-car files.

What is the method?

Copy photo and video from from the mounted Apple device.

In general, there are two major ways to import photo and video files from iPad and iPhone to Windows PC. One is via the Windows Photos app as given by the https://support.apple.com and https://support.microsoft.com, the other is to import via mounted Apple device as shown at https://www.windowscentral.com. I prefer the later, because it is cleaner without using Windows Photos or polluting the library of Windows Photos.

Steps in Images

In order to share my findings and experience, I took several screenshots. So let me use them to compose the steps to import photo and video files from my iPad to my Windows 11 Surface Go 2.

0. Connect iPad to Surface Go 2

At iPad side, there will be prompts asking for the trust, just trust it to continue.

At Windows side, there will also be a notification about the connection and when clicked, Windows 11 also provides shortcuts to do something with the connection.

1. Copy file on File Explorer

Be it by clicking on the „Open device to view files“ shown above or opening File Explorer new and navigating to the connected Apple device, just open the Internal Storage and DCIM thereafter. Then just like all other directories and files on Windows, they can be copied.

However, there are also several exceptions. The files and directories on the Internal Storage of Apple device cannot be deleted. Although the „Cut“ doesn’t report failure, the „Cut“ will succeed without deleing on the Internal Storage. (In comparison, explicit „Delete“ will result in an error.)

Only my guess, under the hood, these photo files shown on the Internal Storage are not really image files, they are just „exports“ of the Apple file system. And the Windows API is not fully implemented by Apple. (Typical because Apple doesn’t work well with others in general.)


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