How to Quickly & Easily Import iPhone Photos to a Windows Computer in ios 9 | 2015

Fall 2015 | Apple Just Released ios 9 to All Users

One Notable absence in ios 9…which continues to frustrate a large portion of Apple’s fanbase is this:

Apple (somewhat stubbornly) Failed Once Again to Provide Users with Basic Methods for Managing Large Photo Collections


The newest Apple Live Event was about a month ago.  Some of the most exciting news announcements for me were:

  • The long anticipated and much larger tablet called the iPad Pro (November)
  • A vastly improved new iPhone 6s (Sept 25)
  • A welcomed upgrade to iPad Mini Air’s cpu (Nov)
  • A brand new Apple TV upgrade (Oct)
  • Apple Pencil, which is Apple’s entree into the stylus market…you can see that part of the Live Event here
  • And of course an all new ios 9 (Sept 16), OS X El Capitian (Sept 30), and OS 2 for Watch (Sept 16)

Unfortunately for me, in order to take full advantage of some of these great new features and products, I still need to gain control of all my iCloud content, especially my massive photo collection.

My Best Estimates Put My iCloud Photos at Around 17,500 Currently

The reason I don’t know the actual number is because sometime in July, during the course of a 2 week family vacation and lots of new photos that were imported using the Camera Connection SD Card Reader…my iCloud suddenly stopped backing up all of my photos…I’d switched to Apple’s new iCloud Drive.

What was even worse was that my husbands iCloud photo backups came to an abrupt halt too!  His estimated count is in the 16,000 range.  But we won’t know for sure until iCloud has included our newest photos in it’s database.

Enlight ios App Sample Photos

These are sample photos from my newest favorite photo editing app.  My husband discovered it.  It’s for ios and if it works right this is a link to it. It’s called Enlight just in case my link doesn’t :-/. OK, it didn’t link so I’ll try it this way…link to Enlight in the App Store.


Fast Forward 2 Months

We’ve tried literally every trick in the book to restart iCloud photo backups.  As a precaution and in anticipation of our upcoming multi-back-to-back Genius Bar appointments, which generally tend to result in the same advice each time…restore each affected device to a new state…don’t risk using their previous backups.

We’ve started backing up all those errant vacation photos at:

  • Amazon Cloud
  • Dropbox
  • Google Photos
  • One Drive

The situation frankly resulted in one huge mess.  Once again we found ourselves with tons of photos  scattered around the the web.  Which also quite frankly, is really disappointing after our initial excitement that Apple was finally getting their act together with the new iCloud drive.

Only time will tell if Apple manages to bring iCloud Drive up to the standards set by the other four Cloud giants mentioned above!

Which is why I’m thrilled to have finally figured out an awesome work-around to the problem of importing photos from ios devices to Windows computers quickly and easily.

Picasa, Google’s Free Photo Management Software Comes to the Rescue

The Face Recognition Utility is One Reason I Love Picasa

I’ve been a big fan of Picasa for years.  First of all it’s free.  Second, the innovations to the app, while not frequent, have tended to be excellent.  My favorite is Picasa’s Face Recognition feature.  As if automatically having Picasa scan all the drives on my desktop for photos then organizing them by date wasn’t enough (all while concurrently giving me a great method for scanning through all of my photos quickly and easily thereby allowing me to locate exactly what I’m looking for in a photo library that’s terabytes in size)…the Face Recognition aspect just makes it all that much better.

Granted, you do need to spend a little time on the front end helping Picasa to assign the correct names to faces.  But once you’ve spent a few hours doing this, the accuracy of the feature is uncanny.  Using current photos of family members who are middle-aged and older, Picasa correctly ID’s them as children and even as infants!   It’s really quite amazing!  (I did recently discover and work with Apple’s face recognition software too…and it’s pretty good…but it doesn’t seem to be as intelligent as the Picasa engine.)

My Discovery That Picasa Can Easily Import Photos from iPhones & iPads

Sorry I digressed!   In addition to scanning all of your hard drives and folders looking for photos to organize, Picasa also offers an easy import function. I just figured out almost by accident today that when an ios device is connected, Picasa can see it!  Therefore Picasa can import photos from it…all in one fell swoop!!  It’s really fast and easy too!!!

I can’t stop feeling amazed because I’ve been using Picasa for years and I’ve also been struggling with this problem for years!

Other Alternatives:

Here’s a brief recap of  my experiences using Apple’s recommended methods.

  • iTunes photo sync…this just plain scares me with their immediate cautions that you’ll lose everything when you sync things back and forth.
  • Windows Explorer transfer…this is done by connecting an ios device and then using Windows to access the photos on your device.  This an extremely slow and tedious process.  It involves opening folder upon folder, and sorting by file type, and then manually selecting the jpgs and copying them to another folder.  The process is exhausting and it’s not even all that accurate.  The problem seems to stem from the way ios stores files differently than Windows does.  This results in numerous duplicates, which create exceptions which Windows constantly warns you about…telling you that those photos have already been copied and asking you if you want to replace them.  If you power through to the end you’re left with a massive amount of photos in one folder.  But they probably didn’t all get transferred, there may be duplicates, and those that did transfer are now in one big unorganized mess!
  • Downloading iCloud photos to your computer…if your iCloud backups are still working this is one more alternative.  But trust me when I tell you that you don’t need to bother with this method at all.  It’s accomplished in an extremely piecemeal fashion…only a few files can download simultaneously.  Therefore you need to be actively engaged every 2-3 minutes to begin the next group.  It’s almost impossible to identify what hasn’t been done yet if you happen to lose your place, and the process aggressively takes over all your network’s bandwidth so if any family members are around you’re bound to hear complaints from them.  Did I mention we have amazing bandwidth but couldn’t pull off this method successfully?

Quick Steps to Import Photos and Videos With Picasa

Here’s my quick version of how to import photos easily using Picasa. It’s pretty easy as I mentioned previously, but if anyone has problems and wants step by step screenshots, please leave me a comment below and I’ll elaborate upon this.


  1. Connect an iPad or iPhone to your computer
  2. Turn off Sleep and screensaver on your computer
  3. Turn off Auto-lock on your ios device
  4. In top left corner use the Import function
  5. In the bottom left corner set where you want the imports to be placed on your hard drives
  6. Click on Import in the bottom right side

Bonus |  MacWorld UK’s Video answered all my questions  about Apple’s new Live Photos

This bonus doesn’t really have much to do with the main topic of this post... I really just added it because I ran across this great video today and it was really helpful.  Especially because I got a new iPhone that can take Live Photos…so I thought I’d add it here since it is at least about ios photos too…so there’s some tangential connection.


About vsajewel

Hi...I'm the author of 2 main blogs on WordPress...vsatips...where I write tech tips for mobile devices...primarily ios...2nd is vsatrends...where I write less about tech things and more about everything else. I also host a YouTube channel which I use to better illustrate some of the 'how to's' in my posts. I love everything about technology. Currently, my main interests/platforms are ios, Windows and Amazon Echo. Recently I decided we were spending way too much money with our local cable provider. So I decided to cut the cord. There is a definite learning curve, especially the antennae part, but we successfully did that and are now saving a boatload of money, so I write some about that. I also am extremely conscientious about security because of an event my family endured , so I write a lot about that too. Two sub-categories of security I tend to focus on are the password manager Dashlane and Hardware Firewalls. Last, I take a lot of notes and have been a beta tester for Evernote for many years. I love Evernote! In recent years Apple has beefed up Apple Notes a it’s become a fairly serious note long as its OK if you lose or mess up all your Apple note data. I write about those 2 note platforms primarily.
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