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[1min-Tutorial] Transfer Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive

By Emily Watson, Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Updated on Thursday, June 27, 2019.

I believe that transferring photos from iPhone to an external hard drive is always a wise choice. For one thing, it backup iPhone photos to external hard drive and prevent permanent loss. For another, it saves your computer when you find available storage is starting to wane, assuming that you plan to transfer iPhone photos to a computer at first. 

Don't Miss Out:

Better yet, by copying photos from iPhone/iPad to external hard drive, you can view these photos on any computer since it is very convenient for you to bring this external photo storage for iPhone everywhere. In this guide, you'll discover three reliable ways to transfer photos from iPhone to external hard drive on Mac or Windows. And you may find out the best way to store photos from iPhone that fit you most.

Transfer iPhone Photos to External Hard Drive on Windows/Mac (Easiest Way)

FonePaw iOS Transfer is an intuitive and authentic tool that provides the easiest way to save iPhone photos to external hard drive. This program allows users to transfer many types of files, including moving photos from iOS devices to internal disks on Windows or Mac computers, external hard drive or flash drive. 

Images in Camera Roll, Photo Library and other photo albums on your iPhone can all be transferred in batch with ease. For example, you can transfer Google photos to iPhone in three simple steps. Better yet, you can move other large files, such as videos, movies, TV shows, etc. from iPhone X/8/8 Plus/7 Plus/7/6 to external drive and bring them to anywhere.

You can download the free trial version of the program on your computer based on computer running Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP or macOS X/Captain/Yosemite/Sierra. Now, just follow the steps to move pictures off iPhone to the hard drive for iPhone. 


SETP 1. Connect iPhone Xs/Xr/8/7/6s to the Computer

At the beginning, connect your iPhone to the computer and launch the program on the PC. Then it will detect your device and show it in the program as the below interface. Click More Info to get your device's details.

Connect iPhone to Computer

STEP 2. Connect External Drive to Computer

Now, connect your external hard drive to computer. You'd better scan your hard drive for viruses to protect your computer. And make sure the external hard drive has enough memory for the photos you want to export.

Connect External Hard Drive to Computer

STEP 3. Transfer Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive on Windows/Mac

When your iPhone is showing on the windows of FonePaw iOS Transfer, and your external hard drive is recognized by your computer, click "Photos", which is at the left panel of the program main window.

Now, you can see all photo albums on your iPhone. When you click any of the albums, the photos in the album will appear. You can select any photos you want to transfer to USB external hard drive. Click "Export to PC" option. In the next pop-up dialogue, select your external drive as the output destination.

Note that you can also back up iPhone photos to computers in this way.

Transfer Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive

Bonus: Move Videos/Movies from iPhone to External Hard Drive

Except for photos, videos (especially 4K videos) and movies can occupy your iPhone. Why not move them to external drive, too?

To move iPhone videos/movies to external drive, click "Photos" and then choose the "Videos" album (for those not captured by iPhone camera, select "Videos" directly). Here you can see all videos took. Select those you want to move and right click "Export to PC".

Transfer Music from iPhone to External Hard Drive

Download and Move iPhone Photos to External Hard Drive (May Eat Your Time)

Except for the convenient method mentioned above, you can also download iPhone photos after iCloud on your PC or Mac and then export the photos to the external hard drive.  

STEP 1. Enable iCloud sync feature for photos on your iPhone.

STEP 2. Use your iCloud account to log in on or iCloud program.

STEP 3. Choose Photos and wait till all photos are loaded.

iCloud Photos

STEP 4. Select the photos you need and click "Download selected item" buttom. It might need a few minutes if there are lots of pictures.

STEP 5. Connect your external hard drive to Windows PC/laptop or Mac and copy all the pictures to the drive.

STEP 6. If you don't need the pictures on the computer, you just delete the photos.

Export iPhone Photos to External Hard Drive (Only for Camera Roll Photos)

You can also use the default program on Win PC or Mac to export iPhone photos to external hard drive. However, the method can only be applied to photos in Camera Roll. If you have app photos or downloaded photos, you may use the above two methods. Now, you can follow the steps below to export pictures to external drive from iPhone. 

Windows Photo Gallery on PC

STEP1. Connect your iPhone to the PC.


  • If you are using Windows 7, AutoPlay window will pop up. Select "Import pictures and videos using Windows" and then click "Import" to import the Camera Roll photos to PC.

  • If you are using Windows 10, Launch Photos app, and hit the import button. You can then select items to import to PC.

STEP 3. Plug your external hard drive to the computer and move iPhone photos from PC to the drive.

Transfer Photos via Window Photos

Image Capture on Mac

STEP 1. Connect both your iPhone and external hard drive to your Mac.

STEP 2. Use Spotlight search to search for "Image Capture" and launch the program.

STEP 3. Click your the name of your iPhone and all the photos taken by your iPhone will be displayed.

STEP 4. On the "Import To" bar, select your external hard drive as the output destination.

STEP 5. To import only some of the photos, select the photos, then click "Import". To import all the photos, click "Import All".

Transfer Photos via Image Capture

The above three ways are all about how to import photos to hard drive from iPhone. Can't decide which methods you should choose? The below tablet can give us the answers. FonePaw iOS Transfer is no doubt the most convenient and powerful method while the other two all have their limitations. Also, to advoid photo loss, you really should back up photos from iPhone to a reliable place.

iOS Transfer


Photo Gallery/Image Capture

Supported Photos

All Photos

All Photos

Camera Roll Photos

Internet Connection




Transferring Speed




So what is the best way to save photos from iPhone to external hard drive for you? Just share what you think on the below comment box!


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