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How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive in 5 Ways

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"Hello all, I have photos on my iPhone that I want to transfer to an external drive. I know I'll have to go through my MacBook for this, but is there an easier way to accomplish this other than importing, exporting, and deleting the pictures from the Photos app? Thank you."

- Zoebe

Like What Zoebe had experienced, your iPhone may have less storage left when you store thousands of large images on it. If you want to move them but never know how to transfer photos from iPhone to an external hard drive, you will have two choices - either do it with a computer or without. Well, this post covers both. Let's get started to learn how to do it with simple solutions.

how to transfer photos from iphone to external hard drive

 

Method 1. How to Transfer iPhone Photos to External Hard Drive Using Coolmuster iOS Assistant

Wish to transfer all or just several photos from your iPhone to an external hard drive in one click? If the answer is yes, you can choose Coolmuster iOS Assistant.

Unlike manual transfer, Coolmuster iOS Assistant automatically scans the iPhone images and shows the thumbnail pictures on the interface. You can preview the pictures, select the ones you want, and export them onto the external hard drive directly. If you wish to back up all photos from your iPhone to the external hard drive, you can do it with one click.

Also, it supports various iPhone photo formats, like JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, PEG, etc. Here you can check the key features of Coolmuster iOS Assistant.

Key features:

  • Selectively preview and copy photos from iPhone to external hard drive.
  • One-click to back up all photos and photo albums from your iPhone to the external hard drive.
  • Support multiple photo formats, such as JPG, PNG, PEG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, etc.
  • Allow you to export contacts, messages, music, and other files from your iPhone/iPad/iPod to your computer/default iTunes backup location/external hard drive, and import books, iTunes backups, etc., from your computer to an iDevice.
  • Back up and restore iPhone data on a computer.
  • Highly secure, easy, and user-friendly app.
  • Work well with all iPhone models running iOS 5 to iOS 17 or higher, including iPhone 15 Pro Max/15 Pro/15/14/13/12 Pro Max/12 Pro, etc.

Let's check how to back up iPhone photos to an external hard drive in one click.

01Download and install Coolmuster iOS Assistant on your computer. Next, launch it, and you will see the interface below.

install coolmuster ios assistant on your computer

02Connect your iPhone to the computer using a suitable USB cable, tap "Trust" on your iPhone, and click "Continue" on the software to move on. After that, insert the external hard drive into the computer's USB slot.

connect your iphone and the external hard drive to the computer

03Once successfully connected, click "Photos" from the left panel, preview & tick the desired photos, and hit the "Export" button on the top menu. Finally, choose the external hard drive from the pop-up window to save them to it.

how to transfer photos from iphone to external hard drive in one click

Further reading:

How to Transfer Music from iPhone to Computer Effectively? (4 Tips)

How to Transfer Photos from Android to iPad in 4 Simple Ways? (Updated)

Method 2. How to Move Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive Using Photos App on Windows

On Windows, there is a Photos app for you to transfer or manage the iPhone photos. If you don't want to install any apps, you can pick this way. To transfer photo from iPhone to external hard drive using the Photos app on Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your Windows computer using a USB cable or any other suitable connection.
  2. Open the Photos app on your Windows computer and connect your iPhone to your computer using a USB cable.
  3. In the Photos app, click on the "Import" button. This will detect and import photos from your iPhone to your computer.
  4. Once the import window appears, click on the "More options" link and select your external hard drive as the destination for the imported photos.
  5. Choose the photos you want to transfer from your iPhone to the external hard drive, and click on the "Import" button to start the transfer process.

how to transfer photos from iphone to external hard drive with windows photos app

Method 3. How to Back Up iPhone Photos to External Hard Drive Using File Explorer on Windows

You can also transfer photos from iPhone to external hard drive using File Explorer on Windows. To achieve that, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Windows computer with a USB cable. Then unlock your iPhone and, if prompted, tap "Trust" on your device to establish a connection with your computer.
  2. Open the File Explorer on your Windows computer by pressing "Windows" + "E" keys.
  3. In File Explorer, find your iPhone under the "This PC" (It should be listed as a portable device). Double-click on your iPhone to open its internal storage.
  4. Navigate to the "DCIM" folder ( This is where your photos are stored). And select the photos you want to transfer.
  5. Copy the selected photos and paste them to the location where you want to store them on your external hard drive.
  6. Wait for the transfer to complete.

how to save iphone photos to external hard drive via file explorer

Method 4. How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Hard Drive Using Image Capture on Mac

To transfer photos from your iPhone to an external hard drive using Image Capture on a Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac and unlock your iPhone. If prompted, tap "Trust" on your device to establish a connection with your Mac.
  2. Open the "Image Capture" application on your Mac (You can find it in the "Applications" folder or use Spotlight (Command + Space) to search for it). In Image Capture, your connected iPhone should appear in the "DEVICES" list on the left side of the window. Select your iPhone from the list.
  3. At the bottom of the Image Capture window, you'll see an option labeled "Import To". Click on the drop-down menu next to it and select your external hard drive as the destination.
  4. Choose your preferred import settings, such as where to store the photos, what to name them, and whether to delete the photos from your iPhone after importing. You can adjust these settings based on your preferences.
  5. In the main Image Capture window, you'll see a preview of the photos on your iPhone. Select the photos you want to transfer to the external hard drive by clicking on them.
  6. Click the "Import" button to transfer the selected photos to the destination you specified on your external hard drive. If you selected the option to delete photos after import, they will be removed from your iPhone.
  7. After the import is complete, open the destination folder on your external hard drive and make sure the photos are there. This step ensures that the transfer was successful.

how to get pictures off iphone to external hard drive with image capture

Method 5. How to Copy Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive Using Photos App on Mac

The Photos app on Mac is another way on how to store iPhone photos on external hard drive. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac and unlock your iPhone. If prompted, tap "Trust" on your device to establish a connection with your Mac.
  2. Launch the "Photos" app on your Mac (You can find it in the Applications folder or use Spotlight (Command + Space) to search for it).
  3. In the Photos app, look for your connected iPhone in the sidebar under "DEVICES" and click on your iPhone to view the photos to transfer.
  4. Select the photos you want to copy to the external hard drive and click on the "Import Selected" button. This will copy the selected photos to your Mac's Photos library.
  5. Store the photos in a specific folder and select your external hard drive as the destination.

how to export iphone photos to external hard drive via photos app on mac

Method 6. How to Download Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive Using iCloud

You may have regularly synced photos to the iCloud. If so, you can also migrate iPhone photos to the external hard drive using iCloud Drive. However, this way is not always recommended, for it will take longer to sync or download the large photos.

The following tips show you how to move iPhone photos to an external hard drive via iCloud.

  1. Check if you have enabled iCloud Photo Library on your iPhone. You can navigate to iPhone's "Settings" > "iCloud" > "Photos" to have a look and turn it on.
  2. Visit iCloud.com on your computer and sign in with the same Apple ID you use on your iPhone.
  3. Click "Photos", choose the photos you like, and click "Download" selected items at the upper-right corner. After that, wait for a while until all the photos are finished downloading.
  4. Link the external hard drive to your computer, double-click it, and copy & paste the saved photos from the computer to the external hard drive.

how to transfer pictures from iphone to external hard drive via icloud

Method 7. How to Import Photos from iPhone to External Hard Drive Directly

Sometimes, you don't have a computer at hand. At this moment, you can transfer photos from your iPhone to the external hard drive directly, which free you from using a computer. Let's see how it works.

How to download photos from iPhone to an external hard drive directly?

  1. Connect your iPhone with the external hard drive via a USB.
  2. Go to iPhone's "Files" app, and tap "Browse" to see if you have successfully attached the external hard drive. Afterward, run the "Photos" app, click the images you want to copy, and press the "Share" option.
  3. Tap "Save to Files" > "On My iPhone" and choose the external hard drive. This will easily transfer photos from iPhone to the external hard drive without a computer.

how to transfer photos from iphone to external hard drive directly

The Bottom Line

How to transfer photos from iPhone to an external hard drive? Now you know five simple ways. To flexibly make the transfer, you can choose Coolmuster iOS Assistant. This smart app is easy, safe, and user-friendly to use. In contrast, the Photos app and iCloud limit the device versions. Image Capture does not transfer all photos, and the direct way may not work with all device types.

If you need technical support when syncing, please tell us in the comments anytime. Our support team will assist you in no time.

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How to Transfer Files between Android and Flash Drive via OTG?

How to Transfer Photos from Android Phone to USB Flash Drive [3 Ways]

How to Transfer Music from iPod to iPod [Must Read]

How to Transfer Photos from iPhone to Mac (9 Proven Ways)

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