What's the easiest way to get photos and videos on to the iPad without Syncing? The way sync works is ridiculous; its either all the pictures in a folder or nothing. Basically I want the ability to drag and drop random photos with just a computer and cable available. No cloud storage options please.

  • If you don't want to sync, then you have to stream! So the "streaming" it's already answered here
    – nuc
    Commented Apr 6, 2011 at 13:10
  • Stream pictures? That was so not helpful.
    – bobbyalex
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 8:41
  • Are you using Windows or Mac OS?
    – Vince P
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 9:06
  • I use mac os. Lion.
    – bobbyalex
    Commented May 31, 2012 at 8:44

7 Answers 7


You can use something like iPhone Explorer to drag and drop them into the /User/Media/DCIM/100Apple (last one may be different) directory. I know it works with pictures, but I haven't had a chance to test with video. But I don't see why it wouldn't work once the database is updated.

If you're jailbroken and transfer a video, that the phone can play, with iPhone Explorer (works on Mac and Windows for iPad and iPod too) or through SSH (with the OpenSSH package from Cydia), iFile can add it to the camera roll (same with pictures, and it doesn't matter where they are if you use the SSH and iFile method). Not exactly drag and drop but you don't have to go through iTunes. iPhone Explorer does not require the iDevice to be jailbroken.

Also if you got the VLC Player app before Apple pulled it you can drag and drop almost any video type into the app via the "File Sharing" box in iTunes in the App tab. (If the phone is jailbroken you can still get the VLC player from Cydia)

  • I have this app for my iPhone. Didnt think of it when it came to the iPad. Thanks.
    – bobbyalex
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 9:55

In iTunes, go to the iPad’s (or iPod’s) summary screen. Check the “Manually manage videos” box, and click the “Apply” button. You can then drag videos from your desktop to the iPad without having to sync.

  • This must be the selected answer. Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 19:08
  • 1
    Demitri's answer from 2.5 years ago sounded like it would work but had no effect for me. I'm using Windows 10. What finally worked for me was to use the sync (which the question-asker didn't want to use): iTunes > Photos > Sync Photos > Copy Photos From > Choose Folder
    – Ryan
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 17:44

DropBox on your main machine would allow you to add both files to your iPad without sync. The iPad should automatically play files it recognizes in the proper application when it sees them there. Dropbox provides 2GB of storage for free so going above that will require payment.

Edit You can 'star' files if you want them downloaded to the device so you'll have them even if offline.

  • This is assuming that I have access to the internet 24/7. What if I dont? I just want to drag and drop files to the device.
    – bobbyalex
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 6:57
  • 2
    You can download files from dropbox on to your iPad.
    – Vince P
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 9:05
  • Or you can use google drive? Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 12:32

Airdrop via Finder on Yosemite works well for me. Surprisingly fast.


Air Sharing allows you to copy files between an iOS device and a computer. No internet is required, but it uses wi-fi rather than a cable, so both devices need to be on the same wi-fi network. It uses webdav so you can connect to the iPad using Finder and drag and drop files as you normally would.


If you are just looking to send short videos, I sent them from my computer to my ipad using iMessage. once you receive the message on your iPad, you have the option to share it by clicking the button on the top right. One of the share options is to save it to your Camera Roll. Once it's in your camera roll, you can add it to whatever app you'd like.


You can use DC Copy to do this.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer,please explain the answer in your words along with the added reference link. Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 5:51

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