I'd like to know how to add photos to an iOS device without iTunes nor any "iPhone explorer" programs.

I have the image files, and I have the iPhone "mounted" on a Linux machine, which means I have access to some directories like DCIM and PhotoData.

Now, how do I actually put the pictures in ? I tried dropping them in DCIM but of course it doesn't work and despite the files being there they don't show up in the camera roll. Is there any particular thing to do after copying the files, or a particular file name syntax to follow?

1 Answer 1


Apple expects you to use iCloud Photo Library. With that service you can login to the iCloud website on the Linux machine, click on Photos and then click on the "Upload" link to select images to upload. Your phone doesn't have to be connected to the Linux machine, just to the Internet via WiFi, and it will sync the new photos. I've done this myself and it does seem to work (not from a Linux machine, but with the Chrome browser).

The alternative would be to buy the camera connection kit or lightning to sd card adaptor and setup an sd card exactly the way it would look if it came from a camera, copying the images from the Linux machine. Note, I haven't tried this but it should work as long as the directories on the sd card match how they would be constructed if they were created by a camera.

  • The problem is that iCloud doesn't scale nor allows to add pictures programmatically. I need to provision dozens of devices at once (replacing old Android handsets with iOS devices). I have software (MCE toolbox) that successfully does it (so it is possible) but is aimed at retail and still requires too much manual interventions to be practical for the amount of devices I have. Feb 24, 2016 at 16:23
  • This isn't really an answer (you don't ask for this and I'm not sure how the images need to be presented), but you can configure webclips. Would it be possible to build a password protected webpage with the images and push the webclip for that page out to the clients? That way you can programmatically and centrally control the images all at once for all the clients. But yes, it would be nice if there was a way to load images, files, etc. to multiple phones in the enterprise (without having to share an iCloud account -- which is another option, although again does involve manual work) Feb 24, 2016 at 18:52
  • unfortunately no; the devices are then given to end users and they expect the pictures to be there just like on their former Android device. Keeping them online is not an option. Again, this is possible as I have a tool that does it; now I just need to know how to do it manually. Feb 24, 2016 at 20:10

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