I have an iPad Mini that contains several photo albums with unique pictures that I wish to preserve. These albums were created by syncing (using iTunes) from a computer that we've since recycled. (So we've lost the original pictures. The only copy is in the iPad albums created by the original sync process.)

Is there a good way to copy these pictures back from these iPad-resident albums to another PC (or Mac)?

  • I've connected it to another PC, but iTunes does not appear to offer a way to sync the albums back from the iPad to the PC.
  • The iPad itself is restricting me from moving the pictures into the Camera Roll, and Google Photos doesn't seem to pick up pictures from anywhere else.
  • There does appear to be a way to e-mail pictures individually... but there are over 1,000 images, so that process is too manual to be practical.

Any advice would be appreciated.

  • 1
    Don't connect via iTunes until you have recovered your pix. The iTunes method is one-way, and has a chance of clobbering your pictures and data; it is inherently one-way since it is a throwback to the old iPods that did not have a network connection of their own. I once had a huge collection of PDFs that I got via downloads, did a sync, thought I had lost them all, and they surfaced later in an obscure folder deep in ~/library/ di – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 31 '18 at 21:05

You can AirDrop the files to another Mac, with Bluetooth to discover the connection and Wi-Fi (direct) to perform the transfer.

  1. Select all the photos to be saved in the Photos app.
    You can drag select to select more than one photo.
  2. Tap Share.
  3. Choose an AirDrop destination.


You can save the photos to a Files provider, such as iCloud Drive or Dropbox (if the app is installed).

  1. Select all the photos to be saved in the Photos app.
    You can drag select to select more than one photo.
  2. Tap Share.
  3. Choose Save to Files.

    If the Save to Files activity does not appear in the list, choose More and enable the activity.

  4. Select an iCloud Drive folder or Dropbox folder and tap Add.

The photos will upload to the selected location, from which you can obtain them from icloud.com or dropbox.com respectively on a PC or Mac.


For people with Macs - you can try Image Capture first to get all the pictures you can see. If that doesn't see the images, I have long recommended and used PhoneView. Go grab a copy and try it for free to be sure it sees the photos you wish to transfer.

I do enable full disk mode and do not jailbreak either, so with the two software above I've not had any device I couldn't locate all the photos that are visible in the photos app.

There are several open source libraries to read the iOS storage as well and windows tools with functionality like PhoneView, but I'll leave that possible answer for another that has experience with them.

  • I've used PhoneView in the past and just tried connecting my device to it, but I'm not finding synced photos in albums showing up, only Camera Roll? Where should I be looking to find synced albums' photos? – grg Dec 31 '18 at 16:21
  • @grg I added Image Capture and the setting to show full disk. The last time I needed to rescue images (3 months back) I was able to get them all from ImageCapture so you might be right a change was made. Do you have iCloud enabled? That might need to be turned off to expose the images to USB. – bmike Dec 31 '18 at 16:28

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