I've attempted to do task of just downloading all of an iPhone's pictures to a PC over WiFi.

Is there a way to do this for free over WiFi without going through iTunes or at least with very lightweight software?

iTunes runs extremely slowly on my computer (borderline un-usable) and prior attempts at using it to transfer the files through USB had failed.

As a temporary stopgap measure, I've been sharing the photos via multiple emails, up 20MB at a time (Gmail's limit).

1 Answer 1


There are several ways to transfer files between an iOS device and a PC for free.

  • Cloud storage like iCloud, OneDrive, DropBox, etc.; with these services, there is a “free tier” where you have a specified amount of storage space, usually 5GB.

    • If it must be completely free, you can sync files 5GB a time. Files are copied to the shared folder, sync’ed, between the cloud, the device and your PC, then moved from the PC’s sync’ed folder to another one that’s s not synced.

    • If you are willing to spend $1 with Apple, you can do this at 50GB a time For $2 with OneDrive you can do this at 100GB at a time. Simply cancel the upgraded storage at then end of the month.

  • SMB file sharing. You didn’t mention which OS you’re using on your PC, so assuming Windows, you can use file sharing to create a shared folder on the PC then with the native Files App, connect to that share and copy the files over.

  • Free file sync apps like GoodSync Explorer. There are many different ones, I selected this particular one for the high ratings and the fact it can turn your iOS device into a “server” and you can access your files via a web browser. I’m not affiliated not have I used it personally (no need)

With a little creativity and patience, you can transfer your files via WiFi. As for “free apps” like GoodSync, I’m not a fan because nothing is free; or more colloquially, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. What are you giving up to in exchange for that developer creating a program? Usually it’s your private data. Personally, I would spend a few dollars to do this securely and conveniently.

Now all that said, how “overloaded” is this PC that iTunes won’t load but your willing to store your data on it? I suggest attending to that PC first, then using iTunes, sync your filed via USB because it’s significantly faster and more reliable. I say this, because it sounds like you’re not backing up your iPhone at all and you should be backing it up in some way.

  • Thanks, I'll try out the options. As clarification, paid solutions are not an option, as I'm only doing this as a favor for someone else's iPhone (who's not able nor willing to pay) and I do not own an iPhone myself. The iTunes issue was on an 8-year-old Win. 10 PC that isn't typically slow for most applications, but somehow extremely slow specifically for iTunes despite not using much of the PC's memory % nor processing %. It most likely is related to the program somehow writing excessively to my HDD for unknown reasons.
    – plu
    Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 5:58
  • Did not understand the FilesApp, but confirmed that GoodSync actually works, albeit in an awkward manner, where one also needs to install GoodSync software on the PC to use it.
    – plu
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 3:17
  • It’s not clear what you mean by “not understanding the Files app.” Files is an Apple developed app that allows you to manage files on your iOS device and supports network connections. For example, you can copy/move files from your iPhone to a shared folder on your computer.
    – Allan
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 12:32
  • I meant that it was not clear nor intuitive to me on the page description (support.apple.com/en-us/HT206481) how to do this file sharing (i.e.: seems like it needs an icloud account / program), and given the alternative was working within 5 mins. and the limited time available to operate someone else's iphone, I gave up rather than investigate.
    – plu
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 2:14
  • Hmmm... From the link to the app in the answer: "The Files app includes files on the device you're using, as well as those in other cloud services and apps, and iCloud Drive." I thought that was pretty clear.
    – Allan
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 2:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .