Save photos to iPhone and iPad

iPhones and, in particular, iPads are excellent photo-sharing and -viewing devices. But if you wish to view photos that you didn't originally take on your iPhone or iPad you need to get the photos on to your iDevice in the first place. In this feature we explore several different ways of putting photos on to iPhones and iPads.

Here we show you how to save a photo from an email to your iPhone or iPad, how to sync a folder on your PC or Mac so that photos appear on your iPhone, how to use iCloud and Photo Stream to automatically save photos to your iPhone or iPad, and how to connect your iPad directly to your camera. We'll also show you how to save images from the web to iPhone and iPad. (And if that doesn't work for you why not read some of our other iPhone and iPad tips, such as Change alert iPhone makes when you get an SMS text message, How to add website bookmarks to home screen on iPhone and iPad and How to transfer your contacts from a BlackBerry to an iPhone.)

Put photos on an iPhone or iPad: email, the easy way

By far the simplest way of moving a few photos on to your iPhone or iPad is to email them to the account you have set up on your tablet or smartphone, open the email on your iDevice, and save the file locally. (Click all the images to enlarge them, and keep scrolling for other ways to add photos to iPhone and iPad.)

1. Attach your photo or photos to an email.

Attach photo to email

2. Open the email browser on your iPhone or iPad, and open the email sent by you to you.

Email with attaChed photo

3. Scroll down to where you can see the image, or the image file. Tap it.

Photo in email

4. You'll be given several options. Choose 'Save to Camera Roll'. The photo is now on your iPhone or iPad. (See all smartphone tips and tricks.)

Save photo from email

Put photos on an iPhone or iPad: sync photos from PC or Mac

Emailing photos is simple and effective, but it requires you to send emails for every few photos you want to put on to your iPhone or iPad. By syncing photos through a folder on your computer you can ensure you always have access to your photos.

1. Connect your iPad or iPhone to your PC or Mac. Launch iTunes.


2. Now click on your iPad or iPhone from the top righthand corner of the iTunes interface (that's where it is currently, it used to be on the lefthand pane).

3. Select the Photos button at the top of the iTunes interface...

Photos in iTunes

4. tick the box next to 'Sync Photos from'.

Sync Photos from

5. By default on a Windows PC this will be set to 'My Pictures'. Sync to that if you want all of your photos to appear on your iPhone or iPad, but be aware that this might involve a lot of photos that may quickly fill up your iPhone or iPad.

6. Alternatively, click the drop down and select 'choose folder'. Then navigate to a specific folder.

7. One idea you might like to try is to set up a specific 'for iPhone' folder, within My Pictures on your PC, and point your iPhone or iPad at that. That way you can save into it only any photos you want to sync with your iPhone or iPad.

Pictures for iPhone

8. When you have chosen your folder, hit Apply. Next time you sync your iPhone or iPad your photos will appear on there.

Put photos on an iPhone or iPad: Use iCloud and Photo Stream

If you're not already using iCloud to automatically copy your photos from your iPhone or iPad to your computer, you're missing a trick. iCloud is the easiest way to transfer photos to and from your iPhone or iPad as it uses Wi-Fi: there's no need to connect a cable or sync your device.

When set up, every time you take a photo on your iPhone or iPad, it will be saved to your Photo Stream and uploaded to iCloud, then downloaded to your computer the next time you turn it on. Using iCloud and Photo Stream is also the easiest way to transfer photos taken on your iPhone to your iPad, and vice versa.

We've written a dedicated tutorial on this method. Click here to read: How to transfer photos from computer to iPhone the easy way: use Photo Stream.

Put photos on an iPad: direct from camera

If you merely want to import photos to an iPad from your digital camera without using a computer, you can buy Apple's £25 Camera Connection Kit if your device has the older 30-pin connector, or the Lightning to SD Camera Reader if it has the new dock connector. If your iPhone is your camera it is a good way of moving photos from iPhone to iPad.

Using the iPad Camera Connection Kit you simply put your iPad to sleep using the switch on the top of the iPad, then insert the USB Camera Connector into the Dock connector slot. Put the USB end of your camera cord into the USB Camera Connector, and the other end into your camera or iPhone. Boot up your iPad and the Photos app should open, showing the photos on the connected camera. Choose 'Import All', or tap individual photos and tap Import.

Put photos on an iPhone or iPad: from the web

The other way in which you may wish to save photos to your iPhone or iPad is direct from the web. (Note that saving an image you don't own for your personal use is usually fine, but further sharing and editing may breach copyright.)

Open up Safari and navigate to the web page containing the image you want, then press and hold the image. Choose 'Save image'. And that's it! (See all smartphone tips and tricks.)