How to get photos and videos on and off the iPad

The iPad 's camera takes great photos and videos but it is not the only way to get images and videos onto your iPad. How do you get your existing photos onto the iPad - the ones from your digital camera, your computer or downloaded from the internet. What's more, how do you get photos and videos off your iPad? This page covers a range of processes, apps, cloud solutions and tips about getting photos and videos on and off the iPad.


The Photos App iOS 8

You already have a very effective way of viewing and managing your photos once you have them on your iPad. Here are three videos that explore the features of the Photos app iOS 8, including a look at the significant changes to how you can edit your photos.   Explore the features of the Photos App

Editing photos in the Photos App

The Photos app in iOS 8 also makes post processing easier and more powerful, with the addition of editing features and extensions. The Crop tool can now straighten crooked images.  Photo editing tools include auto enhancement and filters but also the addition of smart adjustments: Light (you can alter exposure, highlights, shadows, brightness, contrast and black point), Colour (colour, saturation and cast) and B/W (this provides a variety of black and white adjustments such as intensity, neutrals, tone and grain. 

Taking Photos

Where are the photos and videos stored on your iPad? 

When you take a picture or a video  with the iPad's camera app, those images are stored in the Camera Roll in the Photos app. You can create albums to sort the photos, or select a photo to print directly from the iPad - as long as you have the appropriate printer. (See Printing from the iPad - Let me count the ways).

 The iPad comes with two cameras that allow you to capture video and photos. And because one camera is front-facing and the other is rear-facing, you can switch between them to capture images of yourself holding the iPad or images of what you're looking at. The front-facing camera captures VGA video and 3-megapixel photos; the rear-facing camera captures high-definition video and 5-megapixel photos. See The iPad's camera and photos.

Download: How to take photos and video using the iPad's Camera app iOS 8

Organise your photos

If you have hundreds of images on your iPad and often find yourself wanting to show them off to friends, but have to scroll upward for five minutes before you find the section you are looking for,  organise your photo collection into Albums.

The first thing you should do if you have hundreds of images on your iPad is back them up: onto your computer, or iCloud, a cloud service like Dropbox or Google+, or a photo sharing site like Flickr. If you’ve already set up Photo Stream on your iPad, you’ll be able to access images from every other device that also has Photo Stream capabilities, including your Mac and PC computers. If you don’t know how to set up Photo Stream, check out the how-to guide  here.

The best way to organise your images is to put them into individual albums. That way, when you want to find a particular image, you won’t have to go searching through a virtual shoebox full of photos.


To create an album, open your Photos app and tap the “Albums” tab at the top of the screen. Then, tap the plus (+) symbol in the upper-left corner. You will be asked to name the album. Once you’ve named it, a window will pop up for you to add photos from. 

Create new album on the iPad Photos app

Create new album on the iPad Photos app

You can select photos from your camera roll, your Photo Stream, or other albums you’ve already created. Tap to select a photo, tap done when you're ready to proceed.

Adding photos to an Album in the iPad app, Photos

Adding photos to an Album in the iPad app, Photos


Saving photos from the Web to the Camera roll

Save image from a web site to the Camera Roll

Save image from a web site to the Camera Roll

The Web offers a wealth of images that you can download to your Photo Library on the iPad. The built-in Safari browser makes it simple to save any image you come across to your iPad. (Of course, you should be careful not to violate copyrights when grabbing pictures online). Hold your finger over an image until the menu comes up. Tap Save Image and the image will be saved to the Camera Roll. 


Importing photos from a digital camera or iPhone

Camera connection kit

Camera connection kit

You can import photos from a digital camera and photos or videos from your iPhone if you buy the iPad Camera Connection Kit from Apple. The iPad Camera Connection Kit contains two adapters: a USB Camera Connector you use to import photos from a digital camera or iPhone, and an SD Card Reader to import images from an SD card.

Follow these steps to import photos, after you have the connector kit in hand:

  1. Lock your iPad's screen by using the screen locker on the top-right side of the iPad.
  2. Insert the USB Camera Connector into the Dock connector slot of your iPad.
  3. Connect the USB end of the cable that came with your digital camera or iPhone into the USB Camera Connector.
  4. Connect the other end of the cable that came with your camera or iPhone into that device.
  5. Unlock your iPad.
  6. Tap Import All on your iPad.
  7. If you only want to import selected photos, tap individual photos, and then tap Import.
  8. Disconnect the cable and the adapter and you're done!

You can also import photos stored on SD (secure digital) memory cards, which are often used by digital cameras as a storage medium. Simply lock the iPad, insert the SD Card Reader into the iPad, insert the SD card containing the photos, and then follow Steps 5–7 above.


Import directly from the computer - PC or MAC

See this Apple Support page: Importing personal photos and videos from iOS devices to your computerThe Mac treats the iPhone like a digital camera, and Windows can treat the iPhone as either a digital camera or a file system, depending on how the photos are accessed.  The benefit of using either Preview or Image Capture is that these apps are on virtually every version of OS X since from the very beginning of the OS, so you won’t find a Mac version without them.

Transfer Photos from iPad / iPhone to Mac

In almost all cases, the fastest and simplest way to copy pictures from an iPhone to a Mac is with Image Capture and Preview. 

Using Image Capture to Import Photos in OS X

Image Capture - an Application on the MAC to import your photos

Image Capture - an Application on the MAC to import your photos

This is a fast and efficient way to pull photos off the iPhone, which treats the device as a digital camera:

  • Open Image Capture from the /Applications/ folder
  • Connect the iPad to the Mac through USB
  • Select a folder from the menu (default is Pictures folder) and then click “Import All”
  • OR: Select individual photos, and click “Import” to only copy those pictures over

You can also transfer pictures to your Mac with iPhoto or Preview, which is just as simple and actually has a virtually identical interface for initiating the transfer. Here is how to import with Preview:


Copying Photos with Preview

Though Preview is usually thought of as an image viewer, it can also serve as a fast importer:

Preview can be used to import pictures from your iPad on the MAC

Preview can be used to import pictures from your iPad on the MAC

  • Connect your iPad into your Mac with the USB cable
  • Launch Preview
  • From the File menu navigate down and select “Import from iPad…”
  • Select “Import All” to get all the pictures, otherwise individually select pictures and click ‘Import’
  • Look in your ~/Pictures/ folder for the photos from your iPad.
  • Optionally: Click the checkbox with “Delete after import” if you want to delete the photos after they have been copied over to the computer.



Transfer photos from iPad to Windows PC

Using iPad as Digital Camera in Windows Explorer

If your iPad is already connected with the PC, you can also try this method:

  • Open “My Computer”
  • Find the iPhone, it will appear as any other camera would
  • Open iPhone to find your Photos
  • Select the pictures you want to copy to your computer and copy/paste them into the desired location on your PC


Look for your iPad as a portable device in windows Explorer

Look for your iPad as a portable device in windows Explorer

The Windows approach treats the iPad / iPhone more like a file system, just like it does with standard digital cameras that are connected to a PC. That generally makes Windows even easier for moving pictures back and forth if you like to cut & paste things directly from one folder to another in My Pictures or My Documents. Nonetheless, you can also use your favourite photo importing application to pull the pictures from the device as well.

Remember, if the iPad pictures are not showing up in Windows, make sure the iPad is unlocked first. Otherwise the iPad will be found in ‘My Computer’ but all of the content on it will be invisible and inaccessible. If you run into that, all you need to do is touch the iPad, unlock the screen, and all of your stuff will be visible as expected.


Use  Photo Apps

Photo Transfer

Currently, if you want to transfer a picture or video from your iPhone to your iPad, Apple requires you to sync the video on your iPhone to your computer, then sync your iPad to your computer (moving the video from the computer to the iPad). However, the ability to exchange pictures between your iDevices and your computer wirelessly exists.

The first thing you will need to do is to buy and install the Photo Transfer App (iTunes Link). The app will set you back $2.99.

The good news is that the developer made the app as an universal binary, so it will install on both your iPad and iPhone, meaning you won't have to buy more than one copy.

You will not need to install anything on the computer you will be using to send and receive pictures from. The service only requires you to have a working Wi-Fi connection and a working Internet browser. (Make sure the devices you will be using to transfer pictures and videos are both on the same Wi-Fi network before you start.)    See the post:

This app has now been updated to include downloads / uploads of photos and videos to the Cloud services: DropboxGoogle Drive and Flickr.  For example, you have a Google Drive account and  a Google Drive app on your iPad to access it. You can take photos / videos on your iPad and upload them to Google Drive as a backup using Photo Transfer. On the other hand, you may have photos in your Google Drive app that you want to send to your iPad. 


Photosync app - iPad

Photosync app - iPad

When you’re editing and working with photos on your iPad, it’s very handy to have a way to easily import and export them between computers and electronic devices. Photosync is a universal iOS application that allows you to wirelessly transfer photos and videos from iOS device to iOS device, or computer to iOS and vice versa using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If you’re looking for an easy solution to wirelessly transfer photos and videos between computers and your iOS devices, you should checkout PhotoSync. 

It offers a quick way to transfer media wirelessly, and has no upload limit when transferring files. The application is available now for $1.99. This new application will eliminate the need for you to plug-in your iOS device every time you need to sync media. In addition, it has no limitations on the number of files you can upload to the web for later access. 

The nice thing about this application is that your media files (photos, video) can be transferred between your iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch), or from iOS to your computer, or from your computer to iOS. You need to make sure your devices have Bluetooth enabled or are connected to the same WiFi network. The PhotoSync app will provide you with a list of devices available on your network. 

Photosync - Syncing your photos from the iPad

Photosync - Syncing your photos from the iPad

To quickly and easily sync with your computer, you can download the companion app which is available for both Mac and Windows. However, you don’t need this software to sync, it just makes it easier. To sync without the software, you can enter a specified web address to download your pictures. This is very handy when you want to share your photos with other people – all it takes is a web address. From this web address, you can select the pictures you want to download, and they are added to a file which then downloads to your computer.




Synchronise your photos and videos with iTunes

Using iTunes, you can select individual photos or Albums When you connect your iPad to your computer (MAC or PC), iTunes should open automatically. If not, open iTunes. 

  1. You will first need to connect your iPad to your PC or Mac and launch iTunes. (See directions here.)
  2. Once iTunes is running, choose your iPad from the Devices list in the left-side menu.
  3. With your iPad selected, there is a list of options across the top of the screen. To start transferring photos, choose Photos from the list.
  4. The first step is to check the Sync Photos from... option at the top of the screen.
  5. The default folder for syncing photos is My Pictures on a Windows-based PC and Pictures on a Mac. You can change this by clicking on the drop down menu.
  6. Once your main folder has been chosen, you can sync all folders under that main folder or select photos.
  7. When you are choosing select folders, iTunes will list out how many photos the folder contains to the right of the folder name. This is a great way to verify that you have selected the folder with photos.

See also:


Sync photos to your iPad from iTunes

Sync photos to your iPad from iTunes


Save your photos to the Cloud

There are a number of excellent online file sync services that you can use to keep photos available to you anywhere that you have web access. 

Dropboxis one of the very best of these, but you could also look at Box, Cubby, SugarSync, Google Drive, and Flickr.  All of these have free apps for the iPad and all offer some amount of free storage space, and then reasonably priced plans for increasing your storage space. Dropbox offers 2GB of free space and 100GB for around $99 per year.



The Dropbox app has a very cool auto-upload process that will automatically upload photos from the iPad Camera Roll to Dropbox.

  1. First sign up for a free Dropbox account from your computer.
  2. Then, download the free Dropbox app on your iPad.
  3. Log in to the Dropbox app on the iPad with your new account and click on the Photos icon in the lower left corner of the screen (second one from the left).
  4. Select "Enable Camera Upload" and "Only Wi-Fi." The upload process will begin for all existing photos in the Camera Roll.

From now on, all future photos taken by the iPad will automatically upload to the Dropbox folder. You can then download your photos from Dropbox to your computer by going to, logging in to your account, and downloading the photos. You can then put the photos on a USB drive or burn to a CD or upload them to a photo processing website like Flickr.

Manually uploading photos and videos to Dropbox

if you don't want to use the instant upload feature Dropbox offers, you can also choose to just upload multiple photos and videos of your choosing only when you want.


 Manually upload a photo or video to Dropbox from your iPad

 Manually upload a photo or video to Dropbox from your iPad

  1. Launch the Dropbox app from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Navigate to the folder or directory you'd like to upload photos to.
  3. Now tap on the menu icon in the upper navigation, it looks like three dots.
  4. Tap on the Upload button.
  5. Now you can navigation to your Camera Roll, Photo Stream, or any other album on your iPhone or iPad. Tap on the photos you'd like to add and you'll see a blue checkmark appear next to them.
  6. Once you're done selecting photos and videos, tap on Upload in the upper right hand corner.


Uploading photos and videos to Google Drive

google drive icon.JPG
Get yourself a Google Drive account, then download Google Drive to your desktop and also download the Google Drive app for the iPad / iPhone. Photos and videos can be uploaded from your computer's hard drive to your Google Drive and then accessed via the app on the iPad.  A word of warning: make sure you copy - rather than move - your photos into the Google Drive folder. This will create duplicate copies on your hard disk, but it's worth using the extra space. If you don't do this, you'll effectively have only one copy of each photo. If you (or someone) accidentally deletes this on the Google Drive website, the deletion will be mirrored in your local Google Drive folder and the photo will be gone.


Google Drive  is available from your computer's hard drive. Copy / move files into it  which will be uploaded to your account . 

Google Drive  is available from your computer's hard drive. Copy / move files into it  which will be uploaded to your account . 

The Google Drive app on the iPad. To upload photos from your camera roll, select the +  button, and then tap: Upload Photos or videos.

Google Drive - the iPad app

Google Drive - the iPad app

Other Cloud Services for storing photos and videos

Microsoft Windows Skydrive.  

Once you have a free SkyDrive account, you can also install the free  SkyDrive desktop app, download the iPad app and automatically sync your files across your computers.  

Windows Skydrive.

Windows Skydrive.

You've got access to everything on your SkyDrive wherever you are: Your photos, documents, and other important files are available on your phone, tablet, PC, or Mac. In short, your files and info aren't stuck on any single PC or device. See also:  Sharing files with the cloud and Cloud Services


Box offers 10 gb of space in the cloud. Box lets you store all of your content online, so you can access, manage and share it from anywhere. Box also has Google Apps integration. Combine Box's content management and administrative capabilities with Google Docs' real-time collaboration tools.

  • Create Google Docs and Spreadsheets in Box
  • Share with Box so others can view and edit
  • Edit with Google's real-time technology in Box




is a popular photo-sharing and hosting service with advanced and powerful features. It supports an active and engaged community where people share and explore each other's photos. You can share and host hundreds of your own pictures on Flickr without paying a cent. A newbie's guide to Flickr. Download the iPad Flickr app.

You can upload your photos and share them privately and publicly with friends, family or the public. As a free user, you have 1 terabyte of space and your photos can be viewed in full resolution. The maximum photo size you can upload is 200MB. What's more, all users can create collections, post to up to 60 groups and limit the maximum image size available to others. Free users can also upload full HD videos up to 1GB each, with playback of three minutes.

Use Flickr to Backup your photos

Sign up for Flickr - It's free

Sign up for Flickr - It's free

Armed with 1 TB of space, Flickr is now a good way to house your entire collection of digital photographs. Contrast this to Dropbox which offers 2 GB of storage space or Google Drive where you get 5 GB for your files and photos. Flickr offers 200x more space with one minor restriction – the size of individual photos should be less than 200 MB.You may set the default privacy of your online photo albums (Flickr calls them sets) as private and and search visibility as “hidden” and thus no one else will be able to search or view your pictures stored on to Flickr. 

Uploading your Pictures to Flickr

Flickr offers a browser-based uploader but it isn’t quite suitable for uploading hundreds and thousands of photos in a batch. There are however a couple of desktop software titles available that will make it relatively easy for you to transfer your picture collection from the computer to the Flickr cloud. The official Flickr desktop uploader is available for  Windows and Mac.

You can simply drag desktop folders on to the Flickr uploader and it will automatically extract all the image files from the folders and sub-folders. Also, you can go to Tools -> Preferences to change the default privacy before adding new photos to the upload queue.

Flickr tools - Tools to upload your photos

Flickr tools - Tools to upload your photos



Photo Stream is Apple's cloud-based photo sharing service that allows easy sharing of photos between devices. The photos can be viewed on the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Apple TV as well as Macs and Windows-based PCs. 


Photostream - Sync images  across all connected devices

Photostream - Sync images  across all connected devices

You can turn on Photo Stream for any of these supported devices, and your latest photos will automatically be shared between any devices on your Apple account that have Photo Stream turned on. This means you don't have to actively download photos on your iPad that you took with your iPhone, if both devices have Photo Stream turned on, the photos will be shared automatically. How to setup Photostream.


What is Shared Photo Stream?

Apple's Shared Photo Stream was introduced in iOS 6.0. While the default Photo Stream works for any device on the same Apple ID, Shared Photo Streams allow you to share a Photo Stream with friends and family. You can even have multiple Shared Photo Streams, so you can have one for family and close friends, another for more distant relatives, etc.

Photos taken with the device are not automatically shared. So there is no worry that the photo you take will automatically go out to everyone. In order to share a photo with your Shared Photo Stream, you have to select the photo in the Photos app and specifically share it.



Deleting photos from the iPad.

You can delete photos from your camera roll directly from the iPad as long as you originally took the picture with the iPad's camera, downloaded it from the web, or took a screen shot. Any photo that has been synchronised to your iPad by iTunes can only be deleted in iTunes.

Download: How to delete photos from the iPad

Using iTunes

To start with, you have to plug your iPad into your computer via the charge and sync cable. Once connected iTunes will recognise the iPad and then you can click on the iPad on the left hand pane of iTunes and access the sync features. You have to go to the photos area and select what folders or images you want sync to copy to your iPad. If you have lots and lots of photos in a folder and you don’t want them all on the iPad, the easiest way is to make a folder specifically for your iPad and copy the images you want on the iPad into the folder.

If you simply choose to synchronise all photos or synchronise the photos folder, anything you have stored in the folders will be moved to the iPad. Once you select the folder you want synchronised to the iPad, you hit apply in the lower right corner of the screen and then you can press the sync button. The length of time it takes to sync the iPad will depend on how many photos are in the folder you are synchronising. Once that is done, you will be able to view the photos on the device.