There's a setting in iTunes to sync a folder on my computer with my camera, but it seems to be a one-way sync - when I take pictures on my phone, they don't go onto my computer.

Sometimes, when I connect my phone to my computer, it shows up in Windows Explorer. (But not always - I can't find a pattern. Probably some Apple component that crashes occasionally? This isn't really part of the question.) When it does, I can open it up, manually find the new photos I took, and copy them to my computer. But if I put them with my other photos on my computer (which all get synced to my phone) then I guess they'll be on there twice.

There's Photostream, but that streams every picture I take. I usually take several pictures of the same thing and immediately delete all but the best, but the bad/blurry ones that I delete get streamed too.

Is there any way to automatically have photos I take (and keep) on my phone be available to me on my computer?

  • If you use cloud storage, many services offer a camera roll feature that will automatically do this. You could then configure that service to download the photos to your PC. This might not work for everyone but it avoids your issue – InterLinked Apr 26 '16 at 20:03

If iTunes isn't running, and isn't set to start automatically when you plug in your phone, then you will see it in Explorer and will be able to import photos.

The import wizard, part of the AutoPlay settings in Control Panel, should be configured to run automatically when the phone is plugged in.

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  • I just tested the iTunes/Explorer thing. Today, I was unable to access the phone in Explorer, whether iTunes was running or not. (Connecting the phone did not give the new-hardware "ba-dum" sound, either.) After a reboot, I am now able to access the phone in Explorer whether or not iTunes is running. In both cases, whether iTunes is running is irrelevant. – Josh May 15 '12 at 3:41
  • You're right about the import wizard. I'm in the habit of just clicking through or ignoring that, but the "Import photos" option does just what it should. It provides an option to delete the photos from the device after importing, but even if you leave this off it's good at not importing photos it has imported before, even after you move or delete them. So now I'm using one app (iTunes) to sync photos to the phone, and another (Explorer) to sync photos from the phone. Clunky, but it works. Quite well. I'll take it. – Josh May 15 '12 at 3:43
  • Hi Josh, I'm glad you found a workable, if clunky solution. Feel free to edit my answer if you like. – user3463 May 15 '12 at 3:47

The way I handle this currently is to manually copy pictures from my phone to my computer using Explorer (when that works), then delete them from the phone, then put them in a folder where they'll get re-synced back to the phone. That works ok, and isn't too much work, but it's still a manual process to do something that really seems like it should be automatic.

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    Works even better when you copy to Dropbox - then they'll always be accessible, everywhere. – ckhan May 7 '12 at 20:14
  • @ckhan, that's a good idea, though in my case I have too many photos to sync all of them to dropbox. (Some photos on my computer were taken with a nice camera, which takes much larger photos than the iPhone.) – Josh May 15 '12 at 2:43
  • "That works ok, and isn't too much work, but it's still a manual process to do something that really seems like it should be automatic." While this will sound like an Android fanboy - On Android writing syncing applications is not overly difficult. Personally I use SyncMe and whenever I connect to my home wifi it automatically syncs my SD card. I thought Apple had wireless syncing? I distinctly remember an application that they pull that did exactly this because it "duplicated" their application? – Natalie Adams Dec 3 '12 at 15:56
  • @Nathan, Apple has wireless iTunes syncing, but iTunes doesn't sync photos from the device. Since there's no way to write general iPhone apps that run in the background, any 3rd-party wireless photo syncing app would have to be invoked manually from the phone. (My next phone will likely be android - I'm fed up with Apple's limitations.) – Josh Dec 4 '12 at 17:14

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