Many modern cell phones include built-in cameras that let you capture photos that rival those shot with expensive stand-alone digital cameras. Most cell phones these days also double as removable disk drives you can connect to your computer to transfer files such as music, photos and videos between the devices. Consequently, moving images from your cellphone to a PC is very similar to using a USB flash drive or external hard drive to transfer files. Some smartphones, like the Apple iPhone, even transfer pictures to your computer automatically when you connect the devices with a USB cable. With many other phones, though, copying or moving photos to your computer is not automatic.
Windows Import Pictures and Videos Wizard
Connect the small end of the data cable to the mini-USB port on the side of your phone, then connect the opposite end to an unused USB port on the PC. Wait a few seconds for Windows to detect the USB connection with your phone and configure its internal memory card as a removable storage device. After Windows configures the phone's memory card as a removable storage device, the AutoPlay window appears automatically.
Click "Import Pictures and Videos" and then "Import Settings." In the Import window, click "Browse" and then select the folder in which you want to save the photos that you transfer from your cell phone. The Import Pictures and Video wizard sets the default destination folder to "My Pictures," so you can leave that folder selected if you don’t want to change it.
Click "Import" to begin copying the pictures on the cell phone to the My Pictures library or the other folder you selected. If you want to erase the photos from the phone after copying them to your computer, enable the "Erase after Importing" option while Windows copies the image files. If you select the option, Windows delete all of the pictures on the phone's memory card automatically. After Windows finishes importing the photos from the phone, Windows Photo Gallery window appears automatically and displays thumbnail images of all of the pictures imported from the phone.
Double-click a thumbnail image to view it full screen in Windows Photo Gallery. Alternatively, open the images files in another in another media application for editing or viewing as needed.
Click the "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" icon in the Quick Launch tray of the Windows taskbar, then select the phone's name on the list of connected devices. When Windows informs you that it is safe to remove the hardware, unplug the USB cable from the computer and the phone.
Drag and Drop in Windows Explorer
Connect the data cable to your cell phone and the PC. After the Windows AutoPlay window opens, click "Open Device to View Files." Windows Explorer opens and display a list of files and folders on the memory card of the phone.
Ensure that the Windows Explorer window is active and press the "Ctrl-N" keys. Pressing the "Ctrl-N" keys opens a second Windows Explorer window over the first. Use the mouse to position the second window so that it sits the left of the first and you can view the contents of both windows. Click the "My Pictures" link in the Navigation pane of the new Windows Explorer window.
Double-click the "Photos" or "Pictures" folder in the Windows Explorer window displaying the content of the phone's memory card. Press the "Ctrl-A" keys to highlight and select all of the image files in the Photos or Pictures folder on the phone.
Click one of the highlighted image files in the Windows Explorer window for the phone's memory card, but do not release the mouse button. Continue to hold down the left mouse button while you drag the highlighted files to the second Windows Explorer window displaying the My Pictures library.
Release the left mouse button after you drag the selected files on the phone to the My Pictures library. Windows copies the images from the phone to your computer.
- The "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" icon has a small picture of a USB cable plug with a green check mark.
- When connecting your phone to the computer via the USB data cable, you may have to set a connection option before Windows can detect and configure the memory card properly. If Windows fails to detect and configure the memory card in your phone automatically, check the settings on the phone and ensure that the USB connection mode is set to "Mass Media Device," "Mass Storage Device," "External Media Drive" or something similar. You can usually check the USB settings by accessing the "USB" or "USB Connection Mode" options in the "Settings" or "Tools" section of your phone's menu.
- Windows contains native drivers for most USB-capable cell phones and memory cards. However, if Windows does not detect and configure the memory card in the phone automatically, open a Web browser and download the latest USB driver for the phone from the manufacturer's support website. After you download and install the phone's USB driver, Windows should be able to detect it and configure it as a removable storage device.
- USB data cable for your phone
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images