Transferring files from a Windows PC to an iPhone has never been easier. You can do this using a cable or even wirelessly. Moreover, you can easily facilitate the transfer using your own local network. This guide outlines the most effective ways to transfer every kind of file from your PC to your iOS device.
Tip: if you need to wipe your phone clean, you can factory reset your iPhone.
1. Transfer Files Using iTunes
Apple’s iTunes is the most straightforward option for moving files from Windows to iPhone. Note, however, that iTunes on Windows is very limited in features, but it may be enough for some users.
- Download and install the iTunes app from the Microsoft Store if you’re using Windows 11 or 10. If you’re on Windows 7, download either the 32-bit or 64-bit installation from Apple’s website.
- iTunes is all about multimedia and isn’t just a tool for transferring files. Also, iTunes can be used to install apps. To get started, connect your iPhone to your Windows PC using a Lightning-to-USB cable, then click on the mobile-shaped icon in iTunes.
Note: Sometimes your iPhone will prompt you to authorize the connection from your PC. Make sure to choose the “Trust” or “Allow” options so that you can navigate your iPhone through the iTunes app.
- Click on the “File Sharing” option in the left sidebar.
- The File Sharing option allows you to share files with a specific app. For example, you can share media files with the VLC Media Player app installed on your iOS device. Choose any app from the list and click “Add File.”
- After adding the files you want to move, click “Done.”
- Disconnect your iPhone from the PC. Open the Files app on your mobile device and navigate to the “On My iPhone” folder. You’ll see a list of the folders created by your apps, as well as additional folders.
- Tap on the “VLC” folder to see the files you’ve added to iTunes on your PC. They can be moved to any other folder.
- You can also transfer files from iPhone to Windows. Move the files through the Files app on your iPhone, then open iTunes on your PC once more to find the files.
Syncing Your Music Library with iTunes
If you want to sync your entire music library between Windows and iPhone to access it through the default Music app on your phone, follow the next steps.
- Open iTunes on your PC, hover over the “File” menu, then choose “Add Folder to Library.”
- Select the folder that has your music files in it or create one, add the music files, then select it.
Note: it’s recommended that your music files are well categorized, and every music file should have its own metadata, such as artist, album, etc. You can use a free app like MP3Tag to add and edit this data.
- Click on “Music” on the iTunes sidebar, then check the box next to the “Sync Music” option.
- You can find your music library through your iPhone’s Music app or any music player you allow to access your library.
Using an iTunes Alternative
If you don’t like iTunes, one great alternative is iMazing: a software that offers free usage of the basic features.
- Download iMazing from its official website, then install it.
- Connect your iPhone to your PC using a cable and launch the app.
- The app allows you to quickly transfer any file using the “Quick Transfer” option.
- Navigate to the “Photos” section of iMazing to see your photos and modify them by downloading, uploading, deleting, etc. Keep in mind that the “Import” option is for transferring from iPhone to PC, and “Export” is the opposite.
- You can also do the same with your music, as you can modify your library or add music to it.
Tip: learn how to use iCloud Keychain in Windows and easily manage passwords.
2. Transfer Files Using Cloud Storage
Transferring files between your Windows PC and iPhone using a cloud storage service represents another practical solution, as you’ll be able to access those files using the cloud from your iPhone, Windows PC, and any other devices linked to your cloud. Although iCloud and Google Drive are examples, you can use any cloud storage you would like.
- Download the iCloud app from the Microsoft Store.
- Launch the app and log in with your iCloud account, meaning your Apple ID. Ensure your iPhone is nearby, as you must log in with it to confirm.
- Selection the items you want to sync, and click “Apply” on the next screen.
- Open File Explorer. You should notice a couple of folders that iCloud created on the left. The “iCloud Drive” folder is your primary folder, and anything you put here will instantly appear on your iPhone if both devices are connected to the Internet. The “iCloud Photos” folder is all about multimedia, and anything you place in there will show up in your iPhone’s Photos app and vice versa.
- To access your iCloud data from your iPhone, open the Files app and navigate to the iCloud Drive folder.
- You can move any files from your Windows PC to the iCloud Drive folder and vice versa. Note that you can also access these files from any other device using iCloud.com.
Google Drive is another alternative for sharing files remotely. It offers 15GB of free storage.
- Install Google Drive on your iPhone and Windows PC.
- Sign in on both using the same Google Account (Gmail).
- Google Drive will create a new folder on your PC and sync every file you add. You can also access the same Google Drive folder on your iPhone from the Files app.
Tip: get up to speed on how to export your Telegram chat history and take it with you to a new device.
3. Transfer Files via Messaging Apps
If you want to transfer smaller files between your Windows PC and iPhone, you can use instant messaging apps such as Telegram and WhatsApp to do so. All you need to do is have the app, such as Telegram, installed on your iPhone and PC. Make sure you’re using the same account on both apps.
- On Windows, open Telegram and select “Saved Messages.”
- Click on the Attach icon on the bottom and select any file you want to send in the “Saved Messages” chat so that you can use or download it on your iPhone and any other device you use with Telegram.
- On your iPhone, open the same chat to see the files you’ve synced. As you did with your PC, you can tap the Attach button to send files from your iPhone to Windows.
4. Transfer Files Using AirDrop Alternatives
Another method for easily sharing files between Windows and iPhone is to establish a local network by connecting both devices to the same Wi-Fi network. You’ll need a third-party app or service to facilitate the transfer.
LANDrop is a free, simple, open-source app available on nearly every platform. This method does not require a cable.
- Download and install LANDrop on Windows and iOS.
- Open LANDrop on iOS and make sure that the app is open in the foreground during the file transfer.
- On your PC, find the app in the system tray, right-click it, and select “Send File(s).”
- Click on “Add” to select the files you want to transfer, then press “Send.”
- Select the device you want to transfer to, which in this case is your iPhone, then click “Send.” Ensure that the app is open in the foreground on your iPhone.
- You’ll see a notification on your iPhone about the transfer, and you should tap the “Accept” button to initiate the transfer.
- When the transfer completes, you’ll see all of the files inside the app in the Files menu. You can easily export those files to your device using the share menu.
- It’s possible to transfer files from iPhone to Windows in a similar fashion by sharing them via the LANDrop app. Ensure your PC is connected to the same Wi-Fi and already launched and visible in the tray.
This method targets users with a PC running an Intel chipset. The Intel Unison app helps you connect your iPhone and Windows PC so that you can transfer files, see the messages you receive on your phone, view and edit images and videos on your iPhone, and make and answer calls from your PC.
- Download Intel Unison for Windows and iOS and open it on both devices.
- Use your iPhone to scan the QR code that Intel Unison shows on your PC.
- Allow a Bluetooth connection between your two devices. This will be used to sync calls.
- Use the “Transfer Files” option to transfer files between the two devices. You can see the files inside the Intel Unison app or from the Files app on your iPhone via the “Intel Unison” folder.
- To transfer a file to your phone, drag it from its location on your PC and drop it into Intel Unison. On your iPhone, tap the blue “Send” icon to do the same.
- Alternatively, you may navigate to the Gallery section in Intel Unison on Windows to see your iPhone’s photos and videos. From here, you can download images to your PC or upload content from your PC to your iPhone.
Tip: getting the unidentified network error in Windows? Try these methods to fix it!
5. Transfer Files Using the Local Network
Another way to easily share files between a PC and iPhone connected to the same local network is to create a Shared folder.
- Start by creating a new user on your PC, ensuring that you don’t mess with your default Windows settings. Type “cmd” in Windows Search and run it as administrator.
- Input the following command to create a new user, replace “MTE” with a username of your own choosing and “111” with a unique password, then press Enter.
net user "MTE" "111" /add
- Command Prompt must show you a message that reads: “The command created successfully.”
- Create a folder to share, then right-click it and choose “Properties.”
- Click “Share” in the new window.
- Select the newly created user to add it, then grant it the “Read/Write” privileges by clicking on the little arrow under the “Permission Level” column.
- Go back to the folder, right-click it again to open “Properties,” then select “Advanced Sharing.”
- Tick the “Share this folder” option at the top, then click “Permissions.”
- Grant your folder all the permissions, including “Full Control,” “Change,” and “Read.”
- Your folder is ready to be accessed. However, you still need to know your IPv4 address to access it from your iPhone. Doing this is pretty easy. Go back to the Command Prompt, type the following command, and the IPv4 address will appear immediately.
ipconfig | find "IPv4"
- Now we’re ready to start transferring files. Unlock your iPhone and navigate to the Files app. Tap the options icon in the top-right corner and select “Connect to Server.”
- Type the IP address you just learned and tap “Connect.”
- Select “Registered User,” type the account name and password that you set up in the first step, then tap “Next.”
- That’s it! By navigating back to the Files main screen, you’ll see a new folder named after your IPv4 address. Inside it, you’ll find the shared folder, which in this case is called “MTE.”
- You’re free to copy any files or folders inside the shared folder, and you’ll be able to access them on both devices as long as you connect them to your Wi-Fi.
- If you need to delete the newly-created Windows local account, you can do so by launching cmd and typing the following command, where “MTE” is the account name.
net user "MTE" /delete
Good to know: not sure how you can view the devices connected to your network? We show you how.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an AirDrop alternative available for Windows?
No, AirDrop is not available for Windows. However, users can transfer files from iPhone to Windows using any of the methods discussed in this article.
How do I transfer files to my new iPhone?
If you’ve recently purchased a new iPhone, you can easily migrate all of your data while setting it up. However, if you’re transferring from Android or have your data stored on your Windows PC, you can use iTunes to transfer your data. Additionally, when transferring from Android, you can use the Move to iOS app. You can also transfer contacts from Android to iPhone.
Image source: Pexels. All screenshots by Mustafa Ashour.
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