How to easily move iPhone photos to your Chromebook

Over the US holiday weekend, I was asked on Twitter if you can get photos from an iPhone on to a Chromebook. Some folks may think this type of cross-platform photo sharing is a challenge, but as I’ve pointed out before, you can be a happy iPhone owner that uses a Chromebook.

Truth be told, it’s actually quite easy to move photos from an iOS to a Chrome OS device and there are two simple ways to do it.

Use Google Photos on your iPhone

The easiest method is to just install the free Google Photos app for iOS on to an iPhone. I actually recommend this even for iPhone users who don’t have a Chromebook for a few reasons.

Google provides free cloud storage for your images up to 16MP and 1080p for video, so you don’t have to use or pay for extra iCloud storage. This also helps free up storage space on your iPhone because the app will occasionally ask if it can delete the local copies. And once you have your iPhone photos on Google’s cloud, you can easily access them on a Chromebook, or any other device with a browser, for that matter.

Google Photos PWA

There’s even a Google Photos Progressive Web App for Chrome OS and, of course, you can install and use the Google Photos Android app on your Chromebook to see the photos from your iPhone as well.

Connect your iPhone to your Chromebook over USB

If you’d rather go “old-school” and use a USB to Lightning cable with your iPhone, that works too, even on iOS 14. Just physically connect your iPhone to the USB port on your Chromebook, provide permission on your iPhone when prompted and the Chrome OS Files app will then show the photo data from your iPhone.

You may need to drill down a folder or two to get at those iPhone photos, but once you see the images you want to transfer, it’s a simple drag-and-drop process to the local storage of your Chromebook.

iPhone photos on a Chromebook over USB

Note that any time you attach an external drive with photos to a Chromebook, you’ll likely see a prompt to automatically back up those photos to Google. You can choose to do that or not; it doesn’t impact moving photos from your iPhone to a Chromebook.

(This post was originally published in December of 2018 and was updated on December 24, 2020)

10 thoughts on “How to easily move iPhone photos to your Chromebook

  • August 21, 2020 at 4:44 pm
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    This is not true, or its no longer true as of August 2020. Chromebooks do not recognize iphones and will only charge them

    Reply
    • August 21, 2020 at 4:54 pm
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      I thought perhaps something had changed based on your comment, so I just checked with an iPhone 11 Pro and my Acer Chromebook Spin 13. I can still see photos from the iPhone when I USB-connect it to my Chromebook. I did have to click the “allow this device to view files” prompt on the iPhone but it still works for me. What Chromebook and version of Chrome OS are you using?

      Reply
      • September 10, 2020 at 9:34 am
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        It seems that the pictures visible in Chromebook are the pictures residing locally on the IPhone/IPad. Is there any way to access the photos in iCloud via Chromebook?

        Reply
    • September 5, 2020 at 11:33 am
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      its sept 2020 now and when i plug in my iphone it says “Allow this device to access photos?” and i click Allow. then chromebook files app auto opens and it shows apple iphone and a dropdown that you can click and see all the photos organized into folders labeled “DCIM” i can open all of my phtos. the “Live Photos” on iphone show up as videos. but i can still click and drag all of my photos and copy them to my local dwnlds or my google drive which i prefer the ladder

      Reply
      • July 19, 2021 at 2:42 pm
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        Why do you use a ladder?

        Reply
  • August 23, 2020 at 9:59 am
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    It works like a charm on my old SE with iOS 14 and my Lenovo 3.

    Reply
  • December 30, 2020 at 1:34 am
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    I have to admit I am not tech savy at all, but it sure don’t work for me, I phone 8. I can’t even get chrome to print. It did, my brothers printer isn’t on the list. I followed every thing it told me to do, to the point of registering it too. Everything was excepted fine, still not print. Never CB for me again. Ton’s of people same thing, and some have not a problem. DONE!!!

    Reply
    • January 16, 2021 at 1:43 pm
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      Chrome book only works with specific printers. My mom gave me this Chromebook for Xmas but it’s semi useless because it won’t allow my Canon pixma to print. And of course I’m not going to buy another printer just for this laptop so I still have to print from my old laptop. Also when connecting your iPhone (I have an XR) you have to allow it when your iPhone prompts you too. And when you go to drag photos to your Chromebook it only allows it to go to certain folders (I wanted it to go to images but it couldn’t but I was able to drag it to pictures).

      Reply
  • February 3, 2021 at 5:34 am
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    Does anyone know how to delete the photos off the phone once they are downloaded? On the iphone it says “read-only” at the top and will not allow me to delete after downloading onto the computer.

    Reply
  • April 7, 2021 at 7:13 pm
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    Hello,

    Me and my partner are filming a skit for school on his phone (I only have an iPhone 7 but he has an iPhone 11 with better filming quality)
    We were going to transfer the videos we filmed on his iPhone 11 onto my Chromebook so I could edit them but I can’t figure out how I’m going to delete his camera roll off of my Chromebook after I move the needed videos to the downloads folder. So I have two questions…
    1. Is there a way to only transfer videos from a specific album rather than a whole camera roll?
    2. Is there a way to delete his camera roll off of my Chromebook?

    Please respond as soon as you can, thank you

    Reply

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