If you use an iPhone as your personal smartphone and a Chromebook at work or school, you might want to move files between these devices. One of the most common requests is to move photos from an iPhone to a Chromebook. The new iPhone 13 models have great cameras and you’ll definitely want to sync those up for viewing on your Chrome OS device.
The good news is, there’s a few convenient options on how to transfer your photos. Depending on your level of integration with the Google ecosystem, you can choose to use cloud storage or sync directly using USB. Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy your full-resolution iPhone photos on your Chromebook. Let’s take a look at both options in more detail.
Use Google Photos for cloud syncing
If you want an easy way to get your iPhone photos on a Chromebook without the hassle, cloud syncing is your best bet. Apple and Google both have incredibly popular Photos apps. As a loyal Android and Chrome user, I’d argue that Google’s solution is the better one, which is actually nice because it’s also available on iOS.
Apple doesn’t make their Photos app available on Android, so you really need to go with the Google solution here to sync your photos to your Chromebook in the cloud using a first-party solution. If you simply install the Photos app on your iPhone and choose to sync full quality images, all of your photos will be available in the Photos app on your Chromebook. You can also access all of your photos using the Google Photos web app as well.
This is by far the easiest solution, but of course there’s the issue of original quality backups and paying for storage from Google if you take a lot of photos. It’s also possible to manually transfer photos, which we’ll cover next, but that’s quite a bit more complicated than just using Google Photos. Keep in mind that most Chromebooks don’t have a lot of storage on board, so you may not be able to locally store every single photo you take anyway.
If you use another popular cloud service like Dropbox, Box, or OneDrive, these are also options for syncing photos through the cloud. Amazon Photos is another option worth considering since they are currently offering unlimited full-quality backups, something Google removed from their Photos app recently.
Transfer photos manually over USB
If you prefer to take care of business the old-fashioned way, you can easily do that as well. 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.
Keep in mind you’ll need to use a USB to Lightning cable for the connection as Apple is still using Lightning ports on the iPhone 13 series in 2021. If your Chromebook has a USB-C port, which most newer Chromebooks do, you’ll need USB-C to Lightning. For older Chromebooks or budget models, you’ll need a USB-A to Lightning cable. If you don’t have the cable that came with your iPhone, you can also find a number of third-party options on Amazon.
The folder containing photos on your iPhone may be a few levels deep in the Chrome OS Files app, so you may have to do a little digging. Once you find the photos you want to transfer, just drag and drop to the local storage on your Chromebook. As mentioned earlier, it’s also worth considering an external hard drive if you have a lot of photos to transfer. Most Chromebooks have 64GB to 128GB of storage, so unless you have a fairly high-end model, the storage for photos will be limited.
That’s pretty much all there is to it. The best way in my opinion to get photos between an iPhone and Chromebook is to use Google Photos. If Google Photos isn’t your favorite cloud service, Dropbox or Amazon Photos are also great alternatives I’ve personally used as well. If you absolutely need to have all of your photos from your iPhone stored locally on a Chromebook, that process is pretty much plug and play too.
In either case you may need to spend a little bit of money to store your entire photo library. If you go the cloud storage route, you can pay for extra storage from Google if you need to store additional photos. I currently pay for the $2.99 per month Google One plan, which gives me 200GB of additional storage. Google offers plans that go up to 10TB of storage, in case you have a massive library of pictures. For those choosing to transfer files to your Chromebook and store locally, you can buy a quality external hard drive for around $100 on Amazon.