How to Transfer Videos from iPhone to a Computer for Free

By Joakim Kling | Last Update:

Transferring videos from iPhone to PC is an effective way to free up iPhone storage. According to Apple, a minute of 60 fps 1080p HD video will be 90MB, and 60fps 4K video will be 400MB. Even if you can use high efficiency video format to reduce file size, photos and videos are still the biggest storage hog.

Also, you may be in the mood to get videos off iPhone, and edit them on a bigger screen; copy videos to PC or external hard drive for backup purpose; or save Snapchat, WhatsApp and iMessage videos to a computer.

Depending on video types, the methods to adopt are slightly different. As you can see, there are various types of videos on iPhone to deal with:

  • Videos shot and stored in camera roll album in the Photos app;
  • Videos downloaded by Safari or other browsers;
  • Videos purchased from iTunes Store or cached in the TV app;
  • Videos in iMessage, Text Message, Files app, iCloud drive, etc.

Every method we covered below allows you to transfer camera roll videos, while some method also helps you with videos outside the camera roll. Read on to find a way most suitable according to your specific situation.

1. Get Videos off iPhone with DearMob iPhone Manager

As you already know, iTunes only sync videos to iPhone, it is not an iPhone file explorer that serves as an interface to manage and transfer content on iPhone.

For flexible two-way transfer (iPhone to computer and vice versa), let's see a professional iPhone/iPad management tool DearMob iPhone Manager in action:

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to DearMob iPhone Manager, and go to Videos & Movies.

DearMob iPhone Manager main UI

Tip: You can transfer and manage videos and files from multiple iPhone and iPad, and there is no Apple ID restriction. For instance, you don't need to sign-out from your account and sign in to your wife's/husband's account to transfer videos.

Step 2. Select videos and click Export.

Export iPhone video
  • Video Recorded: it groups all the videos from camera roll. Since videos are separated from photos, it is easier to find the video you are looking for.
  • TV Show & Movies: Videos you download from the TV app (also known as Video app in some country and region), or from iTunes store.
  • Music Video: Videos you saved from Apple Music.
  • Home Video: Videos manually synced from iTunes.

If you have videos download from Safari, VLC or other apps, and saved to the Files app, you can access the content too.

Go to Files or Apps from the home screen, and copy out videos as you like.

Access and transfre videos in other apps

For videos in text messages, you can easily view and save them from SMS panel.

As you can see from the steps, DearMob iPhone Manager makes everything simple and straightforward. This program is free to use, you can download it by clicking the buttons below:

What else can DearMob iPhone Manager do:

  • Convert Live Photos to videos upon transferring
  • Transfer pictures among multiple iPhone, PC and Mac
  • Convert content to Apple-compatible format
  • Set custom ringtone and alert tone with 1-click

DearMob iPhone Manager also runs on Mac, you can trust it to transfer iPhone/iPad videos to Mac >>

2. Import iPhone Videos to Windows 10/8.x/7 via AutoPlay

The import function in AutoPlay will treat your iPhone as a camera, and access videos and photos in iPhone camera roll. Videos and other media files stored somewhere else in iPhone storage are not accessible.

This method is suitable for the following situation: you want to import all the photos and videos to Windows local drive, without the need to separate videos from camera roll photos.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone or iPad to a Windows PC with the cable. Tap Trust this computer when you see the prompt on iDevice.

• If you don't see AutoPlay popup, switch to another USB port to re-connect your device.

Windows AutoPlay popup

Step 2. Click Import pictures and videos using Windows.

• The AutoPlay utility will scan all the videos and photos on your iPhone. When it's done, hit Next.

Import iPhone pictures

• You can click More options to change import folder, file naming strategy (name + Date Taken, for instance), or enable the option to delete videos after importing.

Manage import settings

Step 3. After scanning, your videos and photos in camera roll will be grouped chronologically. You can drag the slider at bottom right corner to adjust the time range.

Import videos to folders

Step 4. Click Import to get videos off iPhone, together with photos.

As you can see from the screenshot, there is no option to filter out videos from photos, unless you tick video files manually.

One possible solution to get organized is, you can perform the importation regularly, say, every Saturday, or at the end of each month. Then, you can select "Import all new items now". When it's done, right click to group files by type, so that you can separate videos out of thousands of pictures.

Windows AutoPlay not showing up?

If the AutoPlay dialogue box won't pop up, besides manage settings in control panel, you can also right click on the device (iPhone/iPad) to import.

Open Windows Explorer, find your device on the left panel, right click and hit Import pictures and videos.

Fix AutoPlay not showing up

3. Copy Camera Roll Videos to Windows 10/8.x/7 with DCIM Folder

You might find the AutoPlay method less straightforward, especially when you simply want to download a recently created video on iPhone. Directly browsing the internal storage DCIM folder is another way.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to the computer, and make sure to unlock screen.

• If you have large videos to transfer, make sure the screen lock time is long enough. If your iPhone lock its screen during the process, it will break the transferring.

Step 2. Click your device in the left panel, and go to Internal Storage folder, then open the DCIM folder.

Windows DCIM folder

If you don't see the DCIM folder, or the DCIM folder is empty, try switch to another USB port, and always make sure your iPhone is unlocked. Here are another four ways to fix DCIM folder empty or not showing up >>

Step 3. Go to 100APPLE, 101 APPLE, 102 APPLE etc. Right click to Group by Type.

Sort videos by type in DCIM folders

Step 4. Copy and paste the MP4 and MOV files to your machine's local drive.

Get videos off iPhone

It is safer to copy-and-paste instead of cut-and-paste. A hard lesson I learned: I cut and paste dozens of large videos from iPhone to (E:) drive. During the process, the connection breaks somehow, and some videos are not copied to the destination folder, while they have already been removed from iPhone.

4. Import Videos from iPhone to Windows 10 via Photos App

Windows Photos App is a pre-installed program developed by Microsoft to act as a central hub for all the media stored on your local drive. It is the default photos viewer, and displays your photos and videos in photo library style, with smart utilities to create photos slideshow for you.

You may not notice that, the photos app also have a dedicated Import option to transfer photos and videos from camera devices, iPhone, iPad, and other mobiles & tablets. Here is how:

Import videos using the default Photos app

 

Step 1. Unlock iPhone screen and plug it to the computer.

Step 2. Tap Trust when you are prompted to trust this computer.

Step 3. Open up the Photos app on Windows 10 (also works on Windows 8).

Step 4. On the top right corner, click Import > From a USB device.

  • From a folder: you can add a folder with photos on your computer, so that the photos app displays these photos as your collection.
  • From a USB device: it will import photos on any camera device, including iPhone and iPad. iOS devices complies to the "de facto" DCF standard, or the DCIM folder that you are well familiar to. (Read more: Why Does Every Camera Put Photos in a DCIM Folder).

Step 5. In the pop up Window, you can see all your camera roll photos and videos. If you only want to import videos, go unselect all, and manually tick videos you like.

When you are happy with the selection, go confirm importing the footage.

If you have no desired to fill up your C: Drive, make sure to change folders via Import Settings.

5. Download Videos from iPhone to Windows/Mac via iCloud

If you have good network connection and upgrade to iCloud large storage plan, enabling iCloud photos library is another workable option.

Currently, iOS and iPadOS haven't offered you any option to sync video only. You need to turn on iCloud syncing for the photos app, so that videos are uploading to the cloud service together with photos.

Step 1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Tap your profile photo on the top > iCloud.

Step 2. In Apps using iCloud section, tap Photos, and toggle it on for iCloud syncing.

Note:

If you have synced media from a computer previously, you will see the warning to erase synced items. It is because iCloud and iTunes syncing are mutual exclusive, as per Apple's design. If you prefer not to remove synced photos, you cannot turn on iCloud syncing.

To solve this dilemma, you can export synced photos to computer, and then delete them. However, as synced photos are not part of the camera roll photos, you won't be able to view them in DCIM folder. You can go back to method 1 and use the dedicated iOS explorer DearMob iPhone Manager to view and transfer synced content.

Step 3. When you successfully toggled on iCloud photo syncing, wait for some time for the videos and photos to be uploaded online. Depending on your network condition, the process would take hours or days to finish for the first time.

Sign in to iCloud

Step 4. On your computer, visit icloud.com or download iCloud for Windows app.

Step 5. Enter your Apple ID and password. If you have turned on two-factor protection, you need to authorize the logging-in on iPhone and enter the provided code.

View and download Videos from iCloud

Step 6. Within iCloud, navigate to Photos, preview videos within, and download them to your local drive.

6. Send Video to Your PC via Email

This is one of the most common methods every iPhone owner would think of. Its drawback is obvious: the file size is limited, and it is inconvenient to transfer multiple files at once. However, this can be used as a workaround if you happen to need a compressed video file.

For instance, you may need to upload some videos to forums or online platforms with file size limits. Most Email apps allow you to attach a video with quality option, such as original, medium, or small sizes.

After adding videos, you can send it to yourself. Similarly, you can download Facebook Messenger apps for iOS and for PC to transfer videos, or any other Instant Message applications you use regularly.

Wrap Up

Method Video Type Connection Note

DearMob iPhone Manager

Camera roll videos, iTunes purchases, movies, videos in messages, Files, VLC, etc.

Wired transfer

Option to encrypt videos

Windows AutoPlay

Camera Roll videos

Wired transfer

Videos are mixed with photos

Windows DCIM folder

Camera Roll videos

Wired transfer

Videos scattered in subfolders

Windows 10 Photos App

Camera Roll videos

Wired transfer

Videos will be imported to the Photos Library

iCloud

Camera Roll videos

Wireless

Download videos from iCloud

Email & IM App

Videos with Share option

Wireless

Videos will be compressed

Free download DearMob iPhone Manager to import videos:

About The Author

Joakim is a tech addict and mobile enthusiast ever since the Symbian era. Now as a technical writer, he loves to test software and devices, and share his discoveries in plain language. Jogging helps him think better and stay energized throughout the day.

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