Transfer Video from iOS to a Computer

Did you record a great video on your iPhone or iPad and now you want the full quality version on a computer? If you’ve ever used the iOS built-in sharing tools to from an iPhone or iPad, you’ll undoubtedly have noticed the quality gets reduced from the high quality HD 4k, 720p, or 1080p video to a lower resolution. That is done for bandwidth conservation reasons and because many email clients won’t accept large files, even if both the iPhone and computer are on wi-fi. Sending through iMessage is slightly better, but it still won’t provide the original resolution movie, and that only works for Mac users.

If you’re looking to transfer full HD video recorded from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to a computer, you’ll want to connect the iOS device to a Mac or PC and copy over the movies manually much like to the computer. This tutorial will walk through how to transfer high resolution HD video from an iPhone or iPad, to a Mac or Windows PC.

How to Transfer HD Video from iPhone or iPad to a Mac

This is the quickest way to pull the full resolution HD movie from an iOS device and copy it to a Mac with Mac OS X:

  1. Launch “Image Capture” found in the /Applications/ folder
  2. Connect the iPad, iPod, or iPhone to the Mac via USB
  3. Locate the video you want to copy over from Image Capture and click on it, select multiple videos by holding the Shift key – note the File Size of the HD videos will be much larger than the lower resolution videos
  4. Pull down the “Import To” menu and select someplace meaningful like the Desktop
  5. Click “Import” to copy the HD video to the Mac

Mac users can also use Preview, iMovie, and Photos, or iPhoto to transfer the video over, but ultimately Image Capture is the quickest and lightest weight.

It’s also worth pointing out that if your iOS device has iCloud configured and the OS X machine is modern, you can use iCloud Drive for 720p video as well. Do note that copying HD video from iCloud can take a while, thus we still recommend the above Image Capture approach, particularly if you want the full 1080p video resolution.

How to Copy Full Resolution HD Video from iPhone / iPad to a Windows PC

Windows PC’s can treat the iPhone, iPad, and iPod as part of the file system meaning you can access video files and pictures with Windows Explorer:

  1. Connect the iPhone, iPad, iPod to the PC with a USB cable
  2. Open “My Computer” and find the iOS device in the list of cameras and connected devices
  3. Open the iOS device and browse for the video(s) you want to copy over, copy them to the desired location as usual in Windows using copy and paste or otherwise

In a lot of ways, Windows is actually easier to access the HD movie files and pictures with, at least for those of us who are accustomed to working with a file system rather than apps like iMovie, iPhoto, and Image Capture.