Where are iPhone photos stored? 2023

Modified Nov. 3, 2023, 9:21 p.m.


I remember looking for a long time to find where the photos were stored the first time I bought an iPhone. I’ve written this article so you won’t waste hours to find them.

The photos taken with your iPhone are stored in two places, in the iPhone itself, and on your iCloud account. In both cases, you can retrieve these photos using the Photos application of your iPhone.

Let’s see how to find the photos using a computer, and where to find the pictures you did not take, such as the ones you received by message or the ones you downloaded while browsing the web.

Where to retrieve the photos taken with an iPhone?

Each time you take a photo with your iPhone using the Camera application, you can tap on the thumbnail of the image you just took at the bottom left of your camera application. But there is another place with more features to manage all of your pictures.

All of your pictures, including the photos taken with the iPhone camera but also the images you saved, are stored in the Photos application.

A picture of the icon of the Photos application on an iPhone

In this application, you are able to browse your pictures, but you can also organize them in multiple albums. You can, for example, create a new album for each of your trips and store the photos you took during that trip in the correct album. It’s way easier to retrieve them later.

You can also use the search feature to quickly find a picture you are looking for. Just tap on the search tab at the bottom right of the Photos app, and search for anything present in your picture, you can even search for people and animals.

Among the photos you took are the photos you downloaded using other applications. It can be a mess, you might want to separate the photos taken with your iPhone in a different album.

For those of you who know about photo editing or want to learn about it, you can also edit your pictures directly in the Photos app.

Where are downloaded photos stored on iPhones?

When you are browsing the web, or using any message application such as WhatsApp, you might be downloading images sometimes. Depending on the application, there are 2 different places where the photos could be stored.

The first place is obviously the Photos application of your iPhone. The images saved on Safari while you are browsing the web are stored in the Photos app for example. It’s also the case for Instagram.

The second place is in Files. On some applications, the images are not saved in the Photos app, but in the files of your iPhone. The location where the images are stored depends on the settings you have, by default, images are saved in your iCloud account, which you can access by going to the Files app, and to “iCloud Drive” on the homepage of the browse tab of the application.

You can browse your iPhone photos on your computer

If your iPhone pictures are stored in the Photos app, you can access the application from a computer. Hopefully, you can browse the directory where all the photos taken with your iPhone camera are stored on your computer.

To browse your iPhone pictures on your computer, just plug your iPhone into your computer using the proper USB cable. You might need to wait a little bit, and confirm that you trust the computer using the pop-up that appears on your iPhone.

Once everything is set up, you can browse your iPhone pictures. There are multiple directories, at least one per month, sometimes more. If you feel lost in all those directories, check out these explanations about the iPhone photo numbering scheme.

You can’t browse the iPhone hard drive to find your photos

If you are someone coming from Android and recently bought an iPhone, you might be trying to browse iPhone files to find the directory where your pictures are stored. Unfortunately, you can’t do this on an iPhone, it’s not working like on Android phones.

Mostly due to the security system, you can’t browse an iPhone hard drive to find any file stored on the iPhone. The filesystem is protected, and only the directory where the photos are saved can be parsed.

At least you can’t do this using conventional tools, or any Apple software. Some software allows you to transfer any photo and file from your iPhone to your computer, or from your computer to your iPhone. The one I use when I need it is iMazing.



Maxime Levesque is a technical engineer with more than 5 years of professional experience. He is an expert in computer and phones, mostly on Apple products. Maxime is also the founder of TechBrowser.

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