Copy individual iPhone video clips without syncing your whole library!

The iPhone’s camera gets a better picture than almost any prosumer-grade camcorder you could buy ten years ago.  But there’s (at least) one big downside: it takes way too much time to sync your whole photo library using iTunes when you just want to grab one or two clips.  Maybe there’s some program that’ll do it for you, but… which one do you choose?  Fortunately, there’s a (mostly) easy way to transfer just the video clips you want to your Mac or Windows machine.


How to transfer to a Mac

Use the Image Capture app already installed on your machine.



How to transfer to Windows, in text / image format

1. Plug in your iPhone.  (Hold down the Shift key if the following box doesn’t appear.)

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 10.59.02 AM

2. Choose the “Open device to view files” option.

3.  Enter an asterisk (*) in the search field to view all the photos and videos on your device.

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4.  Right-click to copy the photos and videos you want.  You may have to do this one at a time, lest you receive an error.

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 10.59.55 AM



You just shot a video on your iPhone! Maybe it was a how-to video on how to pull the perfect shot of espresso. Or whatever. In any case, your video is safe and sound on here [your phone]. Now, you need to get it here [your computer].

Ugh. This part is always a pain.

0:15 Because, yeah, you could use iTunes. But then you have to sync your whole photo library before you can even start editing. Maybe there’s some other app that can do it, but… which one do you choose? How long will that take to learn?

Wouldn’t it be nice if downloading your footage were as easy as it is on a DSLR? Well, until Apple decides to add an SD card slot (laugh track), there is a simpler way to download your video, and you don’t need to install anything.

0:41 If you’re using a Mac, it’s really easy. Plug in your iPhone, and instead of iTunes, just scroll down to the Image Capture app. Just choose the clips you want. Select multiple files by holding down the Command key as you click. Choose any destination folder you want! And then just click Import.

0:59 You’d never guess, but it’s a little more tricky on Windows. When you plug your phone in, you should get a box that looks like this. No, that’s the wrong box.

If you don’t get the box, try holding down Shift while you plug in your iPhone. There we go, that’s the box. You do have the option of importing your entire library, but that puts you right back where you started. So first, check this box so you don’t have to hold down Shift anymore, and then choose the Windows Explorer option.

Go into Internal Storage, then DCIM, um… what the heck are all these folders?

1:38 Turns out they have something to do with databases… whatever. Fortunately, we don’t need to dig through them to find our video clips. Just enter an asterisk in the Search field to show all your photos and videos at once! Drag the ones you want to your hard drive. … Are you kidding me?

Okay, so for some reason you can’t drag and drop when you look at your photos inside search. So instead, right-click to Copy the photo, and then right-click to Paste. Oh, and by the way, you get the same error if you try to copy multiple files, so you need to Copy and Paste one at a time.

[Yay windows!]

2:18 So, in review… plug in your iPhone, view your files, enter an asterisk in the Search field, and individually copy and paste the files you want.

And if that’s too much of a pain, you can always use something like Dropbox. Copy your files there, then download them again. In fact, this is what many videographers do, because then they can share their files with anybody who needs them. But that takes so long. These video files are just so big! Is there any way to speed that up?

That’s the topic of our next iPhone-themed video, which we’ll be releasing sometime in the next few weeks. If you’d like to be the first to know when that drops, sign up for our newsletter at the end of this video! That’s all for now. Thanks for watching!

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