These days, almost none of my friends or family have a standalone digital camera. They capture moments almost exclusively with smartphone cameras, and most often, those smartphones are iPhones.
The iPhone has long been lauded for the quality of its camera, with every generation improving its specs. Additionally, Apple has provided photo management in iCloud and the Photos app.
But, not all iPhone users are Mac users as well. Some folks use PCs, and rely on photo transfer through iTunes. However, some users have turned to Chromebooks — Google’s thin client, browser-based machine — as their main computer.
Apple and Google may be mortal enemies, but your iPhone and Chromebook can work together. Here is how to move the photos on your iPhone to your Chromebook using Google Drive.
Start with Google Drive
Begin by downloading the Google Drive app from the Apple App Store. If you are new to the iPhone, the App Store is the native blue app icon with an “A” in a circle. In the App Store, use the magnifying glass to search for “Google Drive” and the app you want will be the first result.
Once you have the app downloaded, tap on the app icon from your home screen to open the app. It’s important to remember that Google Drive is more of a management tool than one for content creation. If you want to create or edit documents in Drive, for example, you’ll need to download the separate Docs app.
With the app open, tap on the red circle with a “+” in the middle of it.
After you tap the red circle, you’ll be presented with a few different options. Since we are focusing on photos, we are only going to go over the two options related to photos. In the menu that opens, you should see an “Upload” option and a “Use Camera” option.
Let’s start with uploading. Once you select uploading, you’ll be given yet another set of options to choose from. You can upload photos and videos that exist on your device, photos and videos you have stored in iCloud, or content you may have in another compatible app.
Since we are talking about getting photos off of our iPhones, select the “Photos and Videos” option. At this point, you may be prompted to allow Google Drive permission to access your photos. You must tap “OK” for this upload to work.
Now you will be presented with your on-device photo albums to choose from. Select the album that holds the photos you want to upload and then tap on the photos you want to upload, keeping in mind you may upload multiple photos at a time. Selected photos will have a blue check mark on them. When you are ready to upload them, tap the grey checkmark in the upper right hand portion of the screen.
If you wish to upload photos directly from the camera, after tapping the red circle, select the “Use Camera” option. After selecting this option, you will likely be prompted again, but this time to allow Google Drive permission to use your phone’s camera. You must select “OK” to continue.
With the camera open, you will take a photo just like you would using the normal camera app. Once the photo is taken, you can either choose to take another photo or use the one you took. If you choose “Use Photo,” your photo will automatically be uploaded to Google Drive.
Retrieving the photos
In order to retrieve the photos you uploaded, you will need to download them to your Chromebook from Google Drive. Being that the Chromebooks do not typically have a large amount of harddrive space, it isn’t recommended for you to store a large number of photos on the device.
Open your web browser and find your way to Google Drive. If you are unfamiliar with drive, you can access it from the Google Apps icon on your Gmail page, or by typing in drive.google.com. If prompted for your login credentials, it will be the same as your Gmail account.
Google Drive should default to your My Drive view, which shows all the files in your Drive account. If not, try clicking on “My Drive” in the left-hand column on the screen. Clicking the arrow next to My Drive will drop down to reveal any folders you have created. Folders are a great way to organize your documents and photos in Drive. If you create a folder in Drive on the web, you should be able to upload photos directly to that folder from your iPhone. For example, I use a folder called “iPhone Photos” to backup my photos.
When you have located the photos you wish to store locally on your Chromebook, you can download them one of two ways. First, you can download them individually. To do so, click on the name of the file to view the image, then click the download icon at the top of the screen.
Second, if you want to download multiple photos at a time, I recommend that you batch download them all together. To download multiple photos from Google Drive, start by selecting the photos you want by clicking the check boxes to the left of each file name.
With the photos selected, click the more tab at the top of the screen and choose “Download” from the drop-down menu. Another window will pop up giving you conversion options for the files (if any), and another blue “Download” button. Click the blue download button to complete the download and get your iPhone photos on your Chromebook.
Hopefully this will help you better manage your photos and be able to save and share the content that matters to you.
Update: A video was added to this article on April 11, 2017.