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Windows Can’t See iPhone Photos: Here’s How to Access Files on iPhone

If you want to browse iPhone photos on a Mac, you will need to import them to your photo library. This will take considerable time and if you’d like to copy a photo from the Photo Library to a different folder, the process is going to get more complicated.

In stark contrast to this, you can connect an iPhone to a Windows 10 system and access files directly from File Explorer. It is exponentially easier to view and browser iPhone Photos in Windows 10 than it is on macOS.

Windows Can't See iPhone Photos

Windows Can’t See iPhone Photos

To access photos on an iPhone you need a data cable to connect it to the system, and an app for browsing photos. The photos are either in JPG format or in HEIC format.

If you’re can’t browse iPhone photos in Windows 10, try the fixes below.

How to Access Files on iPhone from a Windows 10 PC

1. Unlock iPhone

Your phone must be unlocked before you connect it to your Windows 10 system. If it is locked, the files won’t load even if you routinely connect the device to the same system.

  1. Disconnect the iPhone from your system.
  2. Unlock the iPhone and make sure you’re on the home screen.
  3. Connect the iPhone to the system with the screen awake and the device unlocked.
  4. Tap ‘Trust’ on the prompt you see on the iPhone (may or may not appear).
  5. Open File Explorer and open the iPhone device. 

2. Reset device permissions

If you’ve made changes to the device such as installing a VPN profile or a certificate of some sort, it may have caused problems with device permissions.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Go to General>Reset.
  3. Tap Reset Network Settings.
  4. Restart the phone.
  5. Unlock the iPhone and connect it to the Windows 10 system.
  6. Accept (tap Trust) the prompt on the iPhone.
  7. Browse photos with File Explorer.

3. Change data cable and USB port

If you’re using a third-party data cable to connect the iPhone to the Windows 10 system, make sure that it is Apple-approved. If it isn’t, swap it out for either an original data cable from Apple or switch to one manufactured by an Apple-approved manufacturer. 

You should also try changing the USB port that you’re using to connect the iPhone to the system. Connect it directly to the Windows 10 system instead of using a USB hub or similar middle-ware. 

4. Install iTunes

Generally speaking, iTunes is not needed to browse the photos on an iPhone however, when all else fails, installing iTunes is worth trying.

  1. Download iTunes from the Microsoft Store.
  2. Unlock the iPhone and connect it to the system.
  3. Wait for iTunes to detect the device.
  4. Open File Explorer and browse the photos on the iPhone.

5. Reinstall Apple Mobile Device USB driver

In order to access files on an iPhone, Windows 10 installs the Apple Mobile Device USB driver. The drivers are installed automatically and sometimes, the installation doesn’t always work. It’s best to uninstall and reinstall the driver to fix problems with it.

  1. Make sure the iPhone is connected to the Windows 10 system.
  2. Open Device Manager.
  3. Expand Universal Serial Bus devices.
  4. Select Apple Mobile Device USB driver and right-click it.
  5. Select Uninstall from the context menu.
  6. Disconnect the iPhone from the system.
  7. Connect the iPhone again and allow the driver for it to be installed.
  8. Disconnect the phone after drivers have been installed.
  9. Unlock the phone and keep the screen awake.
  10. Connect the phone to the Windows 10 system and accept the prompt on the iPhone.
  11. Open File Explorer on Windows 10 and browse the photos on the iPhone.


Browsing iPhone photos on Windows 10 does not require any special app to be installed nor any special permissions to be set up. It is, surprisingly, one of the easiest things to do even though Windows 10 sits miles outside the Apple ecosystem. Problems with browsing iPhone photos normally come down to the iPhone being locked when it was connected. Windows 10 cannot proactively detect the device has been unlocked and often fails to show files in it for this very reason.

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