Sharing and Saving Images and Videos on your iPhone, iPod and iPad


They say the best camera is the one you have with you, so unless you were motivated to carry a nice camera out the door, your mobile device is likely the one you're shooting with. You can’t beat the convenience of taking snapshots and shooting videos with the gadget that you carry around at all times, but what do you do with the images and video once it’s been shot? In this article we’ll examine different ways that you can share it, and we’ll show you ways that you can manage the large library of files that accumulate on your little device.

Share Your Content on the TV

One of the best ways to enjoy the photos and videos on your gadget is to simply view them on the built-in screen. You and the person beside you can comfortably view the media and have a conversation about it, but what do you do when you want to share your mobile media with a group of people? Instead of slowly passing your precious gadget around to each person, why not show them all at once?

As recently as 20 years ago, people would share snapshots on slide projectors, and screen their home movies on the living room TV (and long ago they would use film projectors). However, these practices have ended up, unfairly, with a bad rap. The offer to view vacation pictures and home movies would often be met with rolling eyeballs. However, in this age of social media, the negative connotations associated with sharing media have been completely shed. Sharing photos and videos with a group of people and accompanying them with colorful commentary is a fantastic way to bring together family and friends.

A great way to easily share the photos and videos on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch is with an Apple TV. When it’s connected to a television and the Internet (through Ethernet or a Wi-Fi network), you can transmit photos and video to the TV wirelessly using the AirPlay feature found on Apple gadgets. Using AirPlay is painless. When viewing a photo or a video on your device, you simply tap the AirPlay icon (which looks like a rectangle with a solid triangle at its base). After pressing the icon, the photo or video will appear on the TV.

You can even stream music wirelessly from the iTunes library in your Apple gadget to the Apple TV, with AirPlay. There are also a number of powered-speaker devices that are AirPlay compatible, such as the Altec Lansing inAir 5000 and Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air. Think of them as dock-less speaker docks. You can play music from your gadget through their excellent-sounding speakers, without having to let go of your device.

If you don’t want to go the Apple TV route, you can pipe the audio and video from your Apple device into your home entertainment system with an up-to-date A/V receiver. Models like the Harman Kardon AVR-2600 have useful features such as four HDMI inputs and the option to add a Bridge III Docking Station, which makes it possible to share HD video from your iPhone or iPod touch with your TV, and listen to music through your home entertainment speakers as well allowing you to control your gadget with the receiver’s remote. There are similar smart A/V receiver systems available from Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Samsung, Sony and Yamaha.

Another way to enjoy content on your iPod or iPhone through a TV is with the Panasonic Viera 32" X30 Series LCD HDTV. It includes an iPod / iPhone dock that enables you to control the playback of the connected Apple device with the TV’s remote. This Viera is also DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and Wi-Fi ready, so you can enjoy Web content directly from Netflix, Pandora, Facebook and Amazon with the press of a button.

Share Your Content with a Projector

One nice thing about using projectors is that they provide a large viewing area, yet take up a lot less physical space than a TV. The beauty of an iPhone or a pocket-sized media player is that you can take them anywhere, and there are projectors available that share this virtue, like the MiLi Pico Projector II. It features a built-in rechargeable battery, built-in speakers, and it folds up to the size of a mobile phone for travel. When unfolded, it features a 30-pin dock connector for an iPhone or iPod, and it can accommodate an iPad, too. VGA and composite audio and video inputs are also available to connect other kinds of devices. This projector has a 2.5 hour battery life and can project an image up to 70" in size.

If you need a little more firepower, one option worth checking out is the Optoma Neo-i DV20A. It’s a compact projector with an integrated iPhone/iPod dock and built-in 16-watt stereo speakers. It’s capable of projecting widescreen images up to 120" in size. The optional BB-PK33LPRB battery pack makes it possible to use the Neo-i outdoors, or anywhere AC power isn’t available. The separately available BC-PKAIDUS Connection Kit enables you to connect an iPad to the Neo-i as well.

Manage the Content on Your Device

The smartphone or media player in your pocket often ends up filled with images, many of which you probably want to keep. While it’s nice to have this little electronic photo album in your pocket to reminisce, it can also be a little unsettling that these photos aren’t easy to manage outside of the device.

You can always email each image to yourself, but this is very time consuming. Doing so can take a large bite out of the data plan on a mobile phone, and it adds another layer required for organization. Once you receive the email with the attached photo, you then have to open the attachment and save it to your media library/hard drive.

Content-management programs like iTunes are great for syncing devices and managing your music libraries, but they’re not very useful for managing the pictures and videos that you shoot. iTunes makes a backup copy of all of the images and video that you shoot when you sync, but it doesn’t facilitate managing these libraries outside of the mobile device. A better approach is to offload your images and videos to folders that you control, and this is easily accomplished without using iTunes.

How to Transfer Files to a Macintosh Computer

1) Slide to unlock your iDevice. Once it’s open, you may want to go into Settings > General > Auto-Lock on the device and change this setting to Never. Once you’re finished transferring your photos, you should go back and change this setting back to where it was before.

2) Connect to your Mac with the 30-pin dock connector cable.

3) Instead of syncing your device, just open the Preview application on your Mac.

4) From the Preview menu choose File > Import from iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch).

At this point a window will open up showing every photo and video in your library. You can choose to import all of them into your computer, or you can select files one by one. Be mindful that if you delete any photos from this window, you are also deleting them from your gadget.

How to Transfer Files to a Windows Computer

1) Slide to unlock your iDevice. Once it’s open, you may want to go into Settings > General > Auto-Lock on the device and change this setting to Never. Once you’re finished transferring your photos, you should go back and change this setting back to where it was before.

2) Connect to your Apple device to your PC with the 30-pin dock connector cable.

3) In Vista and Windows 7 you may see an Autoplay window, if this is the case click Import pictures and videos.

4) If you don’t see the Autoplay window, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Scanner and Camera Wizard.

5) A window will appear with devices that you can select, click on the Apple iPhone (or iPod, etc.).

6) Click Next in the Scanner and Camera Wizard.

7) From here you will be able to manage the media in your device. Deleting files here will also delete them from your device.

Windows Troubleshooting Tips:

  • If the following procedure doesn’t work, try unplugging your device and plugging it back in again.
  • Try opening the Camera app on your iDevice when connected (this helps the computer recognize it in some cases).
  • When connected to the computer, click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Scanner and Camera Wizard, under devices select iPhone (or iPod, etc.), click Advanced Users Only; in the next window you can copy and paste your media files into the folder of your choice.
  • If you’re using Windows 7, click Start > Computer, look in the Portable Devices area and locate the iPhone (or iPod, etc.) icon, right-click on the icon and choose Import pictures and videos from the menu.

Thanks for checking out this B&H InDepth article. If you have any questions or commentary about sharing and saving the photo and video files from your mobile device, we encourage you to submit a Comment below.