How to backup iPhone Video to a PC

I recently purchased an iPhone 3GS and have found the video feature with YouTube uploading very useful. In fact, it has changed the way I think about “home movies” having to be long, painful to watch videos that mostly collect dust. Using the iPhone, I am constantly capturing video clips of precious moments of my daughter growing up. In short, these video clips have become very important to me.

Today I sat down to take a backup of these videos and could not figure out where iTunes was storing them. I had wrongly assumed that iTunes had been synchronizing photos and videos with my Windows 7 PC automagically.

After searching around in the iTunes help (not very helpful), I found a page on the iTunes camera sharing how-to website which states:

For PC: Follow the instructions that came with your camera or photo application

This would imply that I would need a third party application to download the iphone videos and pictures. So, playing along, I spent a few minutes searching the ‘nets and turned up a bunch of slimy looking crippleware applications which would do the trick. However, they wanted $30 for a full version in order to backup more than 20 files.  FAIL.

I then had an idea to just check Windows Explorer to see if the files were available there. Sure enough, you can simply copy (and/or cleanup) photos and videos directly from the iPhone (or iPod) using Windows explorer.

I thought I would blog about this because I was a little disappointed that Apple didn’t just say that to begin with. Hopefully, I stop some other unsuspecting iPhone user from purchasing an application just to copy files for them.

3 thoughts on “How to backup iPhone Video to a PC”

  1. I didn’t know this was an issue, but maybe I’m missing something. I’ve always seen two options when I connect my iPhone to a Windows machine.

    First, the scanner and camera wizard always pops up. Windows treats the iPhone like any other camera and you can copy the photos and videos that way.

    Second, when your iPhone shows up in iTunes, if you click it, there’s a Photos tab that includes the option of specifying the folder to use when syncing your photos and videos.

  2. I always disable the Scanner and Camera wizard without thinking about it. So I no longer get that option. That’s what I get for being a “Power” user.

    The photos tab in iTunes, AFAIK, only synchronizes the photos you place in the ‘My Pictures’ folder (from the Windows side). I searched my harddrive for any picture or video taken on the iPhone and they were not being copied into the My Pictures folder (or any other folder). Does your iTunes install do that?

    My main complaint was that Apple’s website doesn’t simply say something like “use Windows camera and scanning wizard or Windows explorer to copy the photos and videos”.

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