Microsoft Releases 'Photos Companion' iOS App for Quickly Transferring Photos to PC

Microsoft today released Photos Companion, an iOS app specially made for Windows 10 users to let them transfer photos from their Apple devices to PCs more easily. First circulated among beta testers in November, Photos Companion links with Windows 10's built-in photos app by way of a QR code, after which multiple photos can be sent over the same Wi-Fi network.

Microsoft hopes the app – the result of a Microsoft Garage project – will appeal primarily to students who don't back up their photos to a cloud service such as the company's own OneDrive, but need a convenient way to get content from their smartphones to Windows machines in an education setting.

We began developing a simple, experimental app for iOS and Android to see if we could unblock educators and help them begin using the Photos app in their classrooms. We knew that students often captured on multiple phones or tablets, but leveraged a single "project" PC to assemble their media and create their final project. We also knew that Wi-Fi access in the classroom was great between devices, but that any solution that required the cloud for transfer could be blocked by overloaded networks.

Our solution was to build an app that would support direct wireless transfer between any phone or mobile device and the Photos app on any Windows 10 PC. This would enable students to transfer media to their own computers … or to a shared, project PC … without worrying about network speeds or mobile data charges.
The app is part of Microsoft's wider mobile strategy to improve its iOS offerings, now that Windows 10 Mobile hardware is no longer a focus for the company. Microsoft officially ended support for Windows Phone back in July, and is no longer developing new features or hardware for Windows 10 Mobile.

Photos Companion is a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]



Top Rated Comments

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8 months ago

I am helping a senior citizen move from a Windows 10 laptop to an iPad Pro because the laptop is too heavy and his android phone is a nightmare.
I was wondering what was the best way to transfer photos either way. I thought of using Dropbox cloud app but they will already have a 200GB iCloud account for backups. Didn't want to install iTunes bloat just for photos. Now this appears, might be the best solution without having to install iTunes.


There is an iOS Dropbox app. You could shovel the images into Dropbox on the PC, retrieve them from Dropbox on the iPad, and import them into Photos.
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Living in hope that one day there will be an easy way to transfer photos out of multiple iCloud accounts onto my Mac Mini.

My Mini is my main photo store. Getting pictures from both my wife and my phones (different iCloud accounts) onto it is just painstaking and horrid.


If you and your wife both have accounts on the Mini, and are both signed into your iCloud accounts on that Mini, and are both logged into the Mini, then your iCloud photos should automatically sync to the Mini in your separate user directories.

What you do from there depends upon what you want: if you want a single, merged collection in one instance of Photos, a little bit of command-line hackery will get you there:

mkdir ~/Downloads/wife_photos
sudo rsync -avH --progress ~wifes_account_name/Pictures/Photos\ Library.photoslibrary/Masters/* \
~/Downloads/wife_photos/

Now you can open your instance of Photos and slurp in everything that's new since the last time you did it. It's not automatic and ideal, but it should get the job done (though you will not have any metadata other than the EXIF data in the images themselves). This method will also preserve the dates on the images.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

Apple needs to make it easy to move your photos *in their albums* to you computer. Sometimes you want to see them not on a tiny screen.

Apple already has a perfectly good and free solution in My Photo Stream (not the premium iCloud Photo Library service). Just take a photo on your iPhone and it's there on your PC within a couple second. I believe you need to install iCloud plugin on your PC to get this to work on Windows. With a Mac, it's an automatic process if you use the same iCloud account on both devices.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

I am helping a senior citizen move from a Windows 10 laptop to an iPad Pro because the laptop is too heavy and his android phone is a nightmare.
I was wondering what was the best way to transfer photos either way. I thought of using Dropbox cloud app but they will already have a 200GB iCloud account for backups. Didn't want to install iTunes bloat just for photos. Now this appears, might be the best solution without having to install iTunes.


Another option is PhotoSync. I've used it across Windows, iOS, and Android.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

Why has this never been an easy process? And no - Image Capture is not streamlined for photo transfer from iPhone.


WTF are you on about? This article is about iPhone to Windows which is a pain. This is NOT about iPhone to macOS.

Photos and Image Capture are excellent and DO streamline photo transfer. Again, I have no clue wtf you're referring to. Also, Air Drop is a marvel as well.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
Apple needs to make it easy to move your photos *in their albums* to you computer. Sometimes you want to see them not on a tiny screen.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
Why has this never been an easy process? And no - Image Capture is not streamlined for photo transfer from iPhone.

Edit - I see this is about Windows. But Apple
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago
Living in hope that one day there will be an easy way to transfer photos out of multiple iCloud accounts onto my Mac Mini.

My Mini is my main photo store. Getting pictures from both my wife and my phones (different iCloud accounts) onto it is just painstaking and horrid.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

Perfectly good? No, no it's not.

I got sick of having to engage senior level support, including handing them my login info for them to test in their lab, to get iCloud for Windows to work.

I broke down and bought a Mac Mini just to ensure seamless backup of my photos and videos.


Senior level support? All you have to do is use Google Photos, OneDrive, or DropBox and they'll upload your photos up into the cloud for backup. Or transfer all of your photos from your phone to your computer, then use something like CrashPlan to backup your entire computer. Definitely didn't require getting a Mac Mini.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

Apple already has a perfectly good and free solution in My Photo Stream (not the premium iCloud Photo Library service). Just take a photo on your iPhone and it's there on your PC within a couple second. I believe you need to install iCloud plugin on your PC to get this to work on Windows. With a Mac, it's an automatic process if you use the same iCloud account on both devices.

I’m actually surprised at how well iCloud Photo Library works on Windows. And it has an upload folder so you can move photos from Windows to your Apple devices.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
8 months ago

Apple already has a perfectly good and free solution in My Photo Stream (not the premium iCloud Photo Library service). Just take a photo on your iPhone and it's there on your PC within a couple second. I believe you need to install iCloud plugin on your PC to get this to work on Windows. With a Mac, it's an automatic process if you use the same iCloud account on both devices.


Perfectly good? No, no it's not.

I got sick of having to engage senior level support, including handing them my login info for them to test in their lab, to get iCloud for Windows to work.

I broke down and bought a Mac Mini just to ensure seamless backup of my photos and videos.
Rating: 1 Votes
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