Q: I recently purchased an iPhone 4S and used the video camera feature for the first time this last weekend. Is there a way to transfer this lengthy video to the external hard drive of my PC so as to free up memory on my iPhone? Any assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated!

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– Brad

A: You should be able to transfer video files from your iPhone over a USB connection in much the same way as transferring photos. Note that with photos, you can use the iCloud Photo Stream feature, however this does not currently transfer video files, requiring them to be transferred directly over USB.

When connected to your computer via USB, your iPhone should appear as a digital camera, much like most point and shoot cameras. From here, you can transfer your video files using any photo/video management or transfer application that supports the standard Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP).

If you normally use a passcode to secure your iPhone, you must unlock it prior to connecting it to your computer. For obvious security reasons, photo transfers are blocked when your device is locked with a passcode.

Windows includes a built-in photo import utility that should come up automatically when you first connect your iPhone to your computer, providing you with a choice between importing your pictures and videos automatically or opening Windows Explorer to browse the photo and video content on your device directly.

 

Choosing the “Import pictures and videos” option will start a camera transfer wizard that will automatically copy all of the photos and videos on your device back to a folder on your computer. The “Open device to view files option” will simply show you what is already on your device, providing you with the option to manually copy your photos and videos individually.

 


For Mac users, photos can be transferred using the Image Capture utility included in OS X or via other applications such as iPhoto or Aperture.

 

Some of these tools will provide you with the option to remove photos and videos after transferring them to your computer, while in other cases you may simply need to do this manually from the iOS Photos app once you’ve confirmed that the videos are safely on your PC.

Note that you can also e-mail video files directly from the iPhone or upload them to YouTube, however this will result in conversion of the video file with a potential loss of quality. When transferring videos to your computer over USB the actual original files are copied directly to your computer without any conversion of modification.

Many third-party iOS applications also provide the ability to upload photos and videos directly to your computer or other online services wirelessly. However, these vary in terms of whether photos and videos are copied directly in their original quality or converted during upload.

 

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