Transfer files from iPhone to PC (Windows, Linux) and vice versa

Sometimes, you might need to transfer files between your iPhone and computer as a part of your workflow. In these situations, you might prefer a file transfer solution that is fast, convenient, over the air, and preferably doesn’t consume Internet bandwidth.

Apple has a solution for this called AirDrop, which works seamlessly between devices within its ecosystem (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.), using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for fast and convenient file transfer. But such a solution isn’t natively available between iPhone and Windows or Linux devices.

Transfer files from iPhone to PC (Windows, Linux) and vice versa over wifi

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In this article, we’ll explore some third-party AirDrop alternatives that let you easily transfer files between iPhone and Windows or Linux PC.

Send files between iPhone and PC (Windows, Linux) without Internet

The below section will allow you to send and receive files between your iPhone and nearby WIndows, Linux PCs

Note: For file transfers between iPhone and Mac, you can use AirDrop to send and receive files natively out of the box.

Here, we’ll be looking at an open-source, peer-to-peer (P2P) solution for transferring files that works over Wi-Fi without consuming Internet bandwidth.

Snapdrop is a WebRTC-based progressive web app with a UI inspired by AirDrop that works seamlessly on any modern (mobile as well as desktop) web browser.

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Follow the steps below to transfer files between your iPhone and Windows / Linux computer:

  1. Ensure both your iPhone and computer are connected to the same network via Wi-Fi or LAN.
    Or,
    If a trusted Wi-Fi network isn’t available, share your iPhone’s cellular data via Personal Hotspot, and join the same on your laptop or PC (ensure your PC has a Wi-Fi card or adapter).
  2. Open Snapdrop in a web browser (Safari, Chrome, or Firefox) on both iPhone and PC.
  3. Once the website is open, the devices should be discoverable to each other. Verify the pseudonym for each device by looking at the bottom of the screen.
  4. To share a file, just tap on the receiver’s avatar from the sender’s device to open up the File Browser. If you’re using iPhone, you can choose to pick a photo or video from the Photos app, or any file from the Files app. You can even record a video or snap a photo to share it. From a PC, you can choose a file from the File Explorer to send to iPhone.
  5. Once the file is selected, the transfer should start immediately. When the transfer is completed, the receiver will get a prompt to save the transferred file. On tapping Save, the file should become immediately available in the device’s Downloads location.

Note: Even though Internet bandwidth is not utilized in file transfer, you’ll still need an active Internet connection on both the participating devices to access Snapdrop.

To transfer multiple files at once, you can hold Ctrl or Shift while you select the files to send from your PC. Similarly, on iOS, to transfer multiple files from the Files app, tap on the three dots from the top-right corner and choose Select.

When selection is completed, tap Open (PC) or Add (iOS) from the top-right corner to send the files. Alternatively, you may compress multiple files and send them as one zipped file.

If the Source or Destination device isn’t discoverable

If, for some reason, the source or the destination device isn’t found in Snapdrop, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  1. Ensure your iPhone and PC are connected to the same network via Wi-Fi/LAN.
  2. If your PC is connected via iPhone’s hotspot, verify that your iPhone has Internet connectivity.
  3. If still not discoverable, refresh the Snapdrop website on both devices and wait for a few seconds.

If all of this doesn’t work, you can try an alternative web app called ShareDrop, which offers similar features. If this too doesn’t work, ShareDrop lets you generate a shareable link that other devices may use to join the network.

To do this, tap on the “+” icon from the top-right corner of the source device to reveal the link, which you can copy and send to the destination device via messaging platforms, or just let them scan the QR code from the source device.

If you want to learn more about Snapdrop, check out the official project repository on GitHub.

Thus, now you can conveniently transfer data between your iPhone and Windows, Linux PC without using Internet bandwidth.

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