How to Copy an Image or Video from Files to Photos on iPhone or iPad

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If you’ve downloaded images or videos to your Files app on your iPhone or iPad, you might be wondering if you can copy them to your Photos library. The answer is yes, and we’ll show you how to do it.

First, open the Files app and navigate to the folder that contains the media files that you’d like to move to Photos. In our example, we’re using the Downloads folder, but the files could just as easily be copied from other folders in Files, such as Dropbox or your iCloud Drive.

The Downloads Folder in Files on the iPhone.

Once you locate the media file or files, you have a couple of different options.

If it’s a single photo or video, tap on it to open up its detailed view.

If you want to select multiple files on an iPhone, tap the ellipsis button (three dots in a circle) in the upper-right corner of the screen and choose “Select.” (On an iPad, just tap “Select.”) Then, place check marks on the items you want to copy to Photos.

Select the files or videos you'd like to copy to Photos.

Either way, once you have a single item opened or multiple items selected, tap the “Share” button, which looks like a rounded rectangle with an arrow pointing upward out of it. On the iPad, it’s in the upper-right corner of the screen. On the iPhone, it’s located in the lower-left corner.

Tap the "share" button.

On the Share list that pops up, tap “Save Image” or “Save Video.” If you selected multiple items, tap “Save X Items,” where X is the number of items you’ve selected.

Tap "Save Image" in the share sheet.

The next time you open your Photos app, you’ll see the images or videos you saved from Files in your “Recents” album.

Note: To be able to save a video to the Photos app, it must be in an exact video format that Photos understands. Apple isn’t clear about which video formats Photos will play exactly, so you may be limited to copying videos created on Apple devices.

By the way, this process goes both ways. If you want to copy photos or images from Photos to Files, select them in the Photos app, tap Share, then select “Save to Files.” You can use this method to copy media to your iCloud Drive or Dropbox as well. Happy copying!

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