Transfer files between iPhone and Windows PC

Thanks to the built-in AirDrop technology, transferring files between Mac and iOS devices is easy and fast. File transfer between iOS device and Windows PC however could be a daunting task for the novice. In earlier posts, we have introduced several cross-platform file sharing tools that can help us send files between computer and iPhone/iPad, like Send Anywhere, SHAREit, Zapya, etc. In fact we have also found similar file transfer utilities with file managers, like FileMaster, Owlfiles and Documents.

In this article, we will firstly show you how to enable Windows File Sharing on PC and then access the Windows SMB share from iPhone to transfer files, photos, music, videos between iPhone and a Windows PC through Wi-Fi. We will also introduce the most popular third-party file manager app, the Documents, and how it can help us send files from iPhone to PC or vice versa.


Method 1. iPhone to connect Windows SMB and share files

Windows computers natively support file sharing via the SMB protocol. You can configure a Windows file share on Windows computer to allow multiple users or devices to access this share to upload files, upload files, create, modify and delete the shared files, folders within the network.

While SMB is a bit tricky to set up in Windows, it is well worth the time you invest in it. When you need to copy files back and forth between operating systems or devices e.g., Mac and Windows PC, iOS and PC, Android and PC, you’ll find that this wireless local network sharing is the easiest way to move files between them.

Step 1. Configure Windows File Sharing

o share files and folders on a Windows PC with other computers or devices on the same network, open the File Explorer on your Windows PC. Click on Network from the navigation panel on the left hand side. If you are prompted to turn on network discovery, click on the link and follow on-screen tips to enable it. You will also have the option to configure File Sharing on the same place.

turn on network discovery and file sharing from Windows File Explorer

After that, you may be prompted to choose a network profile depending on your current configuration. Usually you should choose No, make the network that I am connected to a private network.

To share a folder in your network, find it in Windows File Explorer, right-click the folder and select the Properties option from the context menu. Switch from General to the Sharing tab. Click Share…, then add the Everyone user/group and grant it the Read/Write permission so you can view, open, modify, and delete the content on the folder you are sharing from iPhone or other network devices. Continue to complete the steps to share the folder.

Step 2. Connect to Windows SMB share

Once the SMB file server has been setup on your Windows computer, you can use Files, the stock file manager app from Apple, or any SMB clients to access it to copy files from PC to iPhone or the other way around. That’s to say, you do not need to download or use any third-party apps to share files between computer and iPhone.

Open Files app on your iPhone or iPad, switch to the Browse tab from the bottom. Tap the Menu button(“…”) to the top-right, then choose Connect to Server.

iphone files app - connect to server

Type in your computer name or SMB server IP, the local IP address of your Windows computer or Mac. Scroll down to the bottom for more tips if you don’t know how to find out the IP address on your Mac or PC. Tap Connect.

iphone files app connect to server - input server ip

Choose Registered User, type in your computer username and its password. Tap Next and follow on-screen tips to access your SMB file server on computer.

iphone files app connect to server with username password

After that you can access the shared folder on your computer using Files app. And you will be able to copy files between your iPhone or other locations and your computer.

Method 2. Transfer files between iPhone and PC using Documents app

Documents is the most capable application on your iOS device. It’s the hub for all your files as it replaces a document viewer, PDF reader, web browser, music and video player, file downloader, cloud integrator and bunch of other applications as the one elegant app.

The file sharing app will establish a local connection in your network, thus you can’t connect them to different Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi Transfer doesn’t rely on your Internet speed because all the files are transferred within your local network. Due to the same reason, the file transfer speed is usually very fast.

Connect both your iPhone and computer to the same Wi-Fi network. Run the Documents app on your iPhone. Tap the My Files tab at the bottom if you’re not already there. Tap the More menu (three dots icon) in the top-right corner, then choose Connect to Computer from the drop-down menu. You will then get the transfer address and code to sign in.

iPhone Documents app to connect to computer
iPhone to connect to computer – Documents app version 8.6.2

Open a web browser on your computer, Edge, IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera or else. Visit, then enter the code you see on your iOS device to connect.

upload, download files between iphone and pc through a web browser using documents app
upload, download files between iphone and pc through web browser

Your iPhone and computer are now connected through your local WiFi network! To download files, photos, music, videos, documents or other files from iPhone to PC, select one or more files or folders in your desktop browser and click Download to get them from the iPhone to your computer.

To upload some documents from PC to your iPhone, click Upload button in your desktop browser or just drag and drop the files into your browser. You can upload photos, music, videos, documents, archives or anything you want. You can drag the files from your computer hard drive and drop them to any specific folder on your iPhone. For example, you can create a music folder, then upload all songs from PC to this music folder on iPhone or iPad.

Batch upload and download are supported. For example, if you want to backup photos from iOS device to computer, you can select all the photos, then hit the Download button to save them to your computer as a zip file. Alternatively you can also select and download a whole folder to your computer.

Don’t close Documents on your iPhone to keep the connection stable. When you’re finished sending files, tap Disconnect on your iPhone and you’re good to go.

Method 3. Connect iPhone to Windows SMB share in Documents app

If you have the Documents app installed on your iPhone, you can follow below instructions to easily connect your iPhone to Windows SMB share.

Open the Documents app on your iPhone, tap on the Plus (+ icon) at the bottom right corner to bring up the menu at the lower section of your phone screen. Choose Add Connection > Windows SMB.

documents app by readdle - add connection on iphone

Then input these information:

  • Title: you can type in something descriptive, such as Joe’s PC, My PC, etc.
  • URL: starts with smb://, followed by the PC name or its local IP address. There are various ways to find the computer name in Windows 11. For example, you can open the Settings app, click System in the left pane and your computer’s name will be displayed on the right.
  • Domain: optional.
  • Login: your computer username.
  • Password: your computer login password.
documents app by readdle to connect windows smb from iphone

Tap on Done button to save the settings. You will then find the shortcut to access your Windows SMB share from the My Files tab in Documents app.

To download files from iPhone to computer, you can import the files to the Documents app first, then select and copy them to the Windows shared folder in the Documents app. To upload files from PC to iPhone, copy those files you like to share to the Windows shared folder first, then use Documents app to access the Windows SMB share and copy them over to the Documents and/or other apps on iPhone.

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