So, you want to send those pictures and videos from your iPhone to your Chrombook. Or Chromebook to your iPhone.
No matter which way you’re doing it, it boils down to two different techniques:
- Using a cloud provider service (wireless)
- Using a USB cable (wired)
Depending on what you’re familiar with, what you’re transferring (is it sensitive data?), or if you trust the cloud, the process will vary.
Let’s learn about each of the different ways you can sync your iPhone to your Chromebook and get connected to send and receive your files.
It’s easy. I promise!
I apologize if this guide is wordy or seems to repeat itself. It’s written in a way so that people can jump to different sections and get what they need without reading the entire page.
(Post a comment at the end of this guide if you’re still confused.)
How to connect your iPhone to Chromebook using USB
Connecting to your iPhone using USB is as simple as plug and play.
There’s no driver, software, or apps you need to install. Similar to how it works on PC, connect your iPhone to your Chromebook using a lightning to USB cable.
This is the old-school way to sync your phone to your Chromebook. And it works.
- First, get a compatible lightning to USB cable. Connect your phone to your computer.
- Look at your iPhone. Unlock it. Wait for the notification on your iPhone to show up warning you if you want to give your Chromebook access to your phone.
- Let your phone allow access.
- Click on the button at the bottom-left corner of your Chromebook’s screen (Launcher).
- Search for the Files app. Click on it.
- Look on the left menu pane for “Apple iPhone”
- Click on it. You should be able to see all your pictures, videos, and all other supported media formats directly on your Chromebook.
- You can download them, edit them, or send them to your friends through Facebook, email, Twitter, Instagram, or whatever social platforms you use.
PS: The native image editor is mediocre. If you want to add special effects, filters, crop, adjust levels, or brightness, use a professional image editor. There are plenty of photo editors for Chromebooks.
That’s it! Transferring images between your iPhone and your Chromebook is easy! Didn’t I tell you that?
If you’ve ever done this on a Mac or Windows PC, the process is exactly the same. Your media should be under Apple iPhone > DCIM > Photos.
How to transfer photos from iPhone to Chromebook without USB
Don’t want to use a USB cord to sync your Chromebook to your iPhone? You can also do it wirelessly.
Wireless is in. Wired is out. That’s what the cool kids are doing these days.
There are many out there, but make sure it has:
- Full encryption
- Doesn’t store your data on their servers without your consent
- Trusted, reputable platform
Thankfully, Google provides you with free storage space on their platform which can use with your Chromebook.
The last thing you want is to get phished or your pics are stolen.
These services are good for quick transfers of non-sensitive images or videos, but you should NEVER trust them with your sensitive data. Always use a direct connection for those purposes or a trusted cloud provider (iCloud or Drive, we’ll cover next) if you want to transfer wirelessly.
For quick transfers of non-sensitive pictures/videos, check out these services:
- Snapdrop.net (requires no signups or software downloads)
- Sharedrop (FOSS)
- Bitwarden Send (requires software installation)
Use a cloud provider
Whether you like it or not, cloud services are the future (well, at least the near future).
Everything is going to the web- cloud gaming, cloud productivity, and cloud storage.
The pro is that you can reliably access your pics/videos from anywhere across all your compatible devices.
But even then, some people simply don’t trust big data with their sensitive photos or don’t know how to use the cloud.
The two big ones are Apple’s iCloud and Google Drive. Both offer free storage that you can use to store almost anything- not just pictures.
If you have a Chromebook, perhaps storing your iPhone images on Drive will be easier to access with your computer.
Chrome OS is well integrated with Drive, so it makes downloading or viewing your pictures a lot easier. Doing it without USB online over the Internet is easy.
Here’s how to do it wirelessly without USB:
- Upload your pictures to Google Drive on your iPhone (the app makes this easier)
- Sign in to your Chromebook using the same Google account you used for the uploads
- Launch the Files app on your Chromebook
- Click on “Drive” in the left-hand menu pane
- You’ll find your media there. You can download, edit, delete, backup, or view them directly through this interface.
- If you prefer iCloud, you can download the app through the Play Store to use it on your Chromebook. Or you can view your media through the web.
- Syncing your photos to your Chromebook is much easier using the Google solution. It’s available on iOS, so you can easily upload your images to Drive then view them on your computer.
The same can’t be said for Apple. This is the easiest solution by far.
It’s free, fast, secure, and can store thousands of full-quality photos without you having to pay for storage. Most Chromebooks have 16GB of storage, so you can’t really back up much to your local disk.
You’ll have to get more storage space with external drives or just keep them online.
Or you can split your pictures between different cloud services utilizing the free tier on each one.
Some popular choices include Dropbox, OneDrive, Amazon Photos, etc. Google Photos is the easiest and simplest way to do it wirelessly.
That’s all there is to it.
Whether you wanna sync your photos wirelessly or go old-school with USB, Chromebooks offer both solutions.
If you’ve made Chrome OS your daily driver (such is the case with the younger generation), being able to quickly see your photos is convenient. If you’re using your Chromebook to make a backup archive of all your photos and videos, it’ll take up a good chunk of your SSD.
Since most Chromebooks only have between 16-64GB, you may opt to upgrade your local storage by purchasing external media (SD cards, USB flash drives, external drives, etc.).
Or if you like using online services, you can upgrade your space for a few bucks.
Okay, so now that you’re synched, here’s how to transfer data both ways.
How do I transfer files from my Chromebook to my iPhone?
Transferring your files from your Chromebook to your iPhone is done one of two ways.
Use a cloud provider to wirelessly transfer files from one to another seamlessly:
- Transfer files using a wired USB cable
- Using a cloud service
For non-sensitive data, using a cloud service is the easiest choice. It’s free, wireless, and doesn’t require you to mess around with cables.
You already know what to do:
- Sign in to your cloud provider account on both your Chromebook and your iPhone. You can use whatever provider you like, but Google Drive will play nice with your iPhone and your Chromebook.
- Get the Drive app for iPhone so you can quickly transfer, receive, or download your files. Or you can access it through the web, but it’s clumsy.
- Launch the Files app on your Chromebook. This is where the magic happens. The left-hand side has the list of folders that your computer is connected to.
- Find the file you want to send to your Chromebook wirelessly. For example, if you downloaded a cat picture online, it’ll show up in your “Downloads” folder by default.
- To send files to your iPhone, drag and drop them into the “Google Drive” folder in the Files app on your Chromebook. They’ll upload to your Drive, where you can view, edit, or access it. Using our cat pic example, drag the cat picture into the Google Drive folder using your Chromebook’s touchpad or external mouse.
If you’re using Google Drive online in the browser, you can do the following:
- Sign in to your Google Account
- Go to drive.google.com
- Click on “New” in the top-left corner on the Drive homepage
- Select “File upload” if you’re transferring a single picture, video, or other files from your Chromebook
- You can also upload entire folders from your laptop if you choose “New folder”
- Select the file or folder on your computer that you want to save online
- Wait for them to upload like a good person
- When they’re done, sign in to the same Google Account on your iPhone.
- Your files will be there ready to go
- The file will be sent to your Google Drive and stored there until you delete them.
- Now, to receive them on your iPhone, do the same thing:
- Launch the Drive app if you have it downloaded, or go to drive.google.com and sign in to the same Google account you saved the file on.
- In Drive, you’ll see a list of your files you’ve uploaded sorted by recency. You can also search for file names or types. It’s quite handy. You can even search body paragraph text within Word files or Google Docs.
- Find the file you want and download it on your iPhone. You can now view, edit, or upload it to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This technique makes it simple to transfer anything from your Chromebook to iOS. Snapshots you took while using your laptop? Transfer them in a jiffy.
There. Wasn’t that easy? I told ya it is!
You can go through the same steps above with any other provider like iCloud, Dropbox, Drop, etc.
But Chromebooks only sync up with Google Drive natively.
So you’ll have to either download the native app of whatever cloud provider you’re using (get it from the Google Play Store) or do it through the web if you’re not a fan of apps.
How do I upload photos to my Chromebook?
Uploading pictures or videos to your Chromebook from your phone is exactly the opposite process. Again, using something that’s entirely done through the cloud is the easiest. The cloud is your friend.
Other than sensitive data, I would recommend using Drive for everything else.
To transfer from your iPhone to your Chromebook wirelessly, just do the following steps:
- On your iPhone, upload the files that you want to transfer to Drive (or whatever other provider you use)
- On your Chromebook, launch the Files app
- Find Drive on the left side and click it to show a list of your files saved in the cloud
- Find the file you want and download it or view it
- If you’re using Google Drive, your Chromebook will sync up with it if you have permissions allowed and signed into the same account.
- For other providers, use their respective apps from the App Store to easily upload your pics, vids, etc.
- Then find the same app on the Play Store on your Chromebook. Install it. Then you should be able to seamlessly transfer files without wires between devices.
It depends on how compatible the software is since you’re using different devices running different operating systems.
But if it doesn’t work out using their app, then just use their website to transfer. This should work.
OK. We’re done. Now onto using the old school USB cable.
For sensitive information that you just can’t afford to store online, using the traditional USB method is the solution (though, you should be encrypting this info before you even consider transferring it if it’s mission-critical).
- Get your USB to lightning cable.
- Plug both ends in and connect your iPhone to your Chromebook.
- Unlock your iPhone. Allow your Chromebook to access it on the warning notification.
- Find and open the Files app on your Chromebook.
- Look for “Apple iPhone” in the list of folders/devices on the left pane.
- Locate the file you want to transfer from your Chromebook.
From this point, you can manipulate the images as you wish:
- Drag and drop them into the iPhone folder
- Cut then paste them- click on the file to select it, then hit “CTRL + X” on the file, then click into the iPhone folder, then hit “CTRL + V”
- Create a copy of the file on both devices “CTRL + C” on the file, then click into the iPhone folder, then hit “CTRL + V”
- When you’re done, eject the iPhone.
That’s it. You’re done. To transfer files from your iPhone to your Chromebook, do the opposite:
- Launch the Files app on your Chromebook.
- Find the iPhone folder, allow access on your iOS device if necessary.
- Click into the iPhone folder on your Chromebook.
Find the files you want to send to your computer. Copy them, cut them, or drag and drop them to any folder on your computer.
Note that you can’t transfer everything. iOS only lets you select pictures or videos from your Photos app to send to another device. Some third-party apps have their own rules.
Where is the import button on my Chromebook?
Chromebooks don’t have an Import button. To import files and other media from your iPhone, you’ll need to either connect them together using USB or use a cloud provider.
Can I text from my Chromebook if i have an iPhone connected to it?
Unfortunately, Chromebooks don’t support texting (SMS) with iPhones.
There’s no way to use iMessage on Chrome OS through iOS. This also means you can’t audio or video call. However, you can use FaceTime with other people through the web.
If you have an Android based phone, you can easily sync it with your Chromebook. From there, you can send or receive SMS text messages directly on your computer- all day every day.
For third-party apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, or Snapchat, you can download it from the Play Store on your Chromebook then sign in to your account.
Whatever you do on your Chromebook will link to your iPhone since the data is stored on their servers.
Connect iPhone to Chromebook bluetooth
Pairing your iPhone with your Chromebook is just like pairing it with any other device.
BUT. The iPhone works very poorly with ChromeOS. They don’t play well.
Common issues include your Chromebook connecting to your iPhone only for a few seconds then dropping off. Or connecting intermittently. Some people say it USED to work, but recent updates broke it.
- Turn on Bluetooth on your iPhone.
- Log in to your Chromebook as the primary user if you haven’t yet. Using the wrong user account will make it fail. Switch users if needed.
- Click on your account picture at the bottom right of your screen.
- Click on Bluetooth and turn it on.
- Look in the list of devices for “Apple iPhone”
- Click on it to sync it.
That’s it. You’ve successfully connected your iPhone using Bluetooth. But what can you do now that you’re synched up?
Using your iPhone with your Chromebook is limited in terms of what you can do.
Not much. You can’t transfer pictures, videos, or other files using Bluetooth. For LTE Chromebooks, you can utilize your iPhone’s network to get connected online.
Chromebooks used to be able to support using your iPhone as a hotspot to power your Chromebook with WiFi, but that’s now not possible. Most people won’t be able to pair their iPhone with their Chromebook easily as the two devices don’t interact.
But even if you can, it doesn’t really do much.
You can’t “use” your iPhone from your Chromebook as easily compared to Android. So that’s just the limitations of using different operating systems.
Is iPhone compatible with Chromebook?
This is a mixed bag. the iPhone is compatible with Chromebooks in a limited fashion. What you can do is pretty basic since iOS and ChromeOS are different animals.
What you can do with an iPhone sync to your Chromebook:
- Transfer photos (.JPG, .PNG, etc.)
- Transfer videos (.MPEG4, H264, DIVX, etc.)
- Transfer documents, spreadsheets, slideshows
- While you can transfer, note that Chrome OS can’t properly render a lot of the file types.
- View live photos on your Chromebook
- View Pages, Numbers, or Keynote files
Because of the Chrome OS supported filetypes, some won’t work on your computer.
If you’re just looking to save or edit a few pics from your iPhone, then you should be OK. But for more extensive work, this may not work for you.
Can you restore iPhone on Chromebook?
Chromebooks can’ be used to back up iPhones, so there’s no way to restore your phone on your Chromebook.
There’s no iTunes that works with ChromeOS, thus, making backups of your phone isn’t possible.
If your iPhone was lost and now you’re trying to transfer the data to your new phone or you want to factory reset it, you’ll need to use a Mac or Windows PC to do it.
However, you may be able to completely wipe your iPhone using FindMy through iCloud directly on your Chromebook.
- Sign in to Apple iCloud.
- Click on FindMy app.
- Erase your iPhone.
This should only be used if your phone is stolen, lost, or bricked and you want to erase everything on it. You need to have FindMy enabled on your phone for it to work.
But it’s the ONLY way to do any kind of “restoring” of iOS devices using ChromeOS.
You can’t restore it using USB, Bluetooth, etc. This is the (only) way to restore, wipe, or lock your phone through your Chromebook.
Did you sync up your iPhone to your Chromebook?
For millennials and Gen Z, you probably already know how to connect your devices in your sleep.
But for everyone else who could use a little help, that’s the target audience of why I wrote this guide.
While connectivity features between iPhones and ChromeOS is limited, you can definitely still link them up for basic file transfers.
But if you want max compatibility (such as texting from your Chromebook), using a Google platform is ideal (Android). The majority of people own iPhones as it’s the dominant OS in the mobile industry.
So it makes sense that quite a few of them will be looking to use them with their Chromebooks.
Do you have any questions? Post a comment if you do and I’ll try to get back to you.
If you found this guide somewhat beneficial, please let me know as well. I appreciate all the feedback.