Can’t browse iPhone photos in Windows 10? Here’s the fix

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • iPhone users often experience issues when they try to browse photos in Windows 10.
  • This can be caused by a variety of reasons, either because of the phone or the PC.
  • Bookmark our Troubleshooting Tech Issues Hub for more useful tricks.
  • Mac users might also like to check out our dedicated Mac section as well.

File Explorer usually displays connected iPhones under Devices and Drives. Then users can select their iPhones in FE to browse through their cameras’ photos and videos.

However, some users have stated on forums that their iPhones don’t appear in File Explorer. Consequently, those users can’t browse through their mobiles’ photos and videos within Explorer.

These are some of the resolutions that might fix iPhones that don’t show up in Explorer.

What can I do if I can’t browse iPhone photos in Windows 10?

1. Reinstall the Apple Mobile Device Driver

  1. Plug the mobile into the desktop or laptop.
  2. Right-click the Start button and select Device Manager.
  3. Double-click the Universal Serial Bus controllers category shown directly below.
  4. Double-click Apple Mobile Device USB Driver to open its properties window.
  5. Select the Driver tab.
  6. Then press the Uninstall Device button.
  7. Press the Uninstall button on the confirmation dialog box that opens.
  8. Then unplug the iPhone from PC.
  9. Connect the iPhone with PC again to reinstall the driver.

Some users might need to reinstall the Apple Mobile Device driver to ensure their iPhones show up in File Explorer.

2. Update the Apple Mobile Device Driver


Connected iPhones might not appear in File Explorer if the Apple Mobile Device driver needs updating.

To check if the Apple Mobile Device driver is outdated, first add DriverFix to Windows 10.

DriverFix automatically update drivers

Then connect the iPhone with the PC, and launch DriverFix. The software will automatically scan and provide a list of device drivers that need updating.

Press the Update All button if the software’s scan results include Apple Mobile Device USB.



All devices connected to your PC will have their drivers updated immediately if you have DriverFix!
Free trial Visit website

3. Download Bridge on your PC and set the downloader to open automatically

download Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge software is a powerful media manager that you may have used before. However, has it occurred to you that the quickest solution to your issue resides in downloading it into your computer?

Well, Bridge is mostly known for its flexible batch processing features, drag-and-drop file flexibility, and quick organization and stacking of panoramic and HDR images.

Installing it is a job of mere seconds, so there’s nothing stopping you. Then, set it so the downloader opens automatically when you plug in your iPhone.

Has importing your photos from iPhone to PC worked this time?

Download Adobe Bridge free here

4. Select the Trust option

First, note that users need to select a Trust option that appears on their iPhones when they connect mobiles with PCs. That will give the connected desktop or laptop full access to the iPhone.

So, users need to make sure they’ve selected Trust when they first connect mobile with PC. Resetting an iPhone’s settings will ensure the Trust prompt appears when the mobile is connected.

5. Connect the iPhone to PC with a lightning cable

The iPhone might not show up in File Explorer for users connecting the mobiles with unofficial USB cables.

So, connect the iPhone with an Apple Lightning cable that comes with it. The Lightning cable should also enable data transfer.

In addition, try connecting the cable with an alternative USB slot on the desktop or laptop. It might be the case that the USB port isn’t working.

6. Add some photos to the iPhone

Note that a connected iPhone doesn’t show up in Explorer if there aren’t any photos saved on it.

Some users have stated that their iPhones showed up in File Explorer after they added photos to their mobiles.

Check if there are pictures saved on your mobile. If not, take a few snapshots with the phone’s camera and save them.

7. Install Windows Media Pack on KN and N Platforms

Some users have stated that installing Windows Media Player on Win 10 platforms which don’t include that media player can fix the issue.

Users can install WMP on Windows 10 KN and N by opening a Windows Media Pack link from this page.

Open a Win 10 build version page to download it from, and then run the Windows Media Pack installer to install its software.

8. Reinstall iTunes

  1. Open the Run accessory with the Windows key + R hotkey.
  2. Input appwiz.cpl in Run and click OK to open the window shown directly below.
  3. Select iTunes and click Uninstall.
  4. Click Yes to provide further confirmation for the software removal.
  5. In addition, users will also need to uninstall Bonjour, Apple Mobile Device Support, Apple Software Update, and Apple Application Support via the Programs and Features Control Panel applet much the same.
  6. Restart Windows after uninstalling the Apple software.
  7. Press the Get button on the iTunes UWP app page.

Reinstalling iTunes is another resolution that can potentially fix an iPhone that doesn’t show up in File Explorer.

That will at least ensure that iTunes and its related programs are the latest versions. .

 Wondering why isn’t your computer authorized on iTunes? Let us help you out.

9. Check the iTunes Folder Permissions

  1. Apple iPhones might not appear in File Explorer for users who don’t have full folder permissions for their iTunes folders.
    • To fix that, open Explorer with its Windows key + E hotkey.
  2. Select Music on the left of Explorer.
  3. Right-click the iTunes subfolder and select Properties.
  4. Deselect the Read-only option if it’s checked, and press the Apply button.
  5. Select the Security tab.
  6. Click the Edit button to open the window in image directly below.
  7. Select Full Control and all the other allow check boxes under Permissions for SYSTEM. Deselect selected deny check boxes if you can’t adjust the allow settings.
  8. Select the Apply option.
  9. Then click OK to close the window.

10. Add an iPhone File Explorer to Windows

There are numerous third-party file manager software tools for Windows with which users can browse photos, music, and videos saved on their iPhones.

Users can utilize iPhone file explorer software to browse their phones’ photos and videos without even opening File Explorer. So, users don’t need Explorer to browse iPhones in Windows.

Macgo iPhone Explorer is one of the freeware iOS file managers for Windows. Click the Free Download button on the software’s page to save the installer for iPhone Explorer.

Then users can add that software to Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, and Vista with its setup wizard. Connect a phone with PC, open iPhone Explorer’s window, and click Media Files to browse photos and videos with the software.

Those fixes will probably ensure iPhones shows up in File Explorer so that users can browse their mobiles’ photos and images within Windows.

Any users who have fixed the issue with alternative methods are welcome to share their resolutions below.

FAQ: Learn more about browsing iPhone photos

  • How do I get photos off my iPhone without iTunes?

To get photos off your iPhone without iTunes, simply download Adobe Bridge on your PC and follow the procedure detailed in this dedicated article.

  • Why can’t I transfer photos from iPhone to PC?

You cannot transfer photos from iPhone to PC if you haven’t selected the Trust option or if your iPhone doesn’t show up in File Explorer.

  • How do I transfer photos from iPhone to a laptop using a USB cable?

To transfer photos, connect your iPhone to the PC, tap the notification that shows up, and choose the option that says Import photos and videos. If you can’t do so, refer to this detailed guide.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been since revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in February 2019 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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  • The real issue is your Folder Options in Windows where you can choose Always show or never show thumbnails. Nothing to do with iTunes or drivers and any of that.