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How To Transfer Pictures From Your Cell Phone

It goes without saying that the top priority for any wireless company is to make money. Before downloadable ringtones, expensive data plans, and text messages became the cash cows, it became difficult for carriers to profit from selling voice services. In the cut-throat wireless industry, increasing plan minutes and while lowering prices was becoming an all too common practice for providers. At the time, they could only hope you would greatly exceed your plan minutes, thus allowing them to charge you huge overage fees from your per-minute rate. The problem is that 60 minute plans died in the early part of the century, and before long, the amount of minutes included in a typical wireless package is often more than what a person (or family) can use.

When camera phones hit the scene, wireless providers held their arms wide to welcome this new potential revenue stream. Wireless companies like Verizon, Sprint PCS, and AT&T are relying on data services to keep their businesses profitable in a time of lower prices on voice services. These new carriers want all want customers to snap a picture on their camera phone and send it to a friend or family member through the network. Of course, sending the photo incurs additional charges on your wireless phone bill.

The problem with camera phones is that when you capture a funny or special moment with your phone, it's often unclear how to get photos from your phone to your computer. Many methods incur additional charges that you'd most likely rather not pay. Fortunately, there are usually a few different ways to get images off your phone for good.

Method #1: E-mail them to yourself

Most camera phones have the ability to send photos in the form of an email. Of course, this is the method wireless providers would prefer since they typically get to charge additional fees for sending picture mail. Normally, wireless providers charge a flat rate to send a picture as an email through their network, but you could also be billed on a per-kilobyte rate for the data used. You'll need to check the details for your specific wireless plan.

To e-mail photos to yourself, you'll need to make sure your phone is configured to send e-mails. Most phones purchased from the carrier are setup out of the box, but you'll need to determine that on a per-case basis. The process for selecting an image to send will vary on the individual phone model, so refer to the instructions in your telephone manual for instructions. When you're ready to send the picture, place your e-mail address in the "To:" field, and hit send.

Method #2: Bluetooth transfer to a PC

If your phone is equipped with short-range Bluetooth wireless technology (most are these days), you can often send images to a similarly equipped notebook or desktop computer. The best part about Bluetooth is that images transferred in this manner are completely free to you. Whether you send 1 picture or 50, it's still free. Not all phones are equipped with Bluetooth, but even less computers come with the technology built-in. However, you can add the technology to your computer by purchasing a USB Bluetooth module from a local electronics retailer. Don't worry about it being expensive, considering most modules retail for less than $25.

Sending photos to a computer using Bluetooth is fairly simple... once you pair the phone to your computer. Sometimes the pairing process goes smoothly, and sometimes it doesn't. Either way, once you've gotten the two talking to each other, sending images to and from the phone is a snap. On top of this, Bluetooth allows you to send images and files to other Bluetooth phones without wires or charges.

Not all Bluetooth phones will be able to send images to a computer. Some carriers disable the file transfer profile before the phone is sent to the stores for sale, thereby forcing the users to either buy a data kit or send e-mails. This is what's referred to as the "no free lunch" approach to customer service. It's reasonable for them to assume that most would not spend fifty-dollars on an accessory, so they'll get to charge your account for every picture you send or make a monthly fee on a picture package.

Method #3: Transfer via a data cable

Any phone that has a built-in camera will most likely be able to connect to a computer via a USB data connection kit. Data kits are phone specific, so you'll need to make sure you get the correct one for your model phone. The kit includes the cable that plugs your phone into your computer's USB jack, as well as software to assist in transferring files to and from the phone.

Once connected, you'll have the same file transfer abilities as you would with Bluetooth, except with a wire. Unfortunately, you cannot transfer images to anything but a computer, so don't expect to move a picture from your phone to a friend's. Though data connect kits are often more expensive than Bluetooth modules, they do transfer files at a faster speed.

Method #4: Phones with removable memory cards

Many newer phones have a slot for an external memory cards, especially models with higher resolution cameras. Since the images are stored on a removable memory card, transferring images to the computer is a breeze. All you need to do is pick up an external memory card reader from a local electronics store. You'll need to know what kind of card your phone uses before you go shopping to make sure the reader you buy supports the correct format.

Once your card reader is in place, merely remove the memory card from your phone, and insert it into the card reader. The computer will recognize the card and assign it a drive letter. Actually moving images is as easy as using the "cut and paste" commands in Windows Explorer. Just reinsert the card back into the phone when you're ready to take new pictures.

Summary

While you can continue to pay the carrier to keep images you snap on your phone, there are ways to do it for free, or at least one low-cost payment. Of all the options presented, Bluetooth is the most versatile of the methods, especially since it can allow you many other useful functions. If your phone isn't equipped with Bluetooth, yet you still wish to snap and keep pictures with your phone, opt to go with the data-connect kit. It will cost you a little cash up front, but it will be cheaper than paying monthly or individually over a standard 2-year contract. Now start snapping pictures, and post them at TechLore for the world to see!

Discussion:    Add a Comment | Comments 1-25 of 88 | Latest Comment | 1 2 3 4 Next »

View unverified member's comment - posted by K. Woolnough

May 24, 2009 1:03 AM

What if the pictures are stored in the phones memory and not on a memory card?
How does one transfer these to a computer?

View unverified member's comment - posted by samowen2000

July 11, 2009 12:50 PM

how do i get pictures from cellphone to computer some i would like to keep
i can't get anymore

July 13, 2009 2:18 PM

samowen2000 said: wat about ur comp duznt have a slot for the card?
Wow. How about you read the article before you post questions? I've already covered this.

July 13, 2009 2:19 PM

syble said: how do i get pictures from cellphone to computer some i would like to keep i can't get anymore
That's what the article above is about. I talk about various methods for doing just what you're asking.

July 13, 2009 2:20 PM

happi:) said: DO U HAVE 2 HAVE A CAMERA PHONE??
Well, if your phone doesn't have a camera, how would you take the pictures that you'd want to transfer to a PC.?

July 13, 2009 2:21 PM

baldyriek said: What if the pictures are stored in the phones memory and not on a memory card? How does one transfer these to a computer?
I detail four different methods above. 3 out of 4 don't require a memory card.

July 16, 2009 5:48 PM

Well, what if you sent a pic to someone who you dont want to have the pic anymore and you want to make sure it is erased or deleted from the memory on their phone? I know this sounds strange, so are the circumstances... Is there a way to disable the memory or card in a phone without someone knowing? please don't think I'm creepy, I am just desperate!

July 19, 2009 8:39 AM

if you have a cell phone that has no memory card and you don't have the option plan to send emails or pictures. then your up the creek without a paddle.
my cell phone is MetroPCS camera phone) and on a $40.00 a month plan that is limited. I since moved to an area where Metro does not cover. I purchased a TracFone (camera phone) and i want to transfer my pics to the new phone but there is no service on MetroPCS and is disconected since i stopped paying my bill 2 months ago.
isn't there a usb that can connect cell phone to cell phone and transfer that way?

July 19, 2009 8:43 AM

what if you have a cell phone that can't send pics or have a memory card and is deactivated? can't yuo get a usb that just connect from one cell phone to another cell phone? i don't want my pices on the computer.

July 19, 2009 10:25 AM

my micro sd card works in my computer, it is able to read it; im able to transfer pic using the micro sd card and even save images and music in the micro sd. However when i use the micro sd in my phone it doesnt read it ( it is inserted correctly) Erro M505: unable to read memory card. I dont know what happend it used to work. Now i found a program called motorola driver installment and i downloaded it in my lap top, but im still not able to transfer my pictures to my pm from the phone. if im using the program wrong let me know, if theres an actaul way on how to do it and i just dont know , please let me know. Oh, and is there a way i could reboot the system in my phone so it can read the mirco sd properly again, or its just simple broken..

thanks

July 19, 2009 10:25 AM

my micro sd card works in my computer, it is able to read it; im able to transfer pic using the micro sd card and even save images and music in the micro sd. However when i use the micro sd in my phone it doesnt read it ( it is inserted correctly) Erro M505: unable to read memory card. I dont know what happend it used to work. Now i found a program called motorola driver installment and i downloaded it in my lap top, but im still not able to transfer my pictures to my pm from the phone. if im using the program wrong let me know, if theres an actaul way on how to do it and i just dont know , please let me know. Oh, and is there a way i could reboot the system in my phone so it can read the mirco sd properly again, or its just simple broken..

thanks

July 19, 2009 10:29 AM

my micro sd card works in my computer, it is able to read it; im able to transfer pic using the micro sd card and even save images and music in the micro sd. However when i use the micro sd in my phone it doesnt read it ( it is inserted correctly) Erro M505: unable to read memory card. I dont know what happend it used to work. Now i found a program called motorola driver installment and i downloaded it in my lap top, but im still not able to transfer my pictures to my pm from the phone. if im using the program wrong let me know, if theres an actaul way on how to do it and i just dont know , please let me know. Oh, and is there a way i could reboot the system in my phone so it can read the mirco sd properly again, or its just simple broken..

View unverified member's comment - posted by nicotinefree

View unverified member's comment - posted by darik

View unverified member's comment - posted by k6591m

September 8, 2009 12:48 AM

Transferring photos to my PC over bluetooth results in garbled jpegs - lines of 8x8 pixel, colored blocks. My phone is a T-Mobile prepaid Nokia 2760. Is this T-Mobiles way of disabling photo transfer by bluetooth?

September 26, 2009 9:56 PM

We got a micro SD card (option #4) for our phone

September 26, 2009 10:04 PM

OK...let's try this again...maybe it will include my entire comment this time...*sigh*

We bought a micro SD card (option #4) for our phone (LG CU920). We thought that when we put it in to the phone, any pictures that we took after installing it would automatically be saved on to the card. It didn't work that way.

Is there a way to transfer the pictures from the phone's internal memory to the SD card? I've tried, but I can't see it as an option on this phone to transfer from internal memory to the SD card.

I found another article that said to simply send a message to the "scandisk" but when I tried that, there wasn't the option of doing that. So, now we have pictures on our phone but aren't sure of how to transfer them to the SD card, so we can eventually put them on the computer. Is there a way to do this that I'm not figuring out? Anything you have will be helpful, thanks!

Carrie

October 11, 2009 12:28 PM

HELLO AND THANK YOU FOR HAVING THESE SITES TO HELP US, PLEASE TELL ME I HAVE A CAMERA PHONE CELL AND THE PROPER WIRE TO TRANSFER THE PHOTOS TO MY PC BUT I HAVE TRIED AND NOTHING IS IT TRUE THAT I NEED AND DISK TO INSTALL A PROGRAMME OR NOT THANK YOU VERY MUCH
I APPRECIATE YOUR ANSWER

October 11, 2009 12:57 PM

I READ IT ALL AND TRIED ALL OF THEM AND NO SUCCESS MAYBE I HAVE TO GO TMN AND ASK THEM.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP
REGARDS
CRISTINA

View unverified member's comment - posted by EvaMae

View unverified member's comment - posted by bebop

View unverified member's comment - posted by blah blah

Discussion:    Add a Comment | Back to Top | Comments 1-25 of 88 | Latest Comment | 1 2 3 4 Next »

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