How to Import Your Photos Easily from iPhone to Ubuntu 22.04

Last updated: January 1, 2024 — 19 Comments

It’s easy to make backup of your iPhone’s photos, since Ubuntu now has out-of-the-box support for accessing iOS files.

To make life easy, the gThumb image organizer can even pop-up the photo import dialog automatically once your iPhone is plugged in via USB port.

Install and setup gThumb

1.) Firstly, press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal in Ubuntu.

When it opens, run the command below to install gThumb image viewer and organizer and heif image support:

sudo apt install gthumb heif-gdk-pixbuf

For those hate Linux commands, it can be also installed via Ubuntu Software.

2.) Next, set gThumb as the default app for handling photos from removable media. To do so, open “Settings” from system tray menu.

When the Settings utility opens, navigate to “Removable Media” from left pane. Finally, select “Import with gThumb” in right for photos drop-down box.

Connect iPhone via USB and start importing photos

Now, plug your iPhone into Ubuntu PC/laptop via USB port. Then, select “Trust this computer” in your iPhone and type password to confirm.

An import dialog should pop-up automatically:

  • There set ‘Source’ to your iOS device.
  • Use the selection box for ‘Show’ to filter what you want to import.
  • It should now load all the files with preview under “Files to import” section.
  • After ‘Destination’, click and choose where you want to import the files.
  • Finally, click green Import button to start the process.

If the dialog didn’t open, try manually launching gThumb, open ‘☰’ menu, and finally navigate to ‘Import from -> Removable device’.

Thanks to @Trozpent, there’re a few tips in case this step does not work for you.

All photo files are saved to user’s “Pictures” folder by default, though you may change the location in the previous dialog.

This is tested and works on iOS 14.4.2, 15.5, and 16.1.1. That’s it. Enjoy!

Access photos in File Manager:

The import process may fail if there are 0 KB videos/photos in your iOS devices. In my case, the old iPad has “100CLOUD” folder that contains empty MP4 files that interrupted the importing process.

For the case, you may first search for and kill the frozen ‘gThumb’ app window in System Monitor. Then, access your photos from the mounted folder.

As the picture shows, there are usually 2 mounted folders: “Documents on DEVICE_NAME” and “iOS DEVICE_NAME”. The DCIM sub-folder in the latter one contains all photo and video files in your iOS device.

Thanks to @Trozpent, if you don’t see the DCIM folder, try going to the “Documents on i…” from left panel, then press Ctrl+L to enter location, finally delete :3/ in location bar and hit Enter.

After that, you’ll see your device folders including DCIM for photos.


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I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please comment to let me know if the tutorial is outdated! And, notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via [email protected] Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/ubuntuhandbook1

19 responses to How to Import Your Photos Easily from iPhone to Ubuntu 22.04

  1. not working, not able to find out photos in gThumb app

  2. Its not working in combination with Xubuntu 22,04 and Iphone13
    My Iphone can not be seen, although it is recgnized as camara

  3. Just great mate, thanks a million!!!!

  4. Nicholas Roth May 29, 2023 at 10:14 pm

    gThumb doesn’t seem to show photos anymore

    • Nicholas Roth May 29, 2023 at 10:15 pm

      As in, it does not show a “Photos” folder in Ubuntu 22.04 file explorer when plugged in — it just shows a “Documents on Nicholas Roth’s iPhone” folder that has app data but no photos.

  5. Worked for me. But slow to respond.
    Could it be the 13,000 pics on my phone?

  6. worked once. Was able to copy over SOME of my photos, but now only the phone documents show up. HOW TO FIX THIS? I need to get my photos off my phone.

  7. For those saying that it isn’t work, there are a few possible factors involved here:
    1. Perhaps you have “optimized storage” in your icloud settings on the phone which means it’s storing the vast majority of your images in the cloud. Photos app is only showing you thumbnails (from it’s own database file) and downloads the original when you view them. Change this optimize settings to download all your original size photos onto your phone so you have the physical files on the device.

    2. You might need to make sure you have heif support – `sudo apt install heif-gdk-pixbuf`

    3. In nautilus, go to your iPhone device documents (phone icon, not the camera icon). You will probably see a few icons representing your apps installed. press `ctrl+L` in nautilus and it gives you access to the address bar where you can now remove the “:3/” or what ever number you see there at the end of the address bar. Press enter and you’ll now see your device folders including DCIM. Here are your photos.

    You might need to wait a while for your iphone to download all your images. Or you might have space issues. I leave this problem up to your creative solutions.

  8. Trozpent reply helped me find a solution. My wifes iphone 11 ended with E:3/
    i removed the :3/ and i was able to see the dcim folder finally. Thanks

    on mint 20.3

  9. removing the :3 also worked for me.

  10. not working
    Lets look for another way

  11. @Trozpent, thank you soooo much!!!

  12. Thank you so much! Removing the :3 also worked for me.

  13. GREAT!!! THANK YOU!
    Removing the :3 also worked for me :)

  14. thank you for file manager explanation

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