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Apple designed the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch Camera Roll (Recents in iOS 13 and above) to only contain photos and videos you take with the device. The same holds true for default albums such as Favourites, Panoramas, Selfies, Screenshots and Videos.

This is why it is not possible to add photos or videos from elsewhere directly to Camera Roll or its photo albums.

This article provides an explanation and a couple of solutions for people who want to lose the shackles of Photo Library and its limitations and add photos to iPhone Camera Roll.


Camera Roll vs Photo Library

The photos you add to your device from PC (with iTunes, CopyTrans Photo, etc.) go to a separate folder called Photo Library. Here is the difference between Camera Roll vs. Photo Library as viewed in CopyTrans Photo interface:

Camera Roll vs Photo Lubrary in CopyTrans Photo interface

NOTE: On your iPhone, you see photos added to Photo Library in the “From my Mac” section, which is not part of Camera Roll. Also, you can’t delete these images, at least from your device:

No Delete button in From My Mac album

CopyTrans Photo can delete these images just fine.

Also, we know a couple of tricks that will help you add photos to Camera Roll in the end! Here they are:


Copy photos from Photo Library to Camera Roll

If your photos are already in Photo Library, here is a little trick to put them into Camera Roll:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Photos -> Albums -> From My Mac, then select the album with the photos you need to copy to Camera Roll.

  2. From My Mac section of iPhone Photos app

  3. In the upper-right corner, press “Select” and choose the photos you need. There is also the option Select All.

  4. Selecting photos in iPhone photo album

  5. Then select the Share option in the lower-left corner of the screen and choose “Duplicate” to add photos to Camera Roll or “Add to album” if you want them as part of a specific collection.

  6. Duplicating photos from From My Mac to Recents

  7. The photos are now part of your Camera Roll.

  8. iPhone Photo app Recents album

Make sure your photos do not get stuck in Photo Library after you’ve copied them. With the help of CopyTrans Photo, you can delete photos from Photo Library. Alternatively, you can sync an empty folder to your iPhone using iTunes, which will also make the photos go away.


How to add photos to iPhone Camera Roll with Cloudly

There is actually a trick to add photos directly to Camera Roll, but you will need to use iCloud power for that. Here is the idea: if you could upload images from PC to iCloud and enable iCloud syncing on device, the photos would migrate straight to your Camera Roll. And we know just the tool to help – CopyTrans Cloudly!

Before you start uploading photos, enable iCloud sync on your device: go to Settings -> your Apple ID -> iCloud -> Photos and set toggle switch to ON. To prevent data loss in the future, choose “Download and keep originals”: this will keep the photos on your device even if you disable iCloud sync later.

Enable iCloud Photos in iPhone settings

Then, upload the photos:

  1. In CopyTrans Control Center, run CopyTrans Cloudly. If you don’t have it installed, download the program here:

    Download CopyTrans Cloudly

  2. If you need help, refer to the installation guide.

  3. Sign in with your Apple ID. We use SSL connection to protect your data, so you’re safe!
  4. CopyTrans Cloudly iCloud login interface

  5. On the welcome screen, choose “Upload”.

  6. CopyTrans Cloudly Upload button

  7. Select the files (.HEIC, .PNG and .JPEG images and .MOV, .MP4, .M4V video files) that you want to upload to iCloud. Once you’re ready, press “Upload!”

  8. Selecting images to upload to iCloud using CopyTrans Cloudly

  9. Wait until the program carefully delivers your photos and videos to your iCloud account… There they are.

  10. CopyTrans Cloudly uploading process

  11. Your images sit tightly in your iCloud. If your device is synced to iCloud, the images will appear on it as well. Viva la CopyTrans!

If you plan on using CopyTrans Photo later on, we recommend that you switch off iCloud sync after uploading the files. Here’s how to disable iCloud Photos on your iPhone.

Now you’re good to go! You can add and remove photos from Camera Roll whenever you want.

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By krasimir

Krasimir is an avid marketing aficionado and a tech-support specialist in charge of the English-speaking market. He grew up in Bulgaria and on the island of Mauritius where he became passionate about windsurfing and photography.