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Transfer And Manage Photos From A Digital Camera Using A Chromebook


Smartphone cameras are nice, but high-end digital cameras are better. Of course, you’ll need to learn how to upload photos to a Chromebook if you plan to manage those amazing shots on your Chromebook. The methods vary based on your Chromebook and your digital camera’s features.

Upload via USB or SD Card

The simplest method is to use a USB cable or SD card. Depending on the type of digital camera, you may be able to plug in the USB cable to an available port on your Chromebook and move the pictures over.

For older digital cameras that require you to install software to transfer photos, you may not be able to upload digicam photos to a Chromebook. Instead, you’ll need to use a normal desktop or laptop computer, then transfer the photos to the Chromebook.

Depending on your Chromebook, you may only have a USB-C port and not a USB-A port. For a USB transfer, make sure you have a compatible cable to go from your digital camera to your Chromebook. Then, connect the cable, open the camera’s folder in the Files app (the name varies based on the device), and open the folder containing your photos.

If you see a notification that says Allow access to device data, click Allow. This gives your Chromebook access to your camera.

If you can’t find your camera’s folder, ensure that your camera is turned on and connected. Then, on your Chromebook, go to Settings -> Connected Devices -> Storage Management -> External Storage Preferences. Select your camera, and turn it on.

Turn on external storage devices on Chromebook.

Typically, cameras store your images in a DCIM folder. You may also see photos, images, and/or videos. Select everything you want to upload, and copy to the appropriate folder on your Chromebook. If you have the space, copy directly to your Chromebook’s hard drive. Or, copy directly to Google Photos, Google Drive, or any other cloud service you want.

If using an SD card, remove it from your digital camera, and insert it into the SD card slot on your Chromebook. The process is the same as using a USB cable. However, not every Chromebook has an SD card slot.

You can buy an SD card reader for Chromebook. For instance, the RayCue USB C 3-in-1 Card Reader features SD card, microSD, and USB slots.

Ideally, leave the photos on your camera or SD card until you’ve copied everything to your Chromebook. This ensures that if something doesn’t copy over correctly, you will still have a copy.

Upload via Smartphone

It may seem impossible to upload digicam photos to a Chromebook if you don’t have any USB ports or an SD card reader. However, there’s a quick workaround: your smartphone. By uploading your digital camera photos to your smartphone, you can upload them to Google Photos via the smartphone app, then access them on your Chromebook.

There are several ways to connect your digital camera and smartphone. The method you use depends on your camera and phone’s features.

  • USB cable – a data transfer cable with the correct ends to support your phone and camera
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • SD card (if your phone supports SD cards)

Older digital cameras only support USB cable transfers, but newer cameras often offer wireless transfers.

Connect your phone and camera using one of the methods above. You may need to consult your camera’s manual for exact steps, then use your phone’s file manager app to locate your digital camera’s files. Select all the files or folders you want to copy, and copy them to a folder on your phone. This can be a preexisting folder or one you create.

Open the Google Photos or Google Drive app, and upload all the photos. Open the Google Photos or Google Drive app on your Chromebook to access all your digital camera photos.

You can do the same thing with a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer. This works well if you have an older digital camera that requires software.

Upload With Wi-Fi

Many digital cameras support Wi-Fi file transfers. Instead of a cable, perform a wireless transfer. Check your camera’s specs to see if this is supported. Chromebooks don’t support Bluetooth file transfers. Bluetooth is only for connecting hardware, such as keyboards, mice, and headsets.

For your Chromebook to discover your digital camera, turn on Nearby Share. Select the time in the bottom-right corner of your Chromebook. Go to Settings -> Connected Devices. Select Set Up next to Nearby Share. Name your Chromebook, and choose Done.

Setting up Nearby Share on Chromebook.

Select your level of Device visibility. In most cases, you’ll need to select All contacts for this to work.

On your digital camera, open the Wi-Fi sharing feature. This is typically in the main menu or settings. However, the exact location varies greatly from camera to camera. Search for your Chromebook. (It’ll be the name you set up in the previous steps.) Confirm on your Chromebook to complete the connection.

Select the photos on your camera that you want to upload, and share them with your Chromebook. Both devices need to be close to each other and on the same Wi-Fi network.

Manage Uploaded Photos on Chromebook

Once you upload photos to a Chromebook, it’s time to manage them. Chromebooks aren’t really meant for offline storage like a PC or Mac are. Instead, they work best with online apps. In this case, Google Photos is the most obvious way to manage your uploaded photos.

If it’s not already on your Chromebook, download the Google Photos app from the Google Play Store. All Chromebooks made in or after 2019 support Android apps. Many made after 2016 support them as well.

Once installed, upload your photos. Use the Albums section in the left pane to create and organize your photos into individual albums. While Google Photos isn’t the most advanced photo editor, it does offer some options.

Open any photo, and select the Edit menu at the top. It looks like sliding scales. Then, choose between suggested effects, cropping, adjustments, and filters.

Editing uploaded Google Photos images.

Of course, if Google Photos doesn’t offer the tools you need, try these online photo editors instead. You could also play around with these AI photo editors.

Upload Photos to a Chromebook and Enjoy

While a Chromebook may not be ideal for storing photos locally, it’s still a great way to transfer your photos from a digital camera to online storage. In addition to managing photos, did you know that a Chromebook can be a powerful drawing tool with the right apps? Also, keep an eye on your Chromebook expiration date to know when to upgrade.

Image credit: Unsplash. All screenshots by Crystal Crowder.

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Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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