Google Photos backups save your life when migrating to another device or if you need to free up storage space on your phone. Too often, smartphone users store all precious photos and videos but never back them up. Not only does it cause problems if your phone has a problem, but it can also take several hours to transfer all your photos from one device to another.
That's where Google Photos comes in, making the task of backing up your photo library *relatively* painless. Whether you're worried about losing your photos, getting ready to buy a new device, or just trying to free up valuable space on your phone, Google Photos is one of the best cloud services for this.
Here's our handy guide to using Google Photos to back up your photo library.
How to Backup Photos to Google Photos
Storing your photos in Google's cloud storage is simple, but the instructions vary depending on the device you have. You can sync the app across all your devices and even use it to delete all images from the device after the backup is complete.
Learn how to back up your photos for each of your devices.
Backup Photos to Google Photos from iPhone or iPad
Install the Google Photos app on your iPhone or the desktop app on your Mac.
With iOS, Google Photos will need permission to start a backup. You can select the option to allow Google Photos to access all images or select the ones you want to back up.
Once you've selected your photo permissions, the backup will begin automatically, as evidenced by a blue ring around your profile picture in the top right corner of the app.
On a Mac, you have to push it in the right direction: just select the folder where your photos are stored.
If you want to turn off automatic synchronization, open the app and select Menu > Settings > Backup and sync, which you can tap to turn on or off.
WARNING: If you're using Apple's iCloud Photo Library, beware. Sometimes your photos stored in the cloud are visible on your device, but technically not stored on them. As such, Google Photos may not be able to view and save said content. There is a simple, but slightly irritating solution: make sure every file is saved on your smartphone/computer. Boring, yes, but it's a foolproof plan.
How to Backup Photos in Google Photos to PC
- Install Backup and Sync, the Google Photos desktop transfer tool.
- Sign in with the Google account that you will use for Google Photos.
- Select option Back up photos and videos.
- Select the folders you want to continuously back up in Google Photos.
- Select the photo and video download size you prefer; High quality (unlimited storage) or Original (15 GB of storage').
- Select Start.
How to Backup Photos to Google Photos on Android
- Download Google Photos from the Google Play Store – Pixel device users should have this as standard.
2. Once installed, Google Photos will ask you for permission to back up your various folders online. Choose which folders on your phone you want it to access, then it backs them up automatically.
3. If you want to back up photos to free up storage space on your phone, open Google Photo's Free up space The tab will then let the app erase all saved images from your device to give you more space. Simple.
How to make sure your photos are saved
Now that you've completed the backup process, you're probably ready to reset your device or start deleting photos. It's a good idea to check that everything is saved securely in Google Photos before making any changes.
Google Photos can be a little tricky because it can show your pictures in the app, but they might not have been saved yet. To verify that all your photos are stored, follow these steps:
- Open the Google Photos app and tap the profile icon in the top right corner.
2. In the menu that appears, you will see how many images still need to be saved. If this number is zero, everything on your device is saved in Google Photos. If this menu says some photos haven't been backed up yet, make sure you're connected to WiFi and wait a bit longer.
Google Photos – Bonus Features
Once you have completed the steps above, you can take a few minutes to organize your photos. Luckily, Google Photos will give you plenty of customization options. From archive folders to full albums that you can share with family and friends, there's a lot you can do.
How to Move and Share Photos in Google Photos
- For starters, Google Photos automatically stores your images in folders. You can rearrange these folders by long pressing on the photos and pressing the + top icon.
2. Now select an album you want to send the photos to from the list that appears, or you can create a new one. Depending on what you want to do with your photos, click the button Share at the top and share it with others who also use Google Photos.
How to Add a Photo to Your Favorites Folder Using Google Photos
- If you have a photo in Google Photos that is one of your favorites, you can tap the Star icon above to easily put it in your Favorites case. When you open Google Photos, tap on the folder and you can show everyone the photos you like the most without scrolling to find them.
How to Create a Collage or Slideshow in Google Photos
- By following the same steps as above to move your photos to new albums, you can also create collages and slideshows. Long press on the photos you are working with and press the + icon in the upper right corner. In this new pop-up window, select one of the options. Then follow the steps to create your next masterpiece.
Frequently Asked Questions
We've included more answers to your most frequently asked questions here:
Are my photos automatically saved to Google Photos?
If you want Google Photos to back up automatically, you'll probably need to make some changes to the settings. The Google Photos app is designed to save battery and cellular data, so Wi-Fi and background permissions are set by default.
To back up via cellular data instead of wifi, open the Google Photos app and tap the profile icon in the top right corner. Next, tap Settings app and enable Cellular data option.
Next, go to your phone's settings and also enable background battery use for Google Photos (instructions for enabling background permissions vary depending on your operating system). Now Google Photos should automatically back up everything in your camera roll.
How do I recover my photos from Google Photos?
Once everything is backed up, accessing your photos is easy. All you have to do is open the Google Photos app and sign in using the same Gmail account where everything is saved.
Once signed in, you should see all of your photos in the Google Photos app. Tap a photo or album and select the share icon to send the photos to another person or save them elsewhere.
Can I save all Google photos on my phone at once?
Yes. Whether you are using an iOS or Android device, you can save all your photos to your device, but it will take some time. iOS users will need to long press on a photo to launch the option to select all the photos they want to save. Next, tap the iOS share icon to save all photos to their device.
Android users will need to follow a similar process. Using the Android share icon, you can save to your device or share the photos with another cloud service or contacts.