How to Back Up Photos Using Google Photos

Google Photos backups are an absolute lifesaver when migrating to another device or if you want to free up storage space on your iPhone or recover space on Android. All too often smartphone users save every precious photo and video but never back it up. Not only will this cause trouble if your phone encounters a problem, but it can also take several hours to transfer all your photos from one device to another.

That’s where Google Photos steps in, making backing up your photo library *relatively* painless. Whether you’re worried about losing your photos, buying a new device, or just trying to free up some precious space on your phone, Google Photos is one of the best cloud services to do the job.

Here’s our handy guide to using Google Photos to back up your photo library.

Back up photos in Google Photos

Saving your photos to Google’s cloud storage is easy, but the instructions vary depending on your device. You can sync the app across all your devices and even use it to delete all images from the device once the backup is complete.

Learn how to back up your photos for any device.

Back up your photos in Google Photos from an iPhone or iPad

  1. Install the Google Photos app on your iPhone or the desktop app on your Mac.
  2. With iOS, Google Photos needs permission to back up. You can select the option that allows Google Photos to access all images or the ones you want to back up.
  3. Once you’ve selected your photo permissions, the backup will begin, as evidenced by a blue ring around your profile picture in the top-right corner of the app.

For Mac PCs, you need to push Photos in the right direction: select the folder where your photos are stored.

4. To disable automatic sync, open the app and select “Menu > Settings > Backup & Sync,” which you can tap to enable or disable.

CAUTION: Use caution when using Apple’s iCloud Photo Library. Sometimes your photos stored in the cloud are visible on your device, but technically not saved. As such, Google Photos may not be able to see and save the content. An easy but slightly annoying solution is to make sure that every file is saved on your smartphone/computer. Annoying, yes, but it’s a foolproof plan.

Back up photos in Google Photos on a PC

  1. Install Google Drive, Google Photos’ desktop uploader for backing up and syncing folders and files.Google Drive - PC Download for Google Photos
  2. Sign in with the Google account you’ll be using for Google Photos.
  3. Select which folders you want to continuously back up to Google Photos and then Backup to Google Photos.
  4. Select the desired upload size for photos and videos.
  5. When you’re done, select Done > Save.

Back up photos in Google Photos on Android

  1. Download Google Photos from the Google Play Store – Pixel device users should have it by default.
  2. Once installed, Google Photos will ask for permission to back up your various folders online. Choose which folders you want to access on your phone and they will be backed up automatically.
  3. If you want to back up photos to free up storage space on your phone, opening the Free Space tab of Google Photos allows the app to erase all the images backed up from your device to give you some more time. to give space.

How to make sure your photos are saved

Now that you’ve gone through the backup process, you’re probably ready to proceed with a device reset or start deleting photos. It’s good to make sure everything is safely stored in Google Photos before making any changes.

Google Photos can be tricky because it can show your images in the app, but they may not be saved yet. To check if all your photos are saved, do the following:

  1. 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 remain to be backed up. If this number is zero, everything on your device is stored in Google Photos. If this menu shows that some photos are yet to be backed up, make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi (unless you have mobile data turned on) and wait a little longer.

Google Photos backup settings

Google offers a number of backup settings to help consumers customize their experience. You may want to keep your mobile data; maybe it’s more important to make sure everything is backed up immediately. Whatever your needs, this section will teach you about Google Photo backup settings.

Here’s how to access your Google Photos settings:

  1. Open Google Photos and tap your profile icon in the top right corner.
  2. Tap on Backup and Sync.
  3. Now you will see several backup options to choose from.

On the Backup and Sync page, you can choose these options:

  • Upload size – You can save storage space by choosing Storage saver (16 MP, HD video and prints up to 24X16 inches). Or, Original quality (Full resolution and larger prints).
  • Mobile data usage – Select the Data limit for backup (No data, 5 MB, 10 MB, 30 MB or unlimited). You can also use the Backup videos about data switch to allow video backups outside of wifi or Backup while roaming to back up photos and videos while roaming. Please note that your choices in this section may affect your mobile data bill.
  • Device folders – Your mobile device can automatically create folders to organize your images (Facebook, photo editing apps, etc.). Toggle the options next to the folders you want to categorize images in in Google Photos.

Google Photos backup FAQ

Find the answers to more of your Google Photos questions here.

How do I get my photos from Google Photos?

Once everything is backed up, accessing your photos is easy. You need to open the Google Photos app and sign in with the same Gmail account where everything is stored.

Once you’ve signed in, you should see all your photos in the Google Photos app. Tap an image or album and select the “Share icon” to send the photos to another person or save them somewhere else.

Can I save all Google Photos to my phone at once?

Yes. Whether you’re using an iOS or Android device, you can save all your photos, but it will take a while. iOS users need to long press a photo to launch the image selection option. Then tap the iOS share icon to save all selected photos to your device.

Android users should follow a similar process to iOS. Using the Android share icon, you can save to your device or share the photos with another cloud service or contacts.

Does Google Photos cost money?

Google once offered unlimited photo storage for free. Unfortunately, Google will limit free storage to just 15Gb in 2022. While the cost of storing your most valuable images and videos is easy to justify, today users need to sign up for a subscription for more storage.

Google charges $1.99 per month. for 100GB of space, $2.99/mo. for 200 GB and $9.99/month. for 1TB storage.


Finally, Google Photos makes it easy to back up all your essential photos, but always check that all images have been uploaded to the cloud. Sometimes it can still upload the files but it seems they are already in Photos. Now that you know how to back up your photos properly, why not take advantage of the free storage available with a Google account?

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