How to Restore Photos from Google Photos After Factory Reset

Cloud storage is a wonderful thing. It enables you to have a much larger photo and video archive than you would normally be able to store on your mobile device. Considering how big some apps are, and how small the internal storage can be on cheaper phones, uploading your data to a cloud is often a no-brainer.

Google Photos is integrated with the Android operating system, but it can also be used on iOS devices and desktop computers. Since July 2019, Google has separated its photo storage from Google Drive. If you perform a factory reset on your phone or tablet, it’s pretty easy to restore the deleted photos through your Google account. Of course, you’ll have to have backed them up in the first place.

Why Perform a Factory Reset?

There are a few reasons why you might end up having to use your device’s in-built factory reset function. The action effectively wipes all the data you have stored on the device, restoring it to the same condition it was when it left the factory – hence the name.

It can solve a number of software-related problems, such as freezing issues or apps that just won’t uninstall. It can also be useful remotely, if your device has been lost or stolen, as a method of protecting your personal data. It’s worth keeping in mind that it only deletes data from the local storage, meaning that it can’t erase anything on your SIM card or SD cards.

If you need to factory reset your phone or tablet, you should make sure that you’ve backed up your data such as photos and contacts first. While many manufacturers include their own back-up and cloud storage solutions, here we’re focusing on Google’s version.

restore photos

How to Turn on Back up and Sync for Google Photos

To restore your photos from Google Photos to your device, first you have to ensure that you’ve backed them up. You’ll need to have a good internet connection, and remember that photos larger than 75MB or 100MP, and videos larger than 10GB, won’t be backed up. You also have a limited amount of free storage, 15GB in total. If you want more space, you’ll have to pay for it.

Two things to remember: First, changing your backup settings will affect all Google apps on your device, not just Google Photos. Second, if you delete Google Photos from your device, it won’t turn off the Back up & sync option. You’ll need to do that the same way you turned it on.

google photos

Android

  1. Tap on the Google Photos app on your device’s home screen.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account.
  3. Tap on the Menu button at the top (three stacked horizontal lines).
  4. Tap on Settings.
  5. Tap on Back up & sync.
  6. Tap Back up & sync to the on position.

iOS

  1. Open the Google Photos app from your device’s home screen.
  2. Sign in to your Google Account.
  3. At the top, tap the Menu button (it looks like three horizontal stacked lines).
  4. Tap on Settings (look for the cog wheel).
  5. Tap on Back up & sync.
  6. Tap “Back up & sync” so that it says on.

If you get a message saying that you need to allow the app access to your photos, here’s what you do:

  1. Open the iOS settings app from your home screen.
  2. Tap on Privacy.
  3. Tap on Photos.
  4. Turn on Google Photos.

How to Restore Photos to Your Device

Once you’ve performed the factory reset, and your device has finished setting up again, you might need to download the Google Photos app again from Google Play or the App Store. Once it’s installed, you just need to turn the Back up & sync on option again as detailed above. This should automatically download your images from your Google Account to your device.

If there are specific photos that you want to re-download that haven’t been automatically restored, you can take these steps:

  1. Open the Google Photos app.
  2. Tap on the photo that you want to save.
  3. Tap on the More button (three dots arranged vertically).
  4. Tap on Download.

You won’t see this option if the image has already been saved to your phone.

Hooray for the Cloud!

And there you have it, simple as that. That’s one of the benefits of making sure that you have your phone set up to automatically sync your data to your Google Account. You’ll never have to worry about losing your precious photos or videos again. And considering how easy it is to break, lose, or brick a device these days, it’s an extra bit of peace of mind.

If you have any other tips for people looking to restore their photos after a factory reset, feel free to share them with us in the comment section below.

4 thoughts on “How to Restore Photos from Google Photos After Factory Reset”

Mari says:
I did exactly that but google photos just show what I’ve taken since the reset not all the photos and videos I had for 2 years can you help?
Steve Larner says:
I believe it only restores the ones you had on your phone before the reset. All older ones will be in your Google Photos account online.
Jessie Griffin says:
How do I keep contacts after factory reset
Ajay says:
Photos recovery
Debbie says:
Trying to restore photos in Google after factory reset

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