Google Photos backup: How to back up photos in Google Photos

Google Photos backups are an absolute life-saver when migrating to another device or if you need to free up storage on your phone. If you’re like me, and fancy yourself a bit of an Annie Leibovitz for the smartphone generation, you’ll be well acquainted with the pain of exhausting your phone/laptop/tablet storage with legions of photos.

That’s where Google Photos steps in, making the task of backing up your photo library *relatively* painless, freeing up that precious storage space for, um, yet more reams of unnecessary snaps and videos.

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

How to back up photos in Google Photos

Back up 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 will automatically start backing up your photo library. No questions asked. On a Mac, you have to nudge it in the right direction: simply select the folder where your photos are stored. 
  3. If you want to turn automatic syncing off, open the app and select Menu, then Settings, then Back up and sync, which you can tap to turn on or off.

CAVEAT ALERT: If you’re using Apple’s iCloud Photo Library, be wary. Sometimes your photos stored in the cloud are visible on your device, but not technically stored on them. As such, Google Photos might be unable to see and save said content. There’s an easy, if irritating, solution to this: make sure every file is saved on your smartphone/computer. Annoying, yes, but it’s a foolproof plan.

How to back up photos in Google Photos: Computer

  1. Install Backup and sync, the Google Photos desktop uploader.
  2. Sign in with the Google Account you’ll be using for Google Photos. 
  3. Select the option Back up photos and videos
  4. Select which folders you’d like to continuously back up to Google Photos. 
  5. Select the photo and video upload size you’d prefer; High-quality (unlimited storage) or Original (15GB storage’). 
  6. Select Start.

How to back up photos in Google Photos on Android

  1. Download Google Photos from the Google Play Store – Pixel device users should have it as standard.
  2. Once installed, Google Photos will ask for permission to back up your various folders online. Pick which folders on your phone you’d like it to have access to and then it automatically backs them up.
  3. If you want to back up photos so you can free up storage space on your phone, opening Google Photo’s “free up space” tab will then let the app erase any images it’s backed up from your device to give you some more room. Simple.

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