How to Back Up Your Photos With Google Photos

Manage your photos from any device

What to Know

  • iOS/Android: Open Google Photos, tap the menu button, and choose Settings > Back up & Sync. Toggle to the On position.
  • Desktop: Download and launch the Backup and Sync app, sign in, choose files you want to back up, then select OK.
  • Note: Google disconnected Google Photos from Google Drive. Photos now sync automatically only to the Photos app.

Google Photos offers easy cloud-based photo storage and makes it simple to back up photos from any device. The process is mostly automatic when you use the Google Photos app, which is available for smartphones, tablets, and computers. We show you how to do it.

In June 2021, Google changed its photo storage policy. Previously, Google allowed unlimited storage of "high-quality" (now called "Storage Saver") photos. Now, all photos, regardless of quality or size, count toward the free 15GB of storage shared throughout Google services, such as OneDrive and Gmail.

Backing up Your Mobile Device’s Photos to Google Photos

You’ll first need to download the appropriate Google Photos App for your iOS or Android device. Once you've downloaded and installed the app, the process is the same, regardless of the platform.

  1. Open the Google Photos app on your mobile device. In the top left corner of the application, tap the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines).

  2. Choose Settings.

  3. Select Back up & Sync.

    Google Photos settings with More, Settings, and Backup & Sync highlighted
  4. Select the ON position. From this screen, you also can choose which folders on your device to back up, what kinds of media you want to upload when you're using cellular data, and whether you want to do so when your device is roaming outside of your carrier's operating area.

    Back up & sync options

Backing up the Photos on Your Computer to Google Photo (Win or Mac)

Google offers an app specifically for backing up the photos on your computer: Backup and Sync.

  1. Go to in your browser.

  2. Click Download.

    Google Backup and Sync page with Download highlighted
  3. Open the installer and follow the onscreen setup instructions.

  4. Launch Backup and Sync.

  5. Sign in to the Google Account that you use for Google Photos.

  6. Select what you'd like to back up: photos and/or videos or all files, plus any specific folders.

    Backup and Sync preferences
  7. To choose your upload size, next to Uploading photos and videos, select Storage Saver (formerly "High-Quality") or Original.

    Since stored photos are part of your free 15GB of Google shared storage space, opting for Storage Saver is likely your best option, as these photos take up less space.

Things to Remember

You can save space on your device by deleting the photos and videos you've backed up on Google Photos. The items will remain in Google Photos, regardless of what you do on your device.

Likewise, if you delete an item from Google Photos, it will stay on your computer.

As with any important files, you should back up your photos in at least two places, for example, Google Photos and an external hard drive.

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