How to back up photos and videos to Google Photos

how to back up photos google googlephotosheader
Google’s annual I/O conference did little to rock the boat in 2015, but the giant tech company did wow attendees with its announcement of the new Google Photos service.

Google Photos isn’t just a duplicate of the Photos component within Google+, Google’s social network. Instead, Google Photos differs in that it gives users unlimited storage of photos and videos, provided that they are no larger than 16 megapixels (photos) or Full HD 1080p (videos); larger photos and videos are either downsized or counted against a user’s base 15GB Google Account storage. Moreover, Google doesn’t require iOS, Android, or Web users to have a Google+ account to access this new service, making it even more attractive for any smartphone user to utilize.

Because Google Photos gives users boundless cloud access to save (compressed) photos and videos, the application gives millions of smartphone and tablet users the instant ability to free up some precious storage space on their devices. By simply activating the Back up & sync function on an Android or iOS-based smartphone or tablet, Google Photos automatically saves all photos and videos stored on all the devices a user owns, as well as any taken in the future.

All photos backed up from synced devices also save to a private folder — unless you choose otherwise — assuring those photos from your night out last week aren’t seen by the entire Internet. All content is synced across devices, so it doesn’t matter if you view them on an iPhone one minute, and move to an Android tablet next. To help those new to the app activate this handy feature, we’ve put together this comprehensive walkthrough detailing the steps necessary to back up any pictures or videos to Google Photos.

Activating the Back up & sync function for iOS and Android

For both mobile operating systems, a similar process exists for activating the Back up & sync function. Simply open the Google Photos application, tap the menu icon in the top left corner of the screen, then select Settings. Once inside the Settings menu, click Back up & sync, and choose to set the feature to either on or off. After changing the setting to on, any photo or video stored on your smartphone backs up to the Google Photos application. To access these photos and videos on the Web, simply navigate to the Google Photos webpage.

For Android users: Altering your phone’s backup settings changes the backup settings for any downloaded application that uses a Back up & sync function. For instance, an app like Google Drive also utilizes such functionality, meaning once you activate the feature, Google Drive’s content also starts backing up. Moreover, turning off the Back up & sync function stops other capable apps from backing up its content.

For iOS users: A message may appear after activating Back up & sync asking for permission to access the device’s photos. To turn this on simply navigate to the phone’s Settings application, select the Privacy option, then switch Google Photos to “on” within the Photos category. When turning off the function, always make sure to switch Back up & sync off in every application that has the ability to utilize it – like the above mentioned Google Drive.

Once you activate the Back up & sync function we also recommend checking which photos or videos don’t back up to your account. To do this, navigate to the Google Photos menu via the icon in the top left corner of the application and click Photos. Browse through the photos listed: all those adorned with an icon resembling a cloud with a strike through it did not back up.

Understanding how the sync process works

If you choose to activate Google Photos’ sync function, keep in mind any changes made to photos or videos occur across every device synced to your account. For instance, if you make any alterations to a photo or video – or just altogether delete them – on the Google Photos Web page, the same alterations occur on any smartphone or tablet synced to the account. Any computer signed into your Google Account that accesses Google Photos also becomes a synced computer, thus also having the ability to alter and delete any photos saved to your library.


From DIY to AAA, here’s how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.

From white skies to blurry subjects, how to fix common photo mistakes

You snapped the photo at the perfect moment, but the image is blurry. Understanding the most common photography mistakes can help capture better memories and more likable Instagrams. Here's how to fix these seven common photography…

8 easy ways for you to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC

If you haven't already, you should back up your photos to a computer. Here's how to transfer photos from an Android phone to a PC using third-party services and a wealth of storage devices.

The best place to print photos online: Seven top photo labs

Have you been looking around for the best place to print out your favorite photos online? Don't fret, we've pored through dozens of options and narrowed it down to the seven best.

Adobe Spark Page makes web design easy — here’s how to use it

Using artificial intelligence and simple tools, Adobe Spark Page is designed for easy web page design. Here's how to use Adobe Spark Page to create a travel journal, event page or any other one-page website.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: inflatable backpacks and robotic submarines

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Photo FOMO: VSCO makes harsh sun look cool, Apple wants to make 360 look better

In this week's Photo FOMO, see how VSCO is trying to improve photos in harsh sunlight with new presets, how Apple thinks they can make 360 look better, and find out just how many photographers actually read licensing agreements.

When you're ready to shoot seriously, these are the best DSLRs you can buy

For many photographers the DSLR is the go-to camera. With large selection of lenses, great low-light performance, and battery endurance, these DSLRs deliver terrific image quality for stills and videos.

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…

How iPhone photographers connect the world using only ‘basic’ gear

August 19 is World Photography Day, marking progress from the daguerreotype to the iPhone. But how do today's photographers create a connection to viewers using basic gear? We talked to iPhone photographers and influencers around the world…

Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless is coming August 23 — here’s what we know so far

Nikon is keeping a tight lid on details surrounding its upcoming full-frame mirrorless camera, but we know it has a touchscreen, and the latest teaser is the most revealing. Here are all the teasers and analyst predictions.

Fujifilm now has a crazy 46x zoom lens — 9.5mm to 437mm — for 4K video

If you're watching a sports game next year and see the view zoom from an extreme wide angle to up close and personal, Fujifilm's new lens may be to blame. Here's how Fujifilm technology created a 46x zoom 9.5-437mm lens.