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Backup Google photos and keep your images safe!

backup google photos
(Image credit: Google)

If you're looking for advice on how to backup your Google Photos account, read our quick tips below. Google Photos is now one of the world's biggest photo sharing and storage services. It's been around since 2015, and today it serves as an incredibly easy way to organize your image library online.

With unlimited storage, and a Wi-Fi auto-uploader for phones, there's a reason that Google Photos is in our guide to the best cloud storage for photos (opens in new tab). We've already shared some smarts on how to select all your photos in Google Photos (opens in new tab), but now we're looking at how to back up and sync your files – to make sure you don't lose any precious memories when you're moving between different devices.

Canon cameras can now automatically backup to Google Photos (opens in new tab), but what about your mobile devices? If you didn't already know, Google Photos can be used to back up and sync photos and videos automatically to your Google Account, making them accessible from any other device where you can log in to your account. 

In theory, you could access your content while on holiday, when traveling, or simply moving from the office to home. Better still, the whole process goes on in the background without you having to do a thing, after the quick initial setup.

While backing up photos and videos is very easy with Google Photos, there's a few things that you need to know before you start...

How to backup Google Photos: before you start

To backup Google photos, you'll need to ensure you have a decent internet connection. If you don't want Google Photos to eat up a lot of your mobile data, then you'll also need to set it to only backup media when you're connected to WiFi. More on that below, though.

There's a few restrictions on the type of files (opens in new tab) that can be backed up – your photos can't be larger than 200 MB or 150 MP, and videos need to be under 10 GB. Helpfully, Google also lists the types of RAW files (opens in new tab) that you can backup, so if you're a photographer who shots and stores RAW images (opens in new tab), check that first.

Google updated its unlimited storage policy (opens in new tab) for Google Photos in June, and you now get 15 GB of Google account storage for free. Remember that Google's maximum account storage also includes services like Google Drive and Gmail as well as Google Photos, so if you've used up your storage elsewhere, any new files you add won't be backed up automatically.

Google Photos Backup

(Image credit: Google)

Backup Google Photos on Android & iPhone

First off, you'll need to make sure that you're signed into your Google Account, and then you'll need to change the backup settings in the Google Photos app. It's actually a very similar process whether you're using an iPhone (opens in new tab) or Android device, although with Google Pixel devices, Google Photos is preloaded.

Google photos app download

(Image credit: Google)

  1. Download the Google Photos app from the Google Play store or App store. 
  2. Open the app, and agree to give the app permission to access your folders.
  3. Sign in to your Google account. In the top right of the app, tap your account profile photo.
  4. Select Google Photos settings and then Backup & sync.
  5. Here, you can turn 'Back up & sync' on or off.
  6. You can also change the Upload size and whether to Backup your photos and videos using mobile data, or on when connected to WiFi.

Backup Google Photos on computer

Google Photos desktop screenshot

(Image credit: Google)

There are two ways to backup Google Photos on a computer; you can set up Google Drive for desktop or just upload items to Google Photos from a web browser.

If you want to download Google Drive to your desktop, simply sign in to your Google Account, select the images or folders that you want to back up and then click Back up to Google Photos, Done and Save.

Google Drive and Google Photos operate separately, so if you delete a photo from Google Photos, it'll still be in your Google Drive and on your computer – and vice versa. Handy for any accidental removals!

You might also like to look at the best Google phone (opens in new tab)s and the best cloud storage for photos (opens in new tab). If you're someone who likes storing your photos on a hard drive, check out the best portable hard drives (opens in new tab).

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Lauren Scott
Managing Editor

Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.