How To Download Your Google Photos - Preserve Your Memories
Updated: May 16,2022
Whenever I return from a holiday trip, I bring many bags with spices, a couple of souvenirs, and hundreds of pictures, like the most cliche tourist. At least I did until Google decided to limit the number of high-quality photos its photo backup tool can make on June 1, 2021. Now, if you, like me, experience existential dread by wondering if you’ve filled the free 15GB cloud storage space, worry not. We’ll show you how to download your Google photos and keep them in your own archive instead.
In 2011, a newspaper photography collector from Arkansas, John Rogers, had 35 million pictures in his collection. Now imagine if he struggled for hours to upload pics with his compact iPhone or Samsung phone, only to be forced to take them down later. That endeavor would drive even those with a will of steel crazy, no doubt. Luckily, there are many ways to get your pics back from the tech giant’s cloud computing service and download all photos from the Google Photos app. You don’t even need special tools or an image downloader to do this.
Google Photos and the Storage Limitation
For years we could enjoy storing nearly an endless number of high-resolution pictures on Google Photos. However, from June 1, new rules force users to either pay for a Google One subscription or take special care with their 15GB Google storage capacity. And that capacity is shared between Google’s Gmail, Photos, and Drive services.
The good news is that Google will exempt already uploaded high-quality photos from the user’s total 15GB storage capacity, even after the June deadline. The same goes for images made on Pixel smartphone models, whose users don’t have to worry about having to download all from the Google Photos app.
The change will undoubtedly make some users switch to other cloud storage services and alternatives to Google’s album archive or store photos on external hard drives for safekeeping. Whatever the case, it might be wise to be prepared and start backing up your photo collection on Google’s cloud. I know I will be archiving my collection from Mano del Desierto in Chile, for one. Speaking of which, let’s get into how to download all of your Google photos onto your computer.
Preserving One Memento at a Time
If you want to download one photo at a time, there is a direct way to do this. From your browser, type in photos.google.com, and from here, log into your Google account. Open any image, then click on the three dots option in the top right corner and select the download button. “And what if I want to download a handful of Google pics immediately?” I hear you say. There is a simple way to do that as well.
Downloading one picture at a time can be very time-consuming. Likewise, some people may not need to download all photographs from Google Photos. That is why you can select and Google download several images at once instead of trying to download all Google photos to the computer individually. Point your mouse cursor over a picture, and click on the transparent checkmark on the top left corner. You can select multiple photos this way and prep them to be downloaded together.
Alternatively, click and hold the shift button to quickly select as many pictures as you want. Then select the three dots menu in the corner and click on Download to start archiving them. Do note that chosen photographs will be compressed and downloaded in the form of a ZIP file.
“But what if I want to download all the images from my last holiday quickly?” someone always asks. Doing this couldn’t be any easier with albums in Google Photos. To start the Google Photos bulk download, arrange pictures into albums, then click the View All Albums button from the Albums tab. Then select a Google Photo album to open it, click the three dots menu in the right corner of the screen, and select the Download all button.
“Oh, and what if I have pictures in my email or other Google services?” I hear you ask. In that case, download everything you’ve got in Google Photos with these easy steps. The best way is to use the Google Takeout service to export your data from various Google services, including Google Photos. It’s so straightforward that everyone from kids to seniors using smartphones will have no problems whatsoever. Start by going to the Google Takeout service by typing takeout.google.com into your browser’s navigation panel.
To download all Google photos at once, log into the Google Takeout service with your Google account, then select the Create a New Export option. Here, you can choose what content to download by clicking on the checkboxes for every Google service. So, to get only photos and nothing else, deselect all checkboxes except the one for Google Photos. Another way to do this is to click the “Deselect All” option and then click the checkbox for Google Photos. This is the perfect option for getting photos from your kids’ smartphones.
Here, you will also have an option to click on the “All photo albums included” to choose which albums you want. I do this when I download all my Google photos, as I prefer bulk transfers for their time efficiency. When you select albums, click OK, then select the Next Step and the bottom of the main page.
A second window called “Choose file type, frequency & destination” will open. Here you can fine-tune download settings and personalize them for a unique customer experience. It allows you to choose how to download your files or schedule automatic downloads or backups. Under the file size, you can select how your download will be compressed - as a .zip or a .tgz file. You can also choose the part sizes, splitting the file into many smaller archives or few larger ones. Congrats - you’ve mastered the penultimate step on the way to knowing how to download all your Google photos.
The last step is very simple. Click on “Create Report” for Google to create a backup of your files and provide you with a download link for your data. This process might take from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on the download size. For example, a collection of 1,237 of my saved images of Chile landscapes will probably take a fair bit longer to download than your Instagram collection from that brunch yesterday. With how many users Instagram is getting these days, though, their own cloud storage may need some upgrades.
Frequently Asked Questions
With Google Takeout, you can quickly export and download pictures and other media to your computer.
For more information on how to download your Google photos, check out our guide above. It all starts by going to photos.google.com, logging into your Google account, and clicking on the three dots button in the upper left corner of your browser.
Once you’re in the Google Photo interface in your browser, click on the photo to open it, then go to the top right corner of the page to click on the three dots button and select the Download option.
Many users have expressed fears that Google services’ data gathering procedures can negatively affect users’ privacy online. It’s no worse than Facebook, Instagram, or other similar software, though, so if you are okay with their privacy rules, Google shouldn’t be a problem.
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With a degree in humanities and a knack for the history of tech, Jovan was always interested in how technology shapes both us as human beings and our social landscapes. When he isn't binging on news and trying to predict the latest tech fads, you may find him trapped within the covers of a generic 80s cyberpunk thriller.