If you’re anything like us, you’re taking more photos than ever but there’s an important next step which is often overlooked — organizing and archiving.

Google Photos is our favorite solution for storing, organizing, and sharing photos and videos.

It’s easy to use and it’s free, yet many people still don’t know about this useful service. We’re here to help!

This complete guide explains how Google Photos works, how to get started, and lots of tips and tricks for getting the most out of it.

Google Photos boasts many excellent features.

Use the menu below to navigate our guide and learn all about Google Photos.

Don’t have time to read the guide? Here is a two page cheat sheet you’re welcome to download and share.

📌 Download the PDF summary.

The Basics – What Is Google Photos?

Google Photos logo

Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by Google. It was released in 2015 and is now hugely popular worldwide.

Google Photos stores your photos and videos in “the cloud” — this is just tech-talk for online storage.

In the past, you might have plugged your phone or camera into your computer and laboriously transferred all your photos and videos. From there, you might have backed up your computer on an external hard drive.

While extra backups can still be a good idea, especially for important files, storing your photos and videos in the cloud does have many advantages, such as:

  • It’s quick and easy — you can set up backups to occur automatically when you’re connected to wifi.
  • You can access your photos or videos from any device (phone, tablet, computer) as long as you have internet access.
  • Sharing albums, photos, or videos with others is simple.
  • Running out of storage on your phone is a thing of the past! Once your photos or videos have been uploaded, you can free up space on your phone.

There are a number of services available where you can store your photos in the cloud but Google Photos is particularly popular. Let’s take a look at why.

The Benefits of Google Photos

These are the main reasons why we consider Google Photos the best cloud storage service going around:

  • You get unlimited storage for free. You can pay if you want your photos stored with the original resolution but you’ll probably find the standard high quality free version is fine. (Images over 16MP are compressed to size, and videos are capped at 1080p resolution). We explain storage more later on.
  • It’s packed with numerous features to organize, use, share, and manage photos and videos.
  • It works on all devices seamlessly.
  • You don’t need to be overly tech-savvy to use Google Photos. It’s fairly intuitive and straightforward to navigate.
  • Other people don’t need to have Google Photos to be able to view the content you share with them (sharing is optional; your content is private by default).
  • You can archive photos that you want to keep, but don’t necessarily want to revisit like screenshots or receipts (find out more about archiving).
  • It’s easy to find a specific photo. You don’t need to remember the date the photo was taken. You can search by someone’s name, an event, objects, places, text in a photo, or even a map.
  • You can make movies, animations, collages, and albums to save, share, or embed.
  • You can access Google Lens to identify objects in photos, copy-paste text from textbooks and documents, translate text in textbooks and on signs, scan QR codes, and more. 
  • You can relive your favorite memories within the app (a very popular feature).

Google Photos has become more than just an app to manage your photos, it’s become the home for your life’s memories.

Here’s a summary of why we recommend Google Photos. Feel free to share this summary graphic with others!

Benefits of Google Photos Summary

How to get Started with Google Photos

Getting started with Google Photos is simple:

  1. Download the free app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Open the app and sign in to your Google account. Chances are, you’ll already have a Google account (such as Gmail). If not, it’s quick and easy to sign up.
  3. Once you’re signed in, you simply follow the prompts to start uploading your photos and videos. Be prepared: this can take a while if you have a lot of images and videos. Make sure you’re connected to wifi if you don’t want to waste your mobile data.

👉 There’s also a web version of Google Photos for uploading pictures and videos that are stored on your computer. You can view and share images and videos via the web version but the app is better for exploring memories or creating movies.

How to View Your Photos and Videos

To view your uploaded photos and videos, you simply open the app or visit the Google Photos website from any device.

Go to https://photos.google.com on the web, or tap on the Photos tab in your app to view all your photos sorted in order of date uploaded.

The great thing about Google Photos is it doesn’t matter if you use multiple devices; as long as you’re signed in to your Google account you’ll be able to access your photos and videos.

Navigating the Google Photos App

The Google Photos app has three main tabs at the bottom: Photos, Search, and Library.

You’ll notice the app looks ever so slightly different depending on whether you’re using an iPhone/iPad or Android device.

Let’s take a closer look.

The first tab is Photos. This is where you see your past Memories and most recent photos.

Google Photos photo tab screenshot

The next tab is Search. This is where you can look for your photos by person, category, map, or things. You can also view your creations: animations, collages, and movies.

Google photos search screen

The third tab is Library. Here you’ll find your Albums, Favorites, Archives, and Trash. You can also make animations, collages, and movies through the Utilities option.

Google Photos Library

You view an individual photo by tapping on it. This is also how you access the options for editing and sharing a photo.

The image below explains what all the icons on a photo mean.

Photo options

This is what the icons surrounding an individual photo mean:

  • Cast to: Allows you to stream your photos from your phone to your TV using Chromecast. If you don’t have a Chromecast, you won’t see this icon.
  • Favorite: Adds the photo to your favorites folder.
  • More Options: Lets you add to album, archive, delete, and edit photo information. You can also open the image in Snapseed which is a photo editing app.
  • Share: Used to easily share a photo with others. The icon looks a little different on iPhone/iPad but is in the same position as the image above.
  • Edit: Used to apply filters to your photos; adjust light, color, or pop; rotate or crop the photo. If you want more complex photo editing tools you’d go to More Options (…) and then Open in Snapseed.
  • Google Lens: Image recognition software designed to bring up relevant information using visual analysis. We explain this tool more further on.

Backup And Sync in the Google Photos App

If you take photos on your phone, the easiest way to get them to your Google Photos account is via backup and sync.

My phone is set to automatically upload my photos to Google Photos when I’m connected to wifi. It’s a good idea to make sure this setting is turned on if you have a limited data plan on your phone (so you don’t waste all your mobile data).

To turn on the wifi backup setting:

  • Open your Google Photos app and tap on your profile image (or initial) in the upper right corner of the app.
  • Tap Photos settings (the gear icon).
  • The first option is Backup & sync. Toggle to activate backup & sync.
  • Make sure the two options at the bottom of the screen, “Use cellular/mobile data to back up photos” and “Use cellular/mobile data to back up videos” are turned off.
How to turn on backup & sync Google Photos The Edublogger

Google Photos Search

Google Photos uses complex techniques to analyze and group photos which make its search very accurate and powerful!

You can search for people, pets, places, things, text, and more. You can type in search terms like “tennis”, “Sydney”, “Mike birthday”, “carrot cake recipe”, “Charlotte wedding” or anything else that springs to mind. You can have multiple search terms too like “2016 summer Steven picnic”.

What makes all these search options great is you don’t need to remember the specific date or even any specific details of the photo you’re looking for.

To find a specific image in Google Photos:

1. Click or tap on the Search tab at the bottom of the Google Photos app (or use the search bar on the web).

Screenshot Google Photos app search

2.  When you start typing in your search, suggestions will pop up like recent searches, people you’ve named, location and so on.

Google photo search

3.  When you enter your search term you’ll see all the options which you can then scroll through and select.

Searching Google photos
All my kangaroo photos

Naming People and Pets

If you use Google Photos a lot, it can be very helpful to name your friends and family. You can also give pets a name!

When you click on a photo of a person or pet at the top of the Search tab, it pulls up any photo you’ve uploaded to Google Photos with them in.

👉 Want pets included? Go to Photo settings > Group similar faces in your app and turn on Show pets with people.

You can name the faces of people for easy future searching too. This is how you do it:

1. In the Search tab of your app, you’ll see faces of people (or pets) who show up in a lot of your photos.

Tap on More

2. Tap on the photo of the person or pet you want to name.

Tap on photo

3.  Tap on Add a Name.

Tap on Add Name

4.  Type their name and tap Done if it’s a new name.

Type name

Or select from an existing list of names if it matches an existing name you’ve already created. Then tap Yes for merge.

Tap Yes

Google Photos Memories

Memories is a feature that was added to Google Photos in 2019 and due to its popularity, it became a main feature of the app in mid-2020.

Memories are collections of some of your best photos and videos from the past. Memories are available on Android devices, iPhones, and iPad (not on the web version).

Only you can see your Memories unless you choose to share them.

To access your Memories, simply go to your Photos tab in your app. Memories are displayed in a carousel above the grid of your most recent photos.

Tapping on a preview for a year opens up your memories of photos and videos.

Memories on the Google Photos app.

You can select the types of Memories you want to see in Settings:

  • At the top right of the app, tap your account profile photo or initial and then Photo settings > Memories.
  • From here you can hide particular people, pets, and dates if you don’t want to revisit these memories.

Create Movies, Animations, and Collages

Another thing you’ll see in your Memories carousel is “creations”. These are animations, collages, movies, and re-colored images.

You can choose to save these automatic creations, ignore them, or delete them. To save creations from your Memories carousel, select “Save” at the bottom of the creation. They will then appear with the rest of your photos in the Photo tab.

You can also make your own creations such as an animation, collage, or movie.

Make Your Own Albums, Collages, Animations, and Movies

Making your own creations is simple:

  • At the bottom of the Google Photos app, tap Library and then Utilities.
  • At the bottom, find options to create an Animation, Collage, or Movie.
Screenshot Utilities in Google Photos

How to Make a Movie on Google Photos

A movie is just one of the creations available on Google Photos. It’s a great way to put a collection of photos together.

This is best done on a phone or tablet. You can do it on a computer but the computer version only allows you to create a movie from one of the pre-set themes shown below. These templates may not be what you’re after.

Google photos movies

To make a movie on your Google Photos app on your phone or tablet, tap Library and then Utilities.

From here, you’ll select Movie and then Create movie.

You’ll be prompted to choose your photos or video clips (up to 50). You can then customize your creation by choosing your music and a variety of filters.

When you’re done, there are lots of sharing options. You can share your completed video with friends, save it to your device, publish it on social media, add it to your Google Drive, or share it to a service like YouTube.

Check out these instructions from Google for step-by-step directions.

How to Make a Creation with Selected Images

Instead of choosing your creation and then choosing your photos, you can also choose your photos first and then make a creation out of them (album, movie, animation, or collage).

This is how you do that:

1. Search for your images, or browse through your images in the Photo tab of your app.

Enter search term

2.  Press hard on a photo you want to add to your creation. This selects the photo and opens up the select box.

3.  Select all the photos you want to add to your creation then tap on the + sign.

Tap on plus sign

4.  This launches the creation tools page. Select what you want to create from the list of Create new options. Then follow the prompts to complete your creation.

Selection Create New

Google Photos creations can be used in so many different ways! You could share memories of learning or excursions on your class blog. Or perhaps you’d like to make a special video for a friend or family member. The possibilities are endless.

Here’s an example of a movie created from photos.

Google Photos Albums

Google Photos uses its complex image processing techniques to automatically group photos together into Albums.

Tap on Library > Albums on your Google Photos app. Or, go to https://photos.google.com/albums on the web.

On the web, the automatically created albums are grouped at the top of the page and the albums you’ve created are displayed below.


How to Make Your Own Albums and Add Text

Albums are a great way to organize your photos and you can share them with others if you wish. You can also add text to your albums with a personal caption or description to remember the details of your image.

This is how you create an album with text captions in Google Photos:

1. Search for your images, or browse through your images in the Photo tab.

2. Press hard on the photos you want to add to your album. This selects the photo and opens up the select box.

3.  Tap on the + sign and then choose Album.

Tap on Create

4.  Replace Untitled with your title.

Add title

5.  Tap on the Add Text icon (Tt) to add a text box to your album.

Text icon

6.  Add your text.

Add your text

7.  You can add as many text boxes to your album as needed and change the order of text boxes and photos.

Press hard on the text box or photo you want to move to another location in your album then drag/drop to the new location.

Drag drop text box

8.  Tap on the Save icon when you’ve finished editing your album.

Tap save

You can open up an album to add more photos, delete photos, or add more text by tapping on the More link

Tap on more

and then tap on Edit album.

Edit album

How to Share Your Google Photos Albums with Others

While albums are private by default, they can be great to share with family or friends. When you share an album with someone, they won’t be able to see all the photos in your Google Photos account — just the contents of the album.

This is how you share a Google Photos album with others:

1. Tap on the Share icon inside your album.

Tap on Share

2. This launches the share options.

👉 I usually share using the Get Link option as you can easily put this in an email, a message, or on social media.

Get link

Here is one of my shared Google Photos albums with text added so you can see what it looks like.

Google Lens

Google Lens is image recognition software designed to bring up relevant information using visual analysis.

When you view a photo in your Google Photos app on your mobile device, you’ll see a Google Lens icon.

Google lens

Tapping on the Google lens icon makes the scanning dots appear on your picture and then Google will serve up suggestions.

Google Lens preview

Googles Lens suggests my photo is most likely a photo of a whippet.

Tapping on whippet launches the result in Google Chrome.

Whippet info

I’ve demonstrated how easy it is to identify objects using Google Lens but it is much more.

Google Lens is a fast free solution for reading and understanding information within images. The latest version of Google Lens has five modes:

  • Auto: Lens automatically provides relevant search results based on the image it sees.
  • Translate: Point at text and Lens provides a translation on top of the original words.
  • Text: Point Lens at the text you want to copy. You can even copy text from paper to your laptop.
  • Shopping: Point Lens at an item that you would like to find in a store or scan the barcode.
  • Dining: Scan a menu and Lens can highlight which dishes are popular, provide reviews, or tell you more about a particular dish if you tap on the text. You can also scan your receipt to get Lens to calculate the tip and split the bill.

Refer to our Beginner’s Guide to Google Lens to learn more.

Google Photos, Storage and Space

Some people wonder if Google Photos really is free. The answer is yes! There has to be some catch of course and with Google Photos you get unlimited free storage but your images will be compressed slightly.

Google will compress your images to 16MP resolution and your videos to 1080p. The compression really doesn’t make a difference for your everyday viewing and backup needs. If you want to store some images and videos in full resolution you can but this counts towards your 15GB limit of storage that you have for all your Google products (Google Photos, Gmail and Google Drive).

👉 If you’re running out of your 15GB of storage, check this help guide to find out how to clean up your Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos account.

If you end up wanting to purchase more storage you’d go to Photo settings > Backup & Sync > Buy storage in the Google Photos app. Here in Australia it is 100GB for $2.99/month. I don’t purchase additional storage for Google Photos as I find the unlimited “high quality” to be just fine.

Check to make sure your photos and videos are being stored in Google Photos as “high quality” (which is the unlimited free option):

  • In your Google Photos app tap your account profile photo or initial in the top right.
  • Select Photos settings > Settings > Back up & sync.
  • Select High quality or Original quality

How to Free Up Space On Your Phone

Many people find that one of the biggest advantages of Google Photos is freeing up space on your phone. No more frustrating “storage full” messages just as you’re about to capture a precious moment in time.

Once your photos are backed up in Google Photos, you can free up space on your phone by going into Photo settings in your Google Photos app > Manage device storage > Free up space.

You’ll then get a pop up telling you how many items can be deleted from your phone. Remember, you’ll still be able to access these photos at any time via Google Photos. They’ll just be gone from your phone’s camera roll.

How to free up space from Google Photos

Reversing The Process: Download Images To Your Device Or Computer

If you delete images from your phone but want them back again, downloading from Google Photos is straightforward.

How to Download Images from Google Photos on Your Phone or Tablet

Open your Google Photos app and follow these steps:

  • Open the Google Photos App.
  • Tap on the image (or select multiple images) that you want to download.
  • Press on the triple dots on the top right.
  • Tap on download or Save to device. If the photo is already on your device, this option won’t appear.
  • The image will be saved in your camera roll.

How to Download Images From Google Photos on Your Computer

You can do the same on your computer with the web version of Google Photos:

Digitize Old Photos

If you have albums or shoeboxes full of old photos lying around the house, it’s a good idea to digitize these and safely store them online.

It’s a quick process with older non-glossy photos:

  • Place the photos on a table outside where there is good light with minimal glare.
  • Take pictures of the photos (preferably using a digital camera).
  • Upload digital images to Google Photos using your computer.

Most of my old family photos were digitized using the above technique using a digital camera.

This technique won’t work for the newer glossy photos due to glare issues.

Here’s what happens:

Taken with digital camera

The solution is to use Google’s PhotoScan app on your phone. The PhotoScan app works the same as an image scanner but is easier and means you can do it using your smartphone.

Here’s the same photo taken with the PhotoScan app.

Taken with Photoscan

Here’s how to use the PhotoScan app:

  • After launching the app, position your photo within the frame.
  • Tap the shutter button. Four dots will appear and you hover your phone over each dot and hold in position until the dot is filled.
  • Once completed, PhotoScan stitches together a single image from several overlapped photos eliminating any glare and evening out exposure.

Here’s a video to show how easy PhotoScan is to use.

After you’ve finished taking your high-resolution, glare-free images using PhotoScan, you just back them up to Google Photos along with your more recent photos.

Just search for PhotoScan in your App Store or learn more about the app here. 

How to Add a Partner Account to Google Photos

If there are specific people you always share photos with (e.g. sharing photos of children with your partner), you can add them to your Google Photos account.

Simply tap your account profile photo or initial and then Photos settings > Partner Sharing > Get started.

You’ll then be prompted to enter your partner’s email address (they must have a Google account) and choose what you want to share. This could be items from a specific date or photos of a specific person.

You can change or turn off these settings at any time.

Learn more about sharing your Google Photos library with a partner in this help document.

👉 Note: If you want to hide the location on all shared images, tap your profile photo or initial in the top right and then Photo settings. Turn on Hide photo location data.

Safety and 2-Step Verification

Does the thought of uploading all your precious memories to Google Photos make you nervous? It’s understandable. Most people definitely do not want others seeing all their private photos and they might also be worried about losing photos that can’t be replaced.

Google Photos is a secure service (but of course nothing is foolproof). When you upload your photos and videos to Google Photos they are private by default; no one else can see them unless you specifically share with them. If you do share your photos or a particular album with someone via a link, there is of course the risk that the person with the link could pass it on. So only share your unique link with people you trust.

The other risk you face is if your phone is lost or stolen and you’re logged in to your Google Photos account. Your phone should have auto-lock and a passcode already as the first defense against this issue. Fortunately, Google will warn you about unauthorized attempts to access your account. You can log out of your account from another device if you think your phone has been stolen as well.

Your images and videos will not be available on the web for others to see through a Google Search or any other directory.

Three Ways to Make Your Google Photos Account Extra Secure

The following three tips will help add an extra layer of security to your precious memories on Google Photos.

1) Review your album sharing settings

If you create an album of photos it will be private by default but if you can’t remember if you’ve shared it with others, you can check by going into the album on your app and selecting the three dots (…) in the top right hand corner. Select Options and you’ll be able to review your sharing settings. If you have shared an album via a link you can turn it off at any time by selecting Make private as shown below.

Screenshot of album privacy options

2) Hide your geolocation

If you want to hide the location on all shared images, tap your profile photo or initial in the top right and then Photo settings. Turn on Hide photo location data. It always pays to be mindful about sharing your geolocation. You don’t want to give away personal details like your home or work address to people you don’t know well.

You can also turn off location settings in the camera settings on your phone or device. Find out how to turn off location services on an iPhone here and review the process for an Android here.

3) Enable 2-step verification

If you’re worried about your Google account being jeopardized by hackers, you might consider turning on 2-step verification. This means you’ll enter your password as normal and then be asked to enter a code that’s sent to your phone.

Just go to Google’s 2-Step Verification page to set up this extra security measure.

Google 2-step

👉 Want to learn more about passwords? Check out our guide to passwords on The Edublogger.

Embedding Tips for Bloggers

If you have a blog or website, you probably know that a picture or video tells a thousand words. It can really break up your text and bring your content to life.

Embedding photos, videos, or albums from Google Photos is possible but Google Photos does not offer embed codes. So you have to use a work around.

The process is also a little more difficult than it used to be as you have to use Google Drive. As of July 2019 Google Photos and Google Drive are no longer integrated. Therefore, to transfer some photos from Google Photos to Google Drive, you have to download them from Google Photos to a computer and then upload them from the computer to Google Drive. From there, you can embed!

Read on to learn the process.

Embed Photos or Videos From Google Photos

Want to embed a video to your blog or website but don’t want to upload to YouTube, like my video of dolphins in the Swan River?

Would you like readers to be able to zoom in easily on a photo? Like my photo of my Ockerby ancestry below compiled by Rev Thomas Ockerby Hurst (my great-grandfather) in 1939.

You can do both by embedding videos or images from Google Photos into your website.

How To Embed Google Photos Into Your Blog Or Website

1. Upload the photos you want to embed to Google Drive. This is long-winded since Google Photos and Google Drive are no longer integrated (as of July 2019). Therefore, to transfer some photos from Google Photos to Google Drive, you have to download them from Google Photos to a computer and then upload them from the computer to Google Drive.

  • If you don’t know how to download photos from Google Photos to your computer, these instructions explain the simple steps involved.
  • If you don’t know how to upload photos from your computer to Google Drive, these instructions walk you through the process.

2.  When the content you want to embed is in your Google Drive, click on the video or photo you want to embed and then click on the More (…) icon and select Share.

Click on Share

3.  Click on Advanced option in the Share window.

Click on Advanced

4.  Click on Change next to Private.


5.  Click on On – Anyone with a link or On – Public on the web and then click on Save.

Click Any one with link

6.  Click on Done to close the Share window.

7.  Click on the More icon and then Open in new window link.

Click Open in new window

8. Click on the More (…) icon in the new window and select Embed item.

Embed item

9.  Copy the embed code.

Copy Embed code

10. Paste the embed code into your blog post or page using Insert Embed Code in the Add Media window and then click Insert Into Post.

The method you use will depend on the website or blog platform you use. This is how you do it on Edublogs and CampusPress networks.

Add embed code

11.  Once your post is published you’ll see your photo or video embedded.

Embed Google Photo Album

Here’s how to embed a Google Photos album into your blog or website:

1.  Log into Google Photos on your computer.

2.  Click on the Album you want to embed. Click on the Share icon.

Click on Share

3.  Click on Get Link and then Copy. 

Copy share link screenshot

4.  Go to Publicalbum.org scroll down until you reach the box as shown below.

5.  Paste your Google Albums link into the box and press Create Embed Code. 

Screenshot of Public Albums

6. Here you’ll be able to change the way your album is displayed if you wish. When you’re happy, select the embed code on the right and copy it.

Screenshot Public Album

7.  In your blog dashboard, click on Add Media > Insert Embed Code. Paste your code and then click Insert into Post.

👉 The method you use will depend on the website or blog platform you use. This is how you do it on Edublogs and CampusPress networks.

Paste embed code

8.  Once the post is published you will see the album embedded as a slideshow.

Here’s an example of an embedded Google Photos album so you can see what the embed looks like.

👉 Find out ideas for using Google Photos Albums in the classroom in this post.

We’re now well and truly living in an era of digital photography and there are many advantages:

  • You can easily view and retake photos until you get the perfect shot. You’re not limited by a roll of film where you might only be able to take 24 photos!
  • There’s no waiting around for images to be processed and printed.
  • Images can be shared with family and friends in seconds, either privately or on a more public platform.
  • There are countless ways to transform images with filters, collages, slideshows, or video.
  • Most people have a phone in their pocket when they’re out and about so capturing the moment is so easy.

With all these advantages of digital photography, we shouldn’t totally forget about having hard copy prints of our precious memories.

Having a physical print, perhaps in a frame, or in a photo book can really bring the images to life. From a family history perspective, it can also be nice to have some carefully curated memories to pass on.

Google Photos helps with this too. If you’re in the USA or Canada there is a Google Photos Book printing service. If you’ve tried it, let us know!

For other countries, you’ll find that many popular photo printing and photo gift services (like Snapfish or Shutterfly) are now integrated with Google Photos. So, if you want to make a photo book, for example, you can search through your Google Photos while you’re making the book. This can be a real time saver when looking for images from certain times, locations, and so on.

Where to Find Google Photos Help

As much as we love sharing about Google Photos, we can’t provide individual help.

Please consult the official Google Photos help site https://support.google.com/photos

Here you’ll be able to search for answers to questions or ask the community.

If you have any further tips to add we’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Recommended Reading

You might also be interested in reading the following posts about photos and videos:

Google Photos is an excellent free solution for storing, organizing, and sharing photos and videos. Let's get you started!
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164 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide To Google Photos

  1. I find your step by step approach so helpful.
    I have just returned from a trip and would love to be able to upload the photos (in albums) forwarded to me by others on the trip to my Google photos account.
    Can this be done? If so, can you direct me to a site with step by step directions?
    Thanks for your help.

  2. I want to move my Google photos into albums, but they are not moving, they are added. So I end up with 2 copies of the same photo-one in its album and the other in general photos. If I delete the photo from general photos it is deleted from its album. Is the only option to archive the general photo?

  3. Hi! I uploaded my pics from my computer to GP and shared the album with other people. They on the other handed added more pictures to my album. I can see the additional pictures in the activity, however is there any way that I can download only the additional pictures to my computer without selecting the pictures individually and saving, as that is quite time consuming.

  4. Hi, I am editing my photos on Google Photos and then uploading the photos to use.com so that a school audience can view them. However, the photos uploaded are the originals, not the edited version. Can you please help me figure out how to upload the edited version??

    1. Hi Kali,
      Your device and Google Photos are in sync. If you want to only delete the device copy photo open the Google Photos app on your mobile device .
      1.Select one or more photos that are on the device.
      2.At the top right, tap on the “3 dots” menu icon.
      3.Select Delete Device Copy.
      The photos selected will be deleted from your phone, but the GP photo will stay.

      Hope this helps,

  5. Thank you for the article, but I’m still trying to figure out how to sort photos into albums from the photos instead of opening the album and then adding photos. I have a LOT of photos to organize. Doing it the album-first way, so to speak, I have to open Album A, then scroll through allllllllll my photos and add all the ones I want in Album A. Then I open Album B, scroll through alllllllll my photos to add the ones I want to Album B and so on. That takes an awful lot of time. Isn’t there I way I can scroll through my photos and add each of them to albums as I go? That would mean having to go through them once rather than repeatedly.

    1. Hi Amy,
      It depends on the device you are on, a solid tip for Desktop – Windows is to select the first image you want to add, then go to the last image you want to add and hold Ctrl+shift and click; this will select everything in between. Google Photos also automatically organizes pictures by location (Places) and I never found I have to do any sorting.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Hi Kathleen and thanks for this. You say in the “How to get started” section that there is the phone App and also a Web version for laptops etc. If I download the Web one can I also put the App on my phone and will both sources (laptop & phone pics) end up in one account?? I am a UK user.

    1. Hi Peter,

      That’s right — you can access your account from both the web and your phone app at the same time. The web version doesn’t require you to download anything. You just go to https://www.google.com/photos in your browser on any computer and sign in. To use the app, you have to download it to your phone (or tablet etc).

      Photos that you upload on your phone via the app will show up when you use the web version and vice versa.

      Hope that helps!

  7. Thanks for your very complete tutorial! But couldn’t find an answer to the main question I have: how to display photo captions (I know how to create them) in a slide show or movie.

  8. Hi – many thanks for this great article, I have one question – if you are still answering:

    I have photos in the folder “google photos” in my drive however I want to move them over to the stand alone “google photos”. do you know of a way to do that as i can’t see any way!



  9. Hi,
    I’m new to using Google Photos. How can I send out a group of photos (an album I’ve created) in an email to a group of 80 people all at once? I’ve already created this group, but can’t seem to enter into the “To” box.

    1. Hi Rick,

      I could be wrong but I believe the easiest way is to:
      1. Open your album in Google Photos
      2. Click on the share icon in the top right corner
      3. Click on ‘create link’
      4. Copy this link and paste it into your email to your 80 recipients

      Hope this helps,

  10. Hello Sue,

    Thank you for the information. I’m still looking for a solution to what I think is a simple problem.

    I would like Gmail to automatically save the photo attachments to Google Photo. This would be done as soon as the email arrives at my inbox. There will be no need for me to open the email or download the attachment or inline photo. There is no need for complicated organization. Just copy or move the photo to Google Photo. Done!

    I would also like this to happen quickly, meaning not waiting 30 minutes for something to sync.

    An even better solution would be if I could simply email directly to Google Photo (Like I used to be able to do with Flickr) and have the photo show up in a Photostream like Flickr.

    I have tried to get Gmail to automatically backup to Google DRIVE but this only seems to happen if I open the email and download the photo.

    If there is an app that will do this great, I’ll buy it. All of my experimentation has been done using Gmail and Drive and Photos online via a Windows Desktop. I have not tried any this using a Google Photos app on a phone or tablet.

    Hope you can help!

    1. Hi Rod,

      The only way I’ve found to do this is to open the email and click on the button that says ‘Download to Drive’. I know that’s not what you’re after.

      I thought there might be a Chrome Extension that lets you do this but the only one I can see is this one which lets you save any photo on the web. Not really what you’re after either!

      Sorry I can’t help more but if you do come across anything, please let me know. I’d love to add it to the post. Maybe it’s worth posting in the forums?


      Kathleen Morris
      Edublogs Community Manager

  11. Hi I granted a photo printing website access to my google photos. Is it a one time thing or does it mean that website can access to my gg photos anytime they want in the future?

    1. Hi Ted, maybe check with the photo printing service on the technicalities of that. I’d be interested to know what they say!

  12. Your article says Google has unlimited free storage, but on my phone Google tells me that I have 15 GB free and after that I have to pay. I’m unclear why this apparent difference.

    1. Hi there,

      You’re right — your Google account includes 15 GB of free storage to use across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

      Google Photos has two storage settings — original quality and high quality.

      If you upload your photos to Google Photos in original quality then this doesn’t count towards your 15GB of storage. If you upload photos in high quality it does count.

      Hope that makes sense?


  13. 4/14/19 Hi, I just wasted about 6 hours (very slow old phone, NO computer) attempting to finally organize/group photos AND memes (huge collector) in the actual Gallery+ app (area?) … & to my horror, when I went to check on the 300, or so, pix/memes I had put in the many albums … 98% are chopped-off/cropped-off AND blurry! Can anyone tell me WTH is going on? Is it my phone or just a VERY BAD FEATURE in Gallery+ that needs to be axed/86’d? Im very computer illiterate, so Im just assuming that the pre-installed Google Photos & the pre-installed Gallery+ are somehow connected.

  14. Hey guys,
    Thanks for a great and informative blog post about Google Photos.
    I’ve just recently started using this service and I now uploaded my raw files too (CR2). These files are typically +20 MB.

    You mention files above 16 MB will be compressed to (as I understand it) 16 MB max. Is this correct? When I upload the raw files they are compressed to < 1 MB.

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Lars,

      The information that Google provides says they are compressed to a maximum of 16MB. Unfortunately, I can’t find any information about the exact algorithm Google uses to determine the compression size. If you come across any more useful information please let us know so we can update the post!


    1. Hi Lyn,

      You’ll see the date range for the photos at the top of the album. To find out the date of an individual photo, click on the photo, click on the i (info icon) and you’ll find the details there.

      Hope that helps!

  15. Excellent – well written & compiled with pics and screenshots. Great many thanks. It helped me a lot. Now trying to save a pdf of this article so it comes in handy anytime on the go. Appreciate the hard work

  16. Can you tell me why the length of text is limited when I e-mail a photo from Google Photos using my gmail? Also, why doesn’t the sent e-mail show up in my Sent of gmail?

    Lots of good info, thank you.

  17. You rock. This is an amazing tutorial! I think there’s only one question not answered… it’s the one that brought me here. I am going to buy a new phone and I’m afraid it will start with photo file naming with file #0001 which my old phone started with and that photo is stored in my Google Photos account. Will a new file #0001 overwrite the other one? Do i need to figure out how to start my new phone at the end of the old phone’s file names (like file #999,999,002 cause I take A LOT of photos)? Am I making sense? Thanks!

    1. Hi MJ,

      I’m pretty sure if you have different images with the same file name they are treated as unique. I believe Google can recognise the photos as being different. So you shouldn’t have any trouble but you could always try testing it out to be sure and if you do please let us know!

      Good luck!

  18. Hi
    Can you tell me how I can stop the face tiles being added to google photos. Thousands of them appear when I have tried to save photos from my Mac at home.

  19. I moved some photos into a separate album, but I do not want those photos to appear in my general photos as they are private (for a surprise book). If I delete them from the general photos (the page that opens when you go into Google Photo), will they also be deleted from the album?

  20. Your blog is very helpful. Thx. I seem to have two google photo accounts..One with Gmail and one with Hotmail. Am in process of tr all to hotmail one. On my tablet I cannot seem to add hotmail google photo account to my Gmail photo account on the app..do u understand my problem and plse can u help sue

  21. Hello sue.
    Your article is very informative and interesting! Thank you.
    I wonder if my photos on google photos will remain after I download them to my pc
    (Just as a backup). Or is there an option to copy them?

    1. Hi Eli,

      The photos in your Google Photos account will stay there even when you download them. I often just download a handful of photos every now and then when I need them for a certain project.

      Kathleen Morris
      Edublogs Community Manager

  22. I am trying but Google Photos at this point of being stupid. I had and have thousands of pictures on Picasa. Moving pictures around putting them in the order I want not google. A lot less ability to edit pictures. eg On costal, hazy or writing as in a sign I use the contrast all the time. Even takes a black & white dull picture and really brings out the nice contrast and awesome picture. Another example is I made a trip to the Oregon coast and on the way I stopped and took a couple of pictures of a river and a down log. Went on and had pictures of a memorial, the waves, the city, etc. Google did not know I wanted those in a folder called “Coast May, 2018.” Let me do what I want. I spend more time editing pictures in my “darkroom” or computer and google photos just doesn’t hack it. So where can I rally find out how to operate this thing? I am sorry to disagree.

    1. Hi Bruce,
      Sorry to hear you’re still having trouble with Google Photos. I know when I’m having trouble figuring something out, watching a video on YouTube can help. Maybe that’s your next step.
      Good luck!

  23. If I unload the Google photos, will my photos go back to gallery ,or will I lose them, for good, if I hadn’t already?

    1. Hi Sara,

      Yes, you will need to log in to your Google Photos account with the account you were in when you uploaded them. Also, you won’t lose your original photos unless you select the option to delete them yourself.

      Hope that helps!

      1. What I meant is if I undownload google photos, will my photos go back to gallery, or will I loose all the photos that was in Google photos? Sorry,but I don’t know anything about ,any of this.

        1. Hi Sara,
          I’m not sure what ‘undownload’ means but if you delete photos they will no longer be in Google Photos. If you download photos to use them on your computer they’ll still stay in Google Photos.

  24. I downloaded google photos, but now I can’t find, had trouble with google sign in and used new account and new password, do I have to use the original to find my google photos? I know nothing about how google or anything else works on phone or computor, I have Android phone, please help in lay language! This message went to my facebook email, dont know password

  25. I have a lot of albums on Snapfish and I want to move them (or copy them) to Google Photos. What steps will I need to do to get that accomplished? Thanks!

    1. Hi Wendy,

      I think you have to download the photos from Snapfish to your computer. From there, you’ll need to upload them to Google Photos. You can do this by going to https://photos.google.com/ and clicking on ‘upload’.

      Shame there is no one-step process (that I know of). I encourage others to chime in if they have a different approach.

      Does this help?

  26. Hi!! Thanks for taking the time to write this review!! It’s incredibly detailed!!
    I have a question though. I store my photos on an external hard drive that it’s synchronized with Google Photos. I’m running out of space on the disk (which is also getting old), so I want to migrate all of it’s content to a new external disk. How can I make Google Photos recognize that those are the same photos and do not duplicate them? And not have to upload them again…I have aprox 2TB of photos in the old drive.
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Pablo,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Good question about migrating. Have you tried doing it yet? Apparently, Google Photos recognizes duplicate photos and skips them even if the file names are different etc. Clever!

      Good luck!

  27. This is the best I have found so far. Here I am. I am 85 years old. Have enjoyed photography since my mid teens. I did slides till mid 90 then started to take more hard copies and put in albums. Since 2002 I have been using a Digital and moved up to a better camera from time to time. In that same year on my computer, I saw and started to use Picasa where I named the folders by year and then by subject as Trip to coast, John BD, Christmas. Christmas time pictures might be from the securing the tree to Christmas Day. I might list them like “2018 Christmas activities Church kids program 12-15-2018”. I think you get the point. I love Picasa and the ease of editing, rearranging pictures, and I could undo all edits step by step and redo as I desired.
    With Google Photos, I can’t do anything. The other day I went to the coast and took pictures of a river on the way, some trees, then the local town and maybe a war memorial, the beach and a unique picture of some beach grass and a log. With Google Photos, it thought it knew but did not, how to select & arrange because I guess it thinks it knows how I want to arrange the pictures like I desire. I normally on the computer do something to almost every one and a big part of what I enjoy is working on the picture to create how I so desire on the computer. In high school I used the dark room to start working on some.

    What I have looked for is a illustrated book on Google Photos or a couple of chapters in a Google Illustrated book as there are for so many apts and or programs like Windows 10 simplified. My 20 year old granddaughter tells me to get with it.

    I would love to keep doing it with Picasa and I have thousands of pictures in it. It will not allow me for some reason as days ago to import pictures as I have last year. Strange I can scan pictures one by one and they go there just fine. Is there any way to help this old man enjoy photography as I have most of my life or has this come to an end for me then shoot me? Thanks for your advise.

    Rev. Bruce E. Mannning

  28. Hello! I have TONS of photos on my Google Drive and I’d like to move them onto my Google Photos. Is there any easy way to do this?

    1. Hi Nathan,
      Try going to your Google Photos account and clicking on settings. From there, look for
      “Sync photos & videos from Google Drive”
      You’ll need to toggle this option on.
      Hope that helps!

      Kathleen Morris
      Edublogs Community Manager

  29. I have thousands of pictures on my computer. Most are on Picasa and for me it has been a program that is just great. So no longer has Google stopped using it. I am 85 and not that easy to change horses in the middle of the stream. I have tried and my 20 year old granddaughter understands this but I need a “visual how to book” which I have secured showing me step by step how to do it all. I read on the computer articles like from you and think it is great but I then back out and how to remember the 25 steps to follow. I am so discouraged that I am about ready to stop taking pictures. I tried to use my SD card from my android phone and never had a problem but not it won’t permit the transfer. Maybe Picasa is not Photo shop but it works for me. I have tried to google visual books for Google Photos and cannot find any visual material to buy. I have read a number to questions and love how you explain but try to remember??? Can you and someone help me. By the way I can still copy some older photos and they go into Picasa just fine. My lover, I guess. Help!!!!

    1. Hi Bruce,

      Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your photos! Hopefully, you can get your granddaughter or someone else to sit down with you and walk through it all. And well done being such an active technology user at 85!

  30. Thank you for the nice article. I have been using Google Photos for several years. I always have my photos uploaded automatically from my Android phone; then I manage photos from a web browser on my laptop. It appears to me that it recently changed: I no longer see a way to select multiple photos and then add them to an album. I only see that I can do this one at a time. Is this an intentional downgrade?

    1. Hi Tom,
      I just checked and I can still add multiple images to albums the same as usual. In the web browser version, I just click on the photos I want to move and then click on the plus icon at the top to add them to an album.
      Not sure why you were having trouble but maybe you could test it in a different browser or clear your cache?
      Good luck!

      1. Thank you, Kathleen. I just tried it again and now the word “Album” appears in the list when I click on the plus icon. I am not certain as to why it wasn’t showing up during the last few days, but perhaps clearing the cache solved it. Also, I noticed that my browser (Firefox) just got an update yesterday as well. One of these events must have corrected the anomaly.

  31. I used Picasa primarily so that I could print two or more images onto a single sheet of premium photo paper rather than printing one image per page. Unless I am much mistaken this facility is no longer available. I don’t want to pay a photo printing service to print my images. I should have checked this out before I uploaded my 2,500 images to Google Photo, a process which took 10 or more hours to complete.

    1. Hi Michael, you’re right that Picasa has retired. I’m not too sure about the printing options with Google Photos. I do know photo printing services like Snapfish now link with Google Photos if you decide to use a printing service in the future.
      Hopefully someone else who prints at home can offer their insights here.

  32. Good info. Thanks. I’m pretty new to the platform and I’m struggling to find a way to pull photos from google photos to use elsewhere now. For instance, uploading a photo to a website I use, into a document, etc. Because they’re not on my hard drive I cannot access them as an attachment or as an upload. I’ve watched videos, tried multiple suggestions and nothing. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Jill,
      If you want to add one of your photos that stored on Google Photos to a document, for example, you can download a copy when you need it. You save the photo you want back onto your computer or phone then upload it into the document in the normal way.
      These instructions show you how to download either one photo or all photos. You can click on the tab at the top to get instructions for Android, Computer, or iPhone/iPad.
      Hope that helps?

  33. Hi,
    I use Google Photos and also Google Chrome on my PC.
    When I try and share a photo to, say FB, when I click on individual photos, I don’t get the SHARE icon at the top right of the screen.
    I tried using another browser (IE) and I do get the share icon.
    I like Google Chrome-any idea how I can get the icon to appear?

    1. Hi Paul,
      I just tested myself in Chome and I can see that share icon. I just clicked on the image and then it appeared in the top right next to other icons like edit, zoom, info etc. So it sounds like a mystery! Hopefully another reader might have some insights. Good luck!

  34. What about sharing to Facebook. So far when I have shared it gives a preview but then people need to click the link to see the full album. Is there a way to share direct with Facebook without downloading the photos first?

    1. Hi Kaylie,
      Have you had any luck with think? I read that if you click on the individual photo(s) you want in Google Photos, then click on share, you can share it to a Facebook album? Hopefully the photos will then be shared directly? If you have success, please let us know!

  35. Hello and thank you for this thorough article. My question is about seeing the photos. I used to click on Google photos and it would go to Albums then Camera to list the photos by date. Now it always starts me at Photos – still listed by date but they are much larger so it’s harder to scan through them. Can you help me fix this?

    1. Hi Karen,
      I’m glad the article was useful. I’m not sure about this change in appearance. Hopefully, if someone knows the answer to your question, they’ll be able to chime in. I can’t see any way of changing the way photos are displayed in settings.

      I know I find it helpful to just use the search bar to look for photos I’m after. I’ve also found it helpful to use the scrolling date tool that shows up on the right hand side (when you’re on a computer). You can also switch between photos and albums on the left hand side when you’re on your computer.


    1. Hi Jerry,
      This is my understanding…
      Albums are just a way to organize your photos. Similar to an analog photo album!
      Archives are for photos you don’t want to delete but don’t want to show up on your stream. These might be photos of documents or screenshots etc.
      Hope this helps!

  36. I have recently discovered Google Photos and have been able to share two albums with one person and have a third that for some reason won’t share. Is there a glitch with this app?

    1. Hi Clara, I’m not sure but perhaps you could try again or sometimes when I’m having trouble with apps it’s because the app needs to be updated? Good luck!

  37. Hi Sue,
    Is there a way to place text on an individual photo in an album? I appreciate the information about adding text to the album itself, just wondering if it is possible for each photo individually.
    Thank you.

  38. Google photos is awesome. I always have it turned on on my phone to sync any photos that I take and I haven’t lost a photo since 2011 (because I let it grab stuff from my memory card too).

    I like the rediscover feature and the auto-created content. Didn’t know you could embed stuff though so thanks for letting me know about that. Amazing post.

    1. Hi Kenyata, I pretty much feel in love with Google photos after switching to an Android phone. Makes it so easy. Love rediscover feature and the auto-created content. Hope the embedding helps!


  39. OMGosh, Sue! My head is SWIMMING with all this great info. What an improvement since Picasa!! Honestly, after I never bonded with Picasa I became a Flickr grrl. Now, this might change things…but I gotta read this like 5X! So. Much. Info! Thank you for doing this and for showing me kangaroos in the wild. I still have blurry pics of that! LOL
    Cheers dear!
    @GwynethJones – The Daring Librarian

    1. Thanks Gwyneth! Stopped using Flickr years ago for a range of reasons including 1) auto uploading by Google photos made it easier. 2) Changes to their service over the past few years concerned me. I found even more locations where you can see kangaroos for the next time you visit Perth.

  40. Excellent resource, thank you! I’ll be using it with adults at community technology sessions I run for our library.

  41. Hi Sue,
    Do the Google Photos embed options work with free Edublog accounts?
    Sarah (readlearngrow.edublogs.org)

    1. Hi Sarah

      Unfortunately due to misuse by spammers who create blogs to promote products and services we can’t allow the use of embed code on free blogs. Embed code can be used on Edublogs Pro blogs, student blogs attached to a Pro blog via My Class and CampusPress blogs.


  42. Thorough as always Sue. I have touched on Photos in the past, my only concern relates to where it sits within Google. It is not a part of the core suite of apps, therefore if you are to use it with students you should really get signed consent first?

    1. Hi Aaron,
      Thanks for making this valid point. It’s definitely always a good idea to err on the side of getting consent!

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