After launching in 2015 with free unlimited storage and marketing the service around this key feature, Google Photos has become a popular option even for Apple users. However, that changes as the company announced last fall that the free unlimited storage ends June 1. Read on to learn how to export Google Photos to iCloud Photos.
Instead of free unlimited storage, a limit of 15 GB will apply to photos and videos added from June 1, 2021. This will keep your previously added content safe. However, this will likely make some Apple users reconsider their photo strategy and take a look at Apple One bundles.
As Google Photos moves to the new 15GB limit, Amazon remains one of the last to offer unlimited free photo storage (for Prime members, but limit videos to 5 GB on the free level).
As for the paid plans, Google One storage works at $ 2 / month for 100GB, $ 3 / month for 200GB, $ 10 / month for 2TB. There are also annual payment options at $ 20 / $ 30 / $ 100 to save money.
But if you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem, upgrading your iCloud storage may be a better option. The prices for iCloud storage alone are $ 1 / month for 50GB, $ 3 / month for 200GB, and $ 10 / month for 2TB.
However, you might be better off looking at Apple One bundles that include iCloud storage to save money if you are using other services like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, News +, TV +, etc.
How to export Google Photos to iCloud Photos
How to download your Google Photos library
Option 1 – Download all your Google photos at once
- You can go to takeout.google.com to download a full copy of your Google Photos library
- To simply export photos / videos, click “Deselect All” on the right side
- Scroll or swipe down, check the box next to Google Photos
- Go all the way down and choose “Next step”
- Choose your preferences for the export, including frequency, file type and size
- Click or tap “Create an export”
- You will see an “Export progress” message when the request has been submitted (note that the process may take “hours or days” depending on the size of your library), look for an email from Google to find out when it is is ready
- You can also leave the page open and you will see a “Download” button when the export is ready.
Here is what it looks like:
Option 2 – better to download specific Google Photos content
You can also go to photos.google.com on any computer or the Google Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, or other device to upload photos and videos. This option is convenient if you want to export limited photos / videos.
Mac / PC on the web
- On the web, go to photos.google.com and sign in if you’re not already.
- Hover over the photos and click the circular check icon in the upper left corner of the images
- You can select everything by selecting photos at the top left of your library and while holding down the Shift key, scroll down to the bottom of your library and select the last image / video
- You can now use the Shift + D keyboard shortcut to download them, or use the vertical 3 dot icon in the upper right corner and choose “Download”
On the iOS Google Photos app
- Open the Google Photos app on your iPhone or iPad
- Long press a photo to select it
- You can long press and then drag to select many photos / videos or use the circle icon to select content by date range
- Tap the share icon at the top (square with up arrow)
- Choose “Share with …” at the bottom
- You can now AirDrop your photos / videos or send them to your email address
How to import iCloud photos
Now that you have the photos / videos you want to export from Google, here’s how to import them to iCloud Photos.
- Open the Photos app on your Mac
- You can drag and drop either the full Takeout download from Google Photos or a folder of folders that you downloaded manually from photos.google.com or the app.
- Click on Photos in the menu bar at the top of your screen
- Now choose Preferences> iCloud> Make sure the iCloud Photos box is checked so that everything syncs with your iPhone and iPad (this can be checked by going to Settings> Photos> iCloud Photos on these devices)
Another option depending on how many photos / videos you have would be to AirDrop them from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad with iCloud Photos enabled. From your Mac, select Photos> right click> Share> AirDrop.
On the Web
- On the web, go to icloud.com and log in
- Choose photos
- Click on the cloud icon with the up arrow to upload photos
- With how Google Photos Takeout export works, you cannot import everything from download (it separates all photos / videos by date into different folders), so you will have to manually move items to import through icloud.com or it may be better to use the Photos app option above
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