How to transfer your photo backups out of Google Photos

Google Photos is ending its unlimited photo service on June 1. It's time to pay up or back your memories up elsewhere.

Google Photos app icon. Picture backup iCloud photos archive.

Google Photos has, for more than half a decade, been a haven of free picture backup across operating systems.

Now Google’s generosity is coming to an end. Starting June 1, new uploaded photos will count towards Google’s free 15GB of overall cloud storage.


Those with large Google Photos backups now have two options:

- Pay up for more Google storage.

- Back up your photos elsewhere.


If you’re not into the idea of shelling out money to Google or losing your surplus of photos stored in Google’s cloud, we’re going to tell you how to transfer your personal pics to your computer or another cloud service so you can decide where they’ll live next.

The good news:

Google has a dedicated tool for downloading your data.

The bad news:

it might take you a while to do so.

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First head to and log in with the Google account linked to your Photos backup.

Google Takeout tracks all your data across the Google ecosystem. If you’re just looking to download your photos, go ahead and hit the “Deselect All” button and then scroll down to just select Google Photos.

You can click, “All photo albums included” if you want to filter out some of your backup — by year, for example. Hit, “Next step” when you’re done.

Next, Google will ask how you’d like your data delivered. We suggest using the default settings. This will split your export into 2GB .zip files — very manageable.

At this point you can also ask Google to send your data directly to another cloud service, if you have more storage there. Choose from Dropbox, One Drive, or Box. An emailed link works just as well.

Click, “Create export” — and that’s pretty much it. Google’s servers will work on packaging your backup in the background and you’ll get an email when it’s complete.

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Once Google’s emailed you to say the export is complete, head to the included link and start downloading. If you decide to have Google send your photos to another service like Dropbox, a link to the new files will now show up at

Now all you have to do is figure out where to put your photos next. If you’re locked into Apple’s ecosystem, iCloud is probably your best bet, but there are plenty of other backup options across operating systems. And there’s always the good ol’ external hard drive, if all else fails.

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