How to Move Your Photos from Apple Photos to Google Photos and Vice Versa

How to Save iCloud Photos and Clear Storage on Your iPhone

If you traded in your iPhone for a Google Pixel — or you’ve decided to get rid of your Pixel and get an iPhone 7 Plus — there might be the need to switch your cloud photo libraries to the opposite service — Apple Photos to Google Photos, or Google Photos to Apple Photos.

Of course, there’s no reason to just use one service or the other. Apple Photos is very much built into Cupertino’s various devices, whereas Google Photos is a nimble, web- and browser-based service. They can certainly complement each other. But for the sake of simplicity, here’s how to switch all of your content over en masse.

How to Switch from Apple Photos to Google Photos

  1. Download the Google Photos app for iOS, or the desktop app for macOS.
  2. The Google Photos Mac app will ask you which photo libraries you want to back up, whereas the iOS app will simply back up all the photos it finds. From here, it’s pretty easy just to find the content on your devices.

Either Google Photos app will likely miss the content you’ve uploaded to iCloud and deleted from your device, however. To get those photos to upload to Google, simply follow these steps.

  1. On a Mac, launch the Photos app.
  2. Open the Photos menu, and click on Preferences.
  3. Switch the toggle to iCloud, and ensure that Download Originals to Mac is selected.
  4. On an iOS device, open Settings.
  5. Tap iCloud.
  6. Go to the Photos menu.
  7. Tap on Download and Keep Originals.

Alternatively, you could use the iCloud browser client to download pictures individually, or in bulk. Once they’re on your computer’s hard drive, you can upload them pretty easily to Google Photos via the app or a web browser.

How to Switch from Google Photos to Apple Photos

Similarly, switching from Google Photos to Apple Photos isn’t that difficult of a process — but it does require a computer. There’s no way to switch directly from Google’s cloud service to Apple’s. In any case, here’s the opposite process.

  1. Open Google Drive via web browser on your Mac.
  2. Open the Settings page.
  3. Go to the General tab.
  4. Make sure ‘Automatically put your Google Photos into a folder in My Drive’ is enabled.
  5. Download the macOS Google Photos app.
  6. Ensure that the Google Photos folder is selected when it asks for a list of photos to sync.
  7. Open the Photos app.
  8. Click File and Import, and select the Google Photos folder.

If you’re on a Windows machine — instead of a Mac — stop at Step 6, and use iTunes to sync the folder to your iOS device. Alternatively, you can use the iCloud web site to upload your photos to the Photo Library.

There’s also a service called Google Takeout, which you can use to download a compressed folder with all of the images and videos in Google Photos.

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