google photos

How to download photos from Google Photos and back them up safely

Google Photos: Your Photos vault

Google Photos was launched in May 2015 as a photo storage app. Little did they know that the photo app would turn out to be the most sought after photo storage app six years down the line. 

Every week, Google Photos stores more than 28 billion photos and is a repository to more than 4 trillion photos worldwide. 

In the course of that time, the need for storage evolved and Google Photos became a better product. But last November, Google announced that it will end free unlimited storage on Google Photos on June 1, 2021, which is tomorrow. So there can’t be a better time to write about this. 

But what does this mean for you? And should you be worried? Let’s find out!


Google Photos’ free unlimited storage ends on Tuesday, June 1st

Google Photos adds a feature that lets you search for text in your pictures

Exploring: Google Photos for Android – The New Stuff

Google’s new plan

As per a Google blog,

Starting June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member. Your Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail and Photos. This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage. And, as always, we uphold our commitment to not use information in Google Photos for advertising purposes. We know this is a big shift and may come as a surprise, so we wanted to let you know well in advance and give you resources to make this easier.

So this unlimited storage end surely means a lot for you unless you are not concerned about the monthly storage charges of $1.99 for 100 GB cloud storage across all the Google services. So unless and until you pay for the extra storage, you don’t have to worry about your photos.

Note that the new policy will not delete any images you have on the Google Photos app right now. You just won’t be able to store any more new images once you reach the 15 GB storage limit across all the Google services. Read this detailed article for more information about the updated Google Photos policy

Otherwise, you need to consider any of the below methods to download and safely backup your photos. Read on!

Ways to download photos and other media from Google Photos

1. Save photos to device

To save your photos to your Android device, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open the Google Photos app on your phone

Step 2: Select the photo/s and/or video/s you want to backup by long pressing them

Step 3: Tap the menu icon on the top right corner of your Google Photos app

Step 4: Next, tap ‘Save to device’ to save the photo or video to the device. 

Alternatively, you can tap the image and select Download to download the image backup on the device. 

2. Use an alternative backup app

Strictly speaking, every photo backup app offers limited free storage. Be it Dropbox, Flickr, Microsoft OneDrive, or Snapfish, each of these apps come with limited free storage and you have to pay for storage above their limit. Interestingly, Google Photos offers the largest storage among all other photo storage apps. 

But that’s not the end of the road for your photos backup issue. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you are lucky as you have access to unlimited storage on the Amazon Photos app. Check out the features of Amazon Photos.

  • Full resolution storage
  • Personalize your Fire TV and Echo
  • High-quality prints
  • View memories from years ago
  • Add music to special moments
  • Slideshow to relive the good ol’ times
  • Share full resolution photos and videos
  • 5Gb video storage

3. Save photos in SD card

Transferring photos from your Google Photos account to an SD card will not just help you safely backup your memorable photos, but is also an effective way to clean up your Android phone. 

To safely backup your photos and videos to an SD card, follow these steps.

Step 1: Open the Files by Google app on your Android phone. If you  don’t have the app installed on your phone yet, tap on the below button to get it from the Play Store. 

Step 2: Now, tap ‘Clean’ on the bottom left corner of the app

Step 3: Now, locate the ‘Move to SD card’ option and tap Select and free up. 

Step 4: Next, to the Free up option, you’ll see the space you can save by transferring the media to your SD card. Select the files you would like to transfer to your SD card. 

Step 5: Finally, tap ‘Move to SD card.’ All the selected photos and videos will be saved on your SD card. 

This is, in my opinion, the best method to safely backup your photos on the Google Photos app. An SD card is much cheaper when compared to the premium subscription on the photo backup apps. 

Moreover, it is a one-time small investment when compared to the monthly or yearly renewal of storage apps. Although, you can buy as much as 30 TB space on Google Photos which is more than enough to store your photos and videos for years. 

However, the 30 TB plan will cost you $299.99 per month. This infers that an SD card or a hard disk device is the storage option to choose. 

Check out the below guides to meet your SD card needs. 

7 Best SD Card for Android Phones

7 Best SD Cards for Samsung Galaxy S10

Also, you can consider buying this Sandisk SD card to backup your photos and videos. 

Sandisk Extreme 128 GB SD card
Sandisk Extreme 128 GB SD card
buy at amazon button

4. Backup photos to your computer

You can backup all the photos and videos on your Google Photos account on your PC. Check out the below steps. 

Step 1: Open your Google Photos account on your computer

Step 2: Select the photo or video you want to download and backup on your computer

Step 3: On the top right corner, click on menu icon

Step 4: Next, click on Download or press Shift + D to download the media file. 

The photo or video will be downloaded to your computer. To locate those files, go to the Downloads folder on your computer. 

Suggested reads:

How to Remove Google Photos From Gallery

Best Photo Backup App for Android – The Security Angle

How to Automatically Backup Photos and Videos on Android


Backup your photos 

The upgraded Google Photos policy will not delete your photos currently there on your Google Photos account. However, once you reach the maximum storage limit of 15 GB for your Google account, you may be forced to upgrade to a premium subscription on Google One. 

But with the methods I listed above, you can save yourself some bucks and safely backup your media files on Google Photos. Personally, I recommend backing up your photos to an SD card. It is available at a much lower cost compared to the premium subscription on photo storage apps. 

Also, if you already have an Amazon Prime membership, you can leverage the Amazon Photos app to backup your photos. 

I hope this article brought some value to your Android usage. Which method are you going to use to download and backup your photos? Let me know in the comments section below. See you next time, take care and stay safe! Cheers!

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