How to Backup iCloud Photos and Videos to Google


Illustration for the article titled How to Backup iCloud Photos and Videos to Google

Screenshot: David murphy

We’ve been talking a lot lately about ditching Google Photos for other services, mainly because it’s been a bit of a shock to see this super useful free storage service switch subscription (once it hits its 15GB storage limit across all Google services). However, that’s the way it is. And if you still prefer the conveniences of Google to, say, paying for iCloud, Apple has a new tool that you can use to copy your photos and videos from its cloud service to those of its rival.

To get started, head over to Apple Data and privacy website and sign in with your Apple ID. You will see a screen that looks like this:

Illustration for the article titled How to Backup iCloud Photos and Videos to Google

Screenshot: David murphy

Click on the “Request to transfer a copy of your data” link under similar name heading. Next, a screen will appear where you can choose the transfer destination (Google Photos) and select whether you only want to transfer your photos, your videos, or both:

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Screenshot: David murphy

You will then be prompted to sign in with your Google account and allow Apple’s tool to download data to your photo library:

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Screenshot: David murphy

As part of the copy confirmation process, Apple notes that it can take three to seven days for the transfer to complete, ah, digital life. You will also need enough free space on your Google account for all your files or else not everything will be copied if or when all of your storage fills up. Apple tries to give you a decent estimate of how much space you’ll need to clear, but err on the side of “a little more than you need” than “right on the money” if you need to do some data pruning in your Google account.

And you’ll also want to make sure you know what’s transferring before taking a drastic step like deleting your Apple account (or at least all of your previously saved photos and videos). Like apple grades:

  • The transfer includes copies of photos and videos that you store in iCloud Photos, associated with your Apple ID. Formats include: .jpg, .png, .webp, .gif, some RAW files, .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v, . 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts and .mkv files.
  • Only the most recent edit of the photo is transferred and not the original version. Duplicates appear as a single photo.
  • Whenever possible, photos are transferred with your albums. Videos are transferred separately, without their albums.
  • Once transferred to Google, album and video file names begin with “Copy of.”
  • Some of the content, including shared albums, smart albums, photo streaming content, live photos, some metadata, and photos and videos stored in other folders or locations, is not transferred at all.

Those are a lot of stipulations, so if you’re looking to make a real archive of all the media you’ve stored in iCloud, you might want to use Apple’s “Get a copy of your data” option. You can then decide what to upload to Google Photos and what may need to be archived elsewhere. And yes, that means you will use your bandwidth to make the transfers, but you will have even more control over your data.

That said, if you have the free space, or a fake Google account, having a secondary backup for most of your media never hurts.

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