Google Photos Backup: download all photos and videos

Want to recover all the photos backup and videos stored online with Google Photos? Use the Google Takeout service to easily download them all at once and keep them permanently on your computer.

If you have an Android phone, you probably use the Google Photos application to store all your photos and videos online on Google’s servers. This is a handy tool, as it seamlessly synchronizes with your mobile’s gallery. But as reliable as this remote storage system is, it may be a good idea to keep a local copy of your images on a computer or external drive.

Especially since Google’s policy will change as of June 1, 2021. Indeed, all the content associated with your Google account – so both Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos – will have to share the 15 GB of free storage space offered by Google. All the photos and videos you upload to Google Photos from this date onwards will be deducted from this quota – but not the ones you already have, which escape this new rule. Once the 15GB is filled, you’ll have to reach for your wallet to get more space by subscribing to one of the paid plans of Google One, Google’s online storage service. If you don’t want to pay for anything, you’ll have to clean up your act (see our handy Google Account fact sheet: managing your 15 GB of free online storage), starting by recovering the photos and videos stored on Google Photos, and eventually hosting them on another online service. 

The good news is that the operation is very simple. Google has indeed provided an export tool called Google Takeout, allowing you to retrieve all or part of the data associated with your Google account, including images from Google Photos, all with a simple web browser, without installing anything. With just a few clicks, you can request the complete export of your photo and video collection. Depending on the size of your collection, the creation of this backup will take more or less time. Once the preparation is complete, you will receive an e-mail inviting you to download one or more files containing all your images.

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  • Open your web browser and go to Google Takeout.
  • If it is not done automatically, log in to your Google account with your usual credentials.
  • By default, Google Takeout offers to download all the data associated with your Google Account. In our case, we only want to download the data from Google Photos, i.e. the photos and videos stored there. At the top of the page that appears, click on the Uncheck All menu to uncheck all the options.
  • Then scroll down to the Google Photos line and check the Your photos and videos on the Google Photos option. You will then only export the photos and videos stored on the service
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Google Takeout page and click on the Next Step button.
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  • On the new page that appears, Google Takeout offers to choose the options for your export. Keep the Send Mode (Send download link by email) and Frequency (Export once) options as they are. This way you will receive a single link in your email to download all images.
  • In the File type and size section, keep the ZIP format to obtain a compressed folder containing all your photos and videos.
  • If you have a large photo library, Google Takeout will offer to download it in several files of 2 GB by default. It is possible to choose the maximum size of the files that will compose your export. To do so, click on the associated drop-down menu and select another size from the list. When you have finished your settings, click on the Create Export button.
  • Google Takeout will then prepare to export your Google Photos library. The operation takes more or less time depending on the size of the file, and therefore on the number and quality of the photos and videos stored online.
  • Once the process is finished, Google will send you an email indicating that the export file is ready to be downloaded. Open the message and click the Download your files button to get all your photos and videos back.
  • The Manage Your Exports page will then open in your browser and start downloading the export compressed archive of your photos and videos stored on Google Photos.
  • You can also go directly back to the main Google Takeout page. In the Your Exports section, under Your Last Export, click the Download button to start downloading the compressed file(s) containing your photos and videos. Wait for them to be retrieved in the download folder on your computer. All you have to do is unzip the downloaded archive to see all your images and delete your photos and videos from Google Photos to free up space! the