Google Photos is Google’s AI-powered default gallery app on top Android phones, and it remains one of the best enterprise products in recent years. It’s packed with editing tools, a neat media organization, cloud backup, seamless sharing, and cross-platform accessibility. Whether you’re looking for a beginner’s guide or looking to improve your Google Photos experience, we’ve covered everything you need to know about Google’s media storage service.
Google Photos works on most operating systems, including Android and iOS
The Google Photos app is available on iOS, iPad and Android. Although not as feature-rich as the mobile apps, the service is also available online. Whether you’re using a Windows PC, Mac, or Chrome OS device, you can easily download photos, upload media files, and access basic Google Photos app features online. Just go to the photos.google.com web version to find your uploaded photos and videos.
The Google Photos mobile app comes built-in on all Android phones, while iPhone users can download it from the Apple App Store.
Select quality for upload size
The AI features of Google Photos are unlocked when you upload your photos and videos to the company’s servers. The service analyzes your uploaded files to show recommendations and improve your media collection.
Follow these steps to check the available media upload options:
- Open Google Photos.
- Press your profile picture.
- Press Settings for images.
- Press Backup and sync.
- Press Upload size.
- Choose an image quality for your image uploads.
Google used to offer unlimited storage for original quality uploads to Pixel users. With the Pixel 4, Google scrapped the lucrative add-on. The option backs up your photos and videos in full resolution. If you plan to take a lot of photos in full resolution (48MP, 64MP, 108MP or 200MP), use the Original Quality option. It is also suitable for large prints without quality loss.
It’s a nice balance between original quality and the Express option. Storage saving saves more media files with slightly reduced quality. It compresses photos to 16 megapixels and videos to high quality to save storage space. The media uploads offer respectable quality printing up to 24 x 16 inches.
If you’re low on Google Drive storage or have a slow internet connection, choose Express to back up media at the lowest possible resolution. Google Photos compresses videos to standard definition and images to 3 MP to save image storage. The Express option is only available on an Android device. You won’t find the same on Google Photos for iPhone.
Google Photos shows the backup quality and file size of all your photos and videos. Swipe up on any image and check the information below Details Menu.
All your Google Photos uploads count against the standard 15GB of cloud storage, which is shared with Gmail and Google’s productivity apps. You can check your Google Account free storage from Backup and sync Menu. You can also manage and upgrade to one of the Google One plans to unlock more storage and photo editing features. If you’re not sure what Google One is, take a look at our dedicated guide to find out more about pricing and benefits.
Google Photos editing features
Google abandoned Snapseed (last updated March 2020) and has been slowly bringing photo editing features to Google Photos. You can use AI recommendations, crop, portrait blur, magic eraser, color focus, adjust brightness, contrast, HDR, white point, shadows and saturation, and use built-in filters to keep your photos Instagram-ready. Check out our top Google Photos editing tips and tricks to learn more.
Apart from photo and video editing, you can also create collages, animations and movies from Library > Tool Menu.
In select regions, Google allows you to create physical photo books. Pricing for softcover and hardcover books starts at $15 and $30, respectively. Check out our top tips for creating photo books with Google Photos.
AI features in Google Photos
When you upload your media library to Google Photos, the company’s machine learning kicks in. You get ready-to-use collages, animated images and movie recommendations that you can save in Google Photos. The service detects similar images (food, sky, forest, people) and often suggests collages and movies. The AI magic also works during photo editing, which shows more features below Suggestion tab to enhance your photos.
Google Photos is smart enough to detect faces from your uploaded photos. Once you have assigned a name to a person, use the search field at the top and quickly pull images by typing the name.
Google Photos also comes with Google Lens integration to quickly find product information and visual matches on the web.
Sharing in Google Photos
With seamless sharing tools, Google Photos completely blows away the best gallery apps in the Google Play Store. You can create sharable albums of your best photos, invite others to collaborate, start a conversation on an album with comments and likes, disable link sharing for privacy purposes, and be notified of every new activity in the shared album.
Navigate to Sharing > Create shared albumgive it a title, add images manually or select people and pets to create an album that updates automatically, and share photos with friends and family.
You can generate shareable links, start conversations with someone to seamlessly exchange photos, and enable partner sharing. The latter is especially useful for keeping your gallery in sync with your loved one.
From Sharing > Share with partner, choose your partner and choose what you want to share. Once your partner accepts the invitation, they can see all your selected photos in the Google Photos library and save the selected ones to the library. Your partner can also choose to share their photos with you.
During a potluck or family gathering, you can stream your Google Photo library to your smart TV and start a slideshow of recent vacation photos.
You can use Google Photos’ locked folder to keep private photos and videos from prying eyes. Go to Google Photos Library > Tool and set up Locked folder under Organize your library Menu. However, the app will not backup your media files in Locked folder, so you will not be able to access the same on other devices. Google Photos deletes the contents of the Locked folder if you uninstall the app. It’s a local solution that works offline on your phone.
Google Photos is more than a standard gallery app
Once you’ve set up Google Photos backup, sharing, and locked folder, check out our top Google Photos tips and tricks to easily manage your photos.