How to download all of your Google Photos images

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Do you have all your photos automatically saved to your Google Photos account? What if you want to download all those photos and save them to your computer? Here’s how.

 

Storing all of your photos on Google Photos is a good thing. It’s kind of like an automatic backup for the photos you take on your phone, and it’s free.

But over time, you can accumulate a LOT of photos on there. And if that’s the only place where those photos are saved, it would make me a little nervous. What if your Google account gets hacked into, and you no longer have access to it? Or something else happens, and you can’t log in? I’m a lot more comfortable if all those photos – which might represent years or even decades of events – are stored in a second location. Specifically, my computer.

When you have all those photos also stored on your computer, you have control of that. In addition, if you follow my recommendations, you’re backing up your computer regularly. So that means those photos would also be backed up. When you store your important things in more than one place, one of them can go haywire and you still have the others.

And how do you get these photos from Google Photos to your computer? Well, you could right click and download them one at a time. If you only have a few, that might be okay. But most people have hundreds or even thousands of photos there. So we need a more efficient process.

For this we’ll use a service that Google provides, called Google Takeout. It’s at takeout.google.com.

When you go there and log in to your Google account (if you’re not already logged in), you’ll see LOTS of data that Google is storing for you. Your Chrome history, your calendar, your contacts, and many more things.

But for this exercise we’re just concerned about the photos. So at the top of the list of data, click where it says “Deselect all”, then scroll down to the Google Photos section and check that one box out to the right:

Google Photos

And if you did not already know this, you’ll also be downloading all of your videos that are stored there as well.

Now, scroll all the way to the bottom and click on Next Step.

Now you can choose the option that says “Export once” (unless you want to set this up on a recurring schedule). I recommend keeping the “.zip” file format:

Google Photos

 

Now click on Create Export in the lower right.

And here’s where we wait. In fact, we might be waiting quite some time. Google will even tell you, it might take hours for them to complete this task. They even say it might take days. Not much you can do about it though; it’s going to take however long it takes.
Google Photos
When it’s done, you’ll get an email (at your Gmail email address) to let you know they have created the export. Now all you have to do is click the link to download it.
Once the download is on your computer, you can store the files where you want. You can leave them inside the zipped folders, or you can take them out and store them in your Pictures folder, whatever you prefer. The important thing is that they are still on Google Photos, and they are also stored on your computer. And after your next overnight backup, they will also be on your backup drive.
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