It’s easy to feel like you’re tied with a cloud service like iCloud or Google Photos if you’ve got a lot of photos and videos stored there. Apple users in particular stick very closely to iCloud. So, if you’ve been using iCloud Photos and are considering switching to Google Photos, you’ll be happy to know that Apple makes the transfer process quite simple.
You can utilize Apple’s built-in tools to create a backup of your iCloud Photos library, even if you are not planning to transfer from an iPhone to an Android device. The necessary steps and prerequisites are outlined below.
How to Move iCloud to Google Photos on iPhone
If you want to switch from iCloud photos to Google Photos on your iPhone, the easiest way to do it is to download and install Google Photos on your iPhone. This is because you won’t need to download your photos from iCloud Photos manually. Instructions to be followed are as follows:
Step 1: Visit the login page for Apple Data and Privacy.
Step 2: Log in to your iCloud account with the necessary login credentials, then scroll to the second option, “Transfer a copy of your data,” and underneath that select “Request to transfer a copy of your data“.
Step 3: From the drop-down option, select Google Photos as the location where you wish to transfer the photos, then mark the checkboxes for photos, videos, or both and select Continue.
Step 4: Confirm the storage space needed on the next screen and hit Continue, then log in to the Google account where you wish to upload the iCloud images and videos.
Step 5: Click the Allow option to grant Apple data and privacy permission to add photographs and videos to your Google photos.
Step 6: Confirm the details and click “Confirm Transfer.”
This transfer procedure typically requires three to seven days to complete. Apple will send you an email confirmation after the transfer operation has been completed.
Move Photos from iCloud to Google Photos Manually
If you don’t want to wait at Apple’s mercy to transfer your iCloud library, you can chose to manually add the pictures (and videos) to Google Photos. This method is only recommended if you already have the library downloaded locally.
Step 1: Navigate to icloud.com, enter your Apple ID credentials and log in, then select Photos.
Step 2: Choose the images you want to upload to Google Photos, hold Ctrl on Windows or the Command key on Mac to select multiple images.
Step 3: Hit the Download button in the top-right corner of your screen. A ZIP file containing all the pictures you selected should start downloading.
Step 4: Once the file has downloaded, simply open it to automatically extract the contents inside. A new folder named identically to the ZIP file will be created containing all your images and videos, ready for uploading.
Step 5: Go to Google Photos and sign in with your Google Account credentials.
Step 6: Once logged in, on the homepage, click on the “Upload” icon in the top-right corner. Select the images you just extracted and hit Enter (or Return).
You will see a progress bar in the bottom-left corner of your screen showing the images being uploaded. This way you will know exactly when they’re done uploading. The time obviously depends on how large your library is and the speed of your internet. You just need to make sure you have enough storage in your Google account to facilitate all the photos and videos. Google only provides 15GB for free, but you can always get more.
Google Drive vs. Google Photos
Google technically offers two places where you can (transfer and) store your library. Understanding the difference between Google Drive and Google Photos is important here. Drive is a cloud-storage platform, meaning that you can upload any file to it, including photos and videos, but it’s pretty basic when it comes to any features.
Google Photos, on the other hand, is built around managing your digital media. Photos offers extensive tools to edit, manage, organize, and fine-tune your library. You even unlock additional editing features if you’ve purchased Google One, compared to getting absolutely nothing if you paid for extra Google Drive storage.
If I were to boil it down to basics, Google Photos is akin to Apple Photos and Google Drive is akin to iCloud Drive. Sure, you can save pictures directly in iCloud Drive, they won’t benefit from the added functionality Apple Photos offers, just like with Google Drive and Photos. And that’s why we recommend sticking to Google Photos.