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Google Photos is no longer unlimited: Switch to iCloud Photos from Apple



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Google Photos is no longer unlimited, which is a shame. Here’s how iPhone owners can switch to iCloud Photos.

Angela Lang/CNET

Google Photos users were spoiled. For years, Google allowed us to store as many photos and videos as we wanted in the cloud service, as long as Google could slightly reduce the quality without dramatically impacting how our memories looked. Better yet, it didn’t matter if you were a android phone or a iPhone — Google treated everyone equally.

That all stopped on June 1 when Google officially changed implemented a free 15GB photo storage limit. To be clear, anything saved to Google Photos before June 1, 2021 will remain free and may remain indefinitely. The new 15 GB limit only applies to anything you add after the June 1 date.

As an iPhone user, the built-in Photos app offers many of the same features as Google Photos. It keeps your photos in sync between all your Apple devices, you can search for objects in the photo — including a specific person — and even better, it does all the advanced stuff on your device, keeping your photos private.

If Google’s switcheroo persuaded you to make the jump to Apple’s iCloud Photos service, you should know that there is currently no official Google feature to transfer your library to iCloud. Instead, you have to complete the process yourself, which takes a few days from requesting a full copy of your Google Photos library to uploading everything to Apple’s servers.

Please note that Apple does not offer free photo storage. Each iCloud account comes with 5 GB of free storage, after that you need to sign up for a paid storage plan that ranges from $0.99 for 50 GB to $9.99 for 2 TB.

This is the easiest way to make the jump from Google Photos to iCloud Photos.

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Google Takeout is a handy tool for times like these.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Use Google Takeout to download your photos painlessly

The fastest and easiest way to download your entire Google Photos library is to use Google’s Takeout site. This feature allows you to pick and choose the personal data stored on Google’s servers that you want to download a copy of.

Go to takeout.google.com and sign in to your Google account. At the top of the long list of data options, click deselect everything to uncheck all the boxes next to the different categories. Scroll down until you find Google Photos, and then Check the box. Scroll to the bottom of the list and click the Next step button.

Choose the file type and size you want Google to divide your photo library into, then click Create export.

Google will then show you a date on which the export will be made. I made the request on June 2, and Takeout stated that the export would be processed on June 4.

You will receive an email with a link to download your photo library once the export is complete.

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It will take a few days to import your entire library, especially if you have a lot of photos and videos.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Two ways to import your photos to iCloud Photos

There are a number of ways to move your photos to Apple’s iCloud Photo Service.

If you are a Mac user, you can use the Photos app. If you have a PC or don’t want to use the Photos app on a Mac, you can use the iCloud website.

Use the Photos app to import your photos

After you’ve downloaded your photo library and opened the ZIP files, open the Photos app on your Mac. Click File > Import in the menu bar, then select the folder(s) where your photo library is stored. Click Import rating and then Import all new photos.

This process can take some time, depending on the size of your photo library and how fast your Mac is. If your Mac is older and your library is several gigabytes in size, I recommend starting the process before going to bed and letting it run overnight.

When the import is complete, your photos and videos will be uploaded to Apple’s iCloud photo service as long as you have it turned on. You can check if you have enabled it by clicking photos in the menu bar followed by Preferences. Check the box next to iCloud Photos.

Use iCloud.com to upload your photos

The other option is to use Apple’s iCloud website to upload your photo library. Start by visiting iCloud.com and signing in with your Apple ID. Then select the photos icon and then click the Upload icon at the top of the web page. It looks like the iCloud icon with an arrow pointing up.

Select the photos you want to store in iCloud, then click upload. You can also drag and drop the files you want to upload directly into your browser window.

As with the Photos app, this process can take some time depending on the number of photos and videos you upload and your internet speed. If your connection is slow, your library is large, or both, I recommend starting this overnight and letting it work while you sleep.

If you’re not sold on making the switch to iCloud, check out our comparison of all cloud storage services. iCloud is not just a photo storage service, you can also use it replace Dropbox with this trick. like you sign up for Apple One, you end up getting a pretty good deal.


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