Want to transfer your photos from iCloud to Google Photos? Now you can

Apple have launched a free tool enabling the easy transfer of photos and videos from iCloud to Google photos. Here’s how it works.

Want to transfer your photos from iCloud to Google Photos? Now you can
Want to transfer your photos from iCloud to Google Photos? Now you can

Looking to switch from iCloud Photos to Google Photos? Until now, making that change has been time- and data-intensive, involving the manual downloading and then uploading of many gigabytes of photos and videos. Even if you don’t want to jump ship from iPhone to Android, you can now use Apple’s new service as a useful backup mechanism to safeguard your iCloud Photo Library.

What you’ll need

Before you begin, check out the requirements list on the Apple support page. Your Apple ID will need two-factor authentication turned on. It goes without saying that you’ll need to have an account with Google Photos, and you’ll need to sign into that account before you start the transfer. You’ll also need to have enough available storage in your Google account – at least 30GB. If you run out of storage, not all your items will be transferred.

The transfer process

  1. To begin the transfer, go to privacy.apple.com and sign into the Apple ID linked to your iCloud Photos account.

    Step one – visit privacy.apple.com and sign in with your apple id
  2. Select Transfer a copy of your data.

    Step two – select transfer a copy of your data
  3. Follow all of the prompts and Apple will start transferring your data to your Google Account.

    Step two – data transfer from icloud to google photos complete

Once your Apple ID and Google account are connected, that’s it! Apple does the work for you. There’s no need to download all of your videos and photos and then upload them again.

At present this service is only available to customers in Australia, Canada, the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States for transfers to Google Photos.

What format will your photos be in?

Photos and videos are transferred either in their original format or in industry-standard formats that are readable and easy to open. If you’ve been making tweaks and changes to your photos, only the most recent edits will transfer. Some content, including smart Albums, Live Photos, photo stream content, some metadata and some RAW photos can’t be transferred at all. But formats including .jpg, .png, .webp, .gif, some RAW files, .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, and .mkv files are all compatible.

How long will it take?

The transfer process takes between three and seven days. It might not be that fast, but it couldn’t be easier. When the process is complete, you’ll get an email from Apple letting you know.

Final thoughts

Transferring your photos and videos from iCloud Photos doesn’t remove them from iCloud, it simply stores a copy on Google Photos.

So why have Apple made this possible?

The cynics among us might suggest it’s more of a defensive move to repudiate accusations of monopolisation than an extended hand of friendship and collaboration between tech giants. Whatever the reason, it’s a welcome addition to Apple’s services – whether you’re making the leap from iOS to Android or you’re just after another reliable backup solution.


Aldo, a lawyer by training, is the former Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorship for Kaspersky. He co-founded Kaspersky Lab Italy in 2008 and subsequently held the positions of GM for Italy, Malta and Israel before leaving in 2013 to join the EU Operations in London as EU Director for Marketing.

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