Tricks to Master Google Photos

Tricks to Master Google Photos

Google Photos offers truly unlimited backup of all the photos (and videos) you take. Every single one. For free. The caveat: images must be less than 16 megapixels to qualify for unlimited storage. You can upload larger images, but Google converts them on the fly to 16 megapixels (and downgrades video shot above 1080p), with your permission. Since even the highest end iPhone today has a 12MP camera, you're not losing any quality at all most of the time.

If you upload images at their original size and quality, they will count against your allotted 15GB of free online storage with Google, which is shared with Gmail, Google Drive, and other Google services.

Google Photos came about by salvaging the best part of the Google+ social network that no one wanted to use—the photo storage and sharing.

Google Photos was built from the get-go for use on mobile devices via apps (iOS and Android) and on the web. For iOS users, it even supports Live Photos.

And did I mention the unlimited storage? As long as Google doesn't pull a Flickr and go back on that promise, Google Photos is the best place online to store, edit, tweak and share a massive amount of photos. Plus it adds new features sometimes. Read on for all the little tricks that will allow you to get the most out of your pictures on Google Photos.

Free Up device space

A feature in the mobile versions of Google Photos can save some space on phones or tablets: once an image is backed up to Google Photos, the app can delete the local version from your phone or tablet.

(That means it's not really a backed-up image anymore; Google might have your only copy.) Find it in iOS and Android via the hamburger icon () > Free Up Space. It will ask if you want to really remove all the pictures Google Photos has backed up, which means instantly deleting them from your Android Gallery or iOS Photos app.

Using this feature truly depends on several factors. How much do you care about having a high-resolution version of every picture (assuming Google Photos is downgrading image quality as it uploads)? How much storage is on your device? Are you using other services for backup? You don't want Google deleting an image before it goes to iCloud or Dropbox.

You may simply want to plug your phone into the PC and copy photos over rather than let Google Photos make the decision for you. But if you're a frequent photo deleter, this is a handy option.

Auto Upload From desktop

Google Backup and Sync will sync your Google Drive documents to the PC as well as videos and pictures—and it'll copy any and all of them from the PC to Google Photos automatically. Backup and Sync also supports the High-Quality upload option on photos so they won't count against your Google storage allotment.

Back Up With Wi-Fi Only

In the mobile apps under Settings > Back up & sync, you can turn off "Use cellular data to backup photos" (or videos). It's a good idea for those with a limited data plan. Otherwise, the auto-upload aspect of Google Photos can eat through your data like water dissolving cotton candy.

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