How to Use Google Photos to Backup Your Photos and Videos

BY Sagar Gandhi

Published 17 Jul 2016


In this how-to, we teach you how to use Google Photos’ Back up & sync service to save your photos and videos. This not only includes images and videos captured on your device using it’s own camera, but also those that you may have received via WhatsApp, email or the likes.

Back up & sync is essentially a back up service that saves your device’s photos and videos to your Google Photos library. Once enabled, it will save all your existing and future photos and videos to the cloud. This data is saved on Google’s cloud service platform, which, for ease of explanation, is essentially a virtual storage space. This ‘virtual storage’ lets you access the images across all your devices to do your bidding.

These photos and videos are private unless you decide to share them, and the changes made to an image are reflected across all devices due to the sync feature. Sync functions as a ‘refresh’ button that saves the changes and then allows you access these new changes on different devices by storing the changed image in the cloud, ‘virtual storage’, space.

Activating / de-activating Back up & sync

To turn Back up & sync on or off, you can follow these steps:

  1. Locate and open the Google Photos app on your device. It will have  symbol on the app.
  2. At the top left corner of your device, tap Menu. The symbol  represents Menu.
  3. Select Settings -> Back up & sync.
  4. At the top there is the option to turn it on or off.
  • When these settings are toggled, it will affect the settings for all apps that use Back up & sync, such as Google Drive.
  • Deleting the app will not turn off the settings. To do so, you need to follow the steps above.

Pro Tip for Back up & sync

  • To check what is backed up in the Google Photos app, at the bottom, tap on Photos. It is represented by  icon. Photos and videos that are not backed up, will display  icon.

Cost of Back up & sync

Backing up and syncing to Google Photos is free or can cost a fee, depending on the settings.

  • If images and videos are stored in the original resolution and quality, your Google Account has a 15GB free storage limit. To select this, save the images as Original.
  • If you are willing to have the images and videos stored in a slightly reduced size or resolution (varies according to device and setting) then there is unlimited capacity. This option will downsize images of high resolutions to 16MP resolution.  To select this, save the images as High quality. The difference in quality is hardly going to be noticeable though, so if you are not willing to way for additional storage in Google Photos, this option should work for you.

Let us know if you have anymore questions or need any clarification or assistance.