Most iPhone users I’ve ever met are keen on taking thousands of photos and filling up the internal storage of their devices. iCloud has alleviated space issues quite a bit for them, but now that Google Photos has become so very popular, many in the Apple Ecosystem have begun to seek out ways that they can move their media over to the competing service.
For years, the only way to export your Apple Photos has been to download them one by one. Unfortunately, this is no real solution, and it’s left people quite frustrated with the tech giant. Now, Apple has created an official tool that allows you to natively transfer all of your iCloud media over to ‘other services’ including Google Photos!
To be clear, this isn’t a simple backup and download tool – Apple has gone a step further and decided to automate the transfer process on your behalf! Once you request a copy of your media, which doesn’t alter or remove them from your iCloud storage, by the way, Apple will begin transferring a duplicate of them over to Google Photos. This process takes between three and seven days to complete, but once it’s done, you’ll be all set!
There are a few caveats though – Smart Albums, Live Photos, and some RAW files may not be available in Google Photos after the transfer as the formats that Apple use may not be supported entirely. Here are some specific details that you should be aware of before making the leap:
The transfer includes copies of photos and videos that you store in iCloud Photos, associated with your Apple ID. Formats include: .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.
Only the most recent edit of the photo is transferred and not the original version. Duplicates appear as just one photo.
Whenever possible, photos are transferred with their albums. Videos are transferred separately, without their albums.
Once transferred to Google, the filenames of albums and videos start with “Copy of.”
Some content—including shared albums, smart albums, photo stream content, live photos, some metadata, and photos and videos stored in other folders or locations—is not transferred at all.Apple Support
There are other things you should keep in mind as well. We recommend you read through the full Apple Support page to understand limitations on albums, and so on. A few prerequisites to this process though – you must be using iCloud Photos to store your photos and videos with Apple, your Apple ID must have two-factor authentication enabled, you have to have a Google account (uh-huh), and that account must have enough storage to receive the new photos and videos. All pretty standard, but worth a mention to be safe.
If you’re ready to use the new transfer tool, just head over using the button below, sign in with your Apple ID, select ‘Transfer a copy of your data and then follow the prompts that appear to complete your request. You’ll be asked to sign in to your Google account during the process, and jump into your email inbox to verify a few things along the way.
I think it’s pretty incredible that there’s never been an efficient way to move your data from Apple to Google, but I’m not surprised – they are competitors after all. However, I think that as we move beyond the era of exclusivity, these larger companies are realizing that they must cross-pollinate or work together on some level if they are to put their customers first – even if that means putting their beef to the side for a season. After all, that’s how you win consumers over, right?
Google has long since put hardware and platform exclusivity on the back burner and offered its apps and services on Apple devices (many times they’re more well developed and beautiful), but Apple hasn’t really reciprocated at all aside from that time they released a ‘Move to iOS’ app on the Google Play Store that they ripped from another developer’s code. I’m not taking shots at Apple, in fact, I’m doing the opposite – it’s nice to see that they’re finally thinking outside of the orchard for once, and I hope to see more of this type of cooperation between the two companies in the future.