By default, Google Photos backups will happen for all the pics and videos you shoot on your smartphone. The quality of those backups can vary depending on your device or personal settings, but you would need to manually turn this feature off for it to stop.
However, there are lots of other pics and videos that come through your device that you might assume Google Photos backups work for, too. As it turns out, Google recently “paused” widespread backups for third-party apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, and more. It even put a moratorium on photo backups from its own apps, such as Messages.
Related: A beginner’s guide to Google Photos
According to Google, the reason for this background change for Google Photos backups is to help relieve internet strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We saw companies such as Netflix make similar changes when it temporarily reduced video streaming quality for its content.
As such, you might have asked Google Photos to back up media from third-party apps at one point, but that doesn’t mean it’s still happening. Thankfully, you can manually re-activate Google Photos backups for all the apps you’d like. It requires a bit of legwork but isn’t difficult.
Google Photos backups: How to configure for all apps
Checking on the status of your Google Photos backups is easy. Below you’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to check what’s going on using your Android phone. Right below the instructions are screenshots to help you out.
Keep in mind that Google very recently updated Google Photos with a new look. Therefore, these instructions only work on that updated version. If you are on an older version, you can scroll down a bit further (past the screenshots) and follow instructions specific to your version of the app.
Check the status of Google Photos backups
- Open up the Google Photos app on your Android smartphone.
- On the bottom menu, tap the Library button.
- Once you’re in the Library, tap the Utilities icon towards the top of the page.
- Now you’re at the Utilities menu. Towards the bottom of the list, tap “Back up device folders.”
- You’ll now see a bunch of photos. Each photo represents a folder on your device that has images. Scroll through the list and find one for which you want Google Photos backups to work and tap it.
- At the top of the page for the folder you’ve selected, you’ll see a “Back up & sync” toggle. Toggle it “On” and Google Photos will back up everything that enters that folder going forward.
Just repeat those steps above for any and all folders you want Google Photos to back up for you. We recommend making sure Google Photos backups are turned on for Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and other popular social media platforms.
Are you still running the old version of Google Photos? Follow the instructions below to perform the same action as above:
- Open Google Photos on your Android smartphone.
- Tap the three-line menu bar in the upper left corner and then select Settings.
- At the very top of the list of settings, tap “Back up & sync.”
- At the bottom of the Back up & sync page, tap “Back up device folders.”
- Use the toggles in the right-hand column to activate any folders for which you want Google Photos backups to work.
That’s it! Now you’ll be certain that every photo and video you want to be backed up to the cloud actually makes it there.