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How to upload photos to Google Photos

Begin building your Google Photos library today!
By

Published onFebruary 28, 2024

As someone who takes photos and screenshots every day, Google Photos has been a lifesaver since all images backed up and synced to Google Photos are accessible from any device. If you’d like to use these features, knowing how to upload your photos to Google Photos is an excellent place to start.

THE SHORT ANSWER 

To upload photos to Google Photos from your iPhone or Android device, open a browser and go to the Google Photos website. Here, you will find an upload button in the top right corner. Alternatively, you can turn on Back up and sync from within Photos settings in the Google Photos app to automatically upload the photos and videos on your device.

To upload photos to Google Photos from your computer, open a browser and go to the Google Photos website. The upload button is located in the top right corner. Alternatively, you can drag photos and videos directly onto the page from File Explorer.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS 

When you require quick access to photos or screenshots you’ve taken on your phone on another device, Google Photos is invaluable. 

For example, when I take mobile screenshots for articles like this one, I don’t connect my phone to my computer to transfer the screenshot files. Instead, those screenshots are automatically backed up and uploaded to Google Photos, so I can access the Google Photos website and easily access them there.

Google Photos base storage screenshot example

You get 15GB of free storage with your Google account, shared across Google Photos, Google Drive, and Gmail. If you need more than that, you must pay for a Google One subscription for extra storage.

How to upload photos to Google Photos (Android and iPhone)

The Google Photos application on your Android or iOS device functions identically to your Gallery app. All images, videos, and screenshots you take are accessible from Google Photos.

Usually, you would have to activate Back up and sync from within the app to “upload” your photos and videos. However, you don’t have to turn that on. Instead, you could upload each piece of content manually.

In this case, open up your mobile browser and go to photos.google.com. This will take you to the Google Photos mobile website.

Google Photos mobile manual upload screenshot

You should find a little Upload button in the top right corner of the Google Photos website. It’s an upward arrow with a horizontal bracket underneath it. Select this, and a small menu will open up, allowing you to choose the location of your content to send to Google Photos.

Google Photos mobile manual upload screenshot 2

Select what you want to upload, and then, if prompted, Choose your upload size. You can choose Original quality or Storage saver, which will reduce the quality slightly. Press Continue to finish and upload your photo or video.

Back up and sync

The easiest way to upload photos and videos is to turn on Back Up and sync. Turning this feature on mobile devices ensures you can find it on Google Photos as soon as you take a photo, screenshot, or video.

  1. Open the Google Photos app on your Android or iOS device. Tap your profile picture or initials in the top right to open the Google Photos menu.
  2. In the Google Photos menu, select Photos settings.
  3. In Photos settings, select Back up. This option typically appears at the top of the list.
  4. Toggle on the Back up button to turn the function on or off.

How to upload photos to Google Photos (computer)

Uploading content from your computer, PC, or Mac is quick and easy. First, open up your browser and go to photos.google.com. This will take you to the Google Photos website.

You can open File Explorer and drag the photo or video onto the webpage to start uploading it. Or you can click the Upload button in the top right corner.

Google Photos new account screenshot

If you click the Upload button, you must click Computer in the UPLOAD FROM dropdown to open File Explorer. Select whichever photos or videos you would like to upload, and then upload them.

Alternatively, you can click Automatically back up photos from your computer in the UPLOAD FROM dropdown. You must download Google Drive to your computer to continue and finish setting this up.

However, if you have many photos and videos on your computer, you may need to upgrade your Google One subscription for more cloud storage space. Remember that you only get 15GB of storage for free if you use the platform without a subscription.


FAQs

Yes, you can upload your photos from your mobile device and computer. You can enable Back up and sync to ensure all your pictures and videos are automatically uploaded to Google Drive from your device. However, you are limited to 15GB across all of Google’s services, including Gmail and Google Drive. If you know you will surpass that limit, you will have to purchase a Google One subscription for more storage.

The fastest way to ensure your photos are uploaded to Google Photos is to turn on Back up and sync.

Many believe that you must turn on Back up and sync to upload content to Google Photos. This is not the case, however. If you visit the Google Photos website from your browser, an Upload button is available in the top right corner. You can manually upload photos this way.

When you upload photos to Google Photos, they are stored in your Google Photos library, which is part of your Google account’s cloud storage. You can access your photos by signing into your Google account and navigating to the Google Photos app or website. Your uploaded photos can be viewed under the “Photos” tab in chronological order and organized into albums or searched by date, location, or keywords.

Yes, but the free version of Google Photos only offers 15GB of storage space.