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Two Ways to Move All Photos from Google Photos to Phone

Alice MJ

Sep 26, 2023 • Filed to: Manage Device Data • Proven solutions

Google Photos is a great backup solution for the photos on your phone and lets you manage them on a computer or other devices, including Apple devices. However, Google Photos does not offer a clear way to download all your photos to your device, Android or iPhone, in one go, directly. You can save every photo in Google Photos on your device directly, only one by one, and that is more incredulous on part of Google than it sounds. You need to navigate your way around apps to download or move your photos from Google Photos to your phone directly.

Google Photos works under an assumption that you will click photos, have your phone upload them to Google’s servers and that’s it - that’s the primary job. However, often we also need to download our photos, Google! We may need to download a bunch of old photos to share with someone else, we may want to download them to a flash drive and watch them on the big screen instead of using a smart TV option to do that, there are lots of reasons why people search for ‘how to move photos from Google Photos to my phone’. So how do you download Google Photos to phone or more clearly, move photos from Google Photos to a new phone or a computer?

Downloading from Google Photos to Android Phone Directly

Google makes downloading photos from Google Photos to phone a child’s play. If you want to download photos from Google Photos to your phone directly, you have the option of downloading each photo you have one by one. Not interested? There is a workaround that transfers photos from Google Photos to your device’s internal storage. This is still tedious enough, but it works reliably and is free.

Part 1: Copying Photos from Google Photos to Google Drive

Step 1: Open Google Photos

Step 2: If you just want to save some photos from Google Photos to your phone directly, you are in luck, you won’t have to go through the hoops a lot. For this piece, it is assumed you want to transfer all your photos from Google Photos to your device. Tap on Photos tab at the bottom. Long-press the first photo in your library.

Step 3: You will note that the photo, as well as the date above it, has a checkmark now. What you can do is that now you can simply keep scrolling down and tapping on the dates. Tapping on the dates selects all the photos under that date, saving you some time and heartache.

Step 4: After you are done scrolling and tapping dates till the end, tap the Share icon at the top ad select Save to Drive

Step 5: You will be asked to select the size you want to save as, large or the actual. Select your preferred size

Step 6: Now, you will see that some or all of the images are being downloaded, depending on which ones were already on your device and which need to be pulled from the cloud. After this is done, you will see a list of image titles along with your Google Account email address and the location the files will be saved to on Google Drive. You can change the location and tap Save to proceed. It is advised that you select a separate unique folder to save your photos into, this will help later on to download photos from Google Drive to phone.

Your selected photos will now be uploaded to Google Drive.

Save to Drive from Google Photos

So far you have only transferred the actual photos from Google Photos to Google Drive. The photos are now available both in Google Photos and in Google Drive but are still in the cloud. Now, in the second part, you want to download the photos to your device storage.

Part 2: Downloading Photos From Google Drive To Phone’s Storage

In this part, you will download your photos from Google Drive onto your device’s storage so you know you have a local copy with you and are not tied up with Google’s ecosystem in any way.

Step 1: Open Google Drive
Step 2: From the tabs at the bottom, select the Files tab that looks like a folder

Step 2: Navigate to the folder you saved your photos to from Google Photos

Step 3: Open the folder and long-press any image

Select All icon in Google Drive

Step 4: Tap the icon at the top that looks like a square surrounded by dots. You will see that all your photos are now selected

Step 5: Tap the 3-dot menu on the top-right, and select Download from the list

Photos will be downloaded to the default ‘download’ folder on your device’s internal storage.

Part 3: Viewing Files on Your Device Using A File Explorer

Step 1: If you do not have the Files by Google app on your phone already, head over to the Play Store and download the app. This is a file explorer by Google that lets you browse and manage the files and folders on your Android device

Step 2: Open Files by Google app

Step 3: From the tabs at the bottom, select Browse.

Step 4: From the list of categories, select Images

Step 5: Here, images are shown as large thumbnails you can browse through

Step 6: To see (and make sure) where exactly are the files stored on your device, tap on any image, tap the 3-dot menu at the top-right and tap File Info.

Step 7: Head back to Browse using the tab at the bottom

Step 8: Scroll down and tap Internal Storage. This is where you can see and browse through all files and folders on your Android in a desktop-like way

Step 9: Scroll down to the Download folder. This is where the files you downloaded from Google Drive will be.

Files by Google app

Transfer Photos from Google Photos to Phone Using A Computer

As you would have become aware, the direct way to transfer photos from Google Photos to phone can be painful if you have years’ worth of photos. To transfer some photos or a couple of photos here and there, that method is a quick way to go about, but in case you are looking to have copies of your photos with you locally, that method falls short. It consumes internet data for downloading, then uploading, and then downloading again. For a large number of photos or if you want to transfer your photo library from Google Photos to your device, that is a lot of data consumption we are looking at. Fortunately, there is an easier way to go about it, and it involves only a one-time download of photos from the cloud, saving you a lot of data.

Part 1: Downloading Photos from Google Photos to Computer

Google provides a service it calls Google Takeout, which essentially allows you to download a copy of all your data with Google onto your computer. You can select which data you want to download, so for this piece, we will download just the photos.

Step 1: Open your web browser and visit https://takeout.google.com

Step 2: Sign in if you are not already signed in to your Google account

Step 3: You will see the option to Create a New Export, and to select data to include

Google Takeout

Step 4: Click Select All and then click Deselect All to ensure we select just what we want to download - our photos and nothing else for now

Step 5: Scroll down and check Google Photos

Step 6: By default, all photo albums are included. If you do not want to download a specific album or two, you can deselect from the list.

Step 7: Scroll down till the end and select Next Step

Step 8: In the next part, by default, the option is to send an email link. Leave it intact for now. Frequency is set to once by default, and that is what we want today. The file type is ZIP by default. Change the size setting from 2 GB to 50 GB to minimize the number of files to download.

Step 9: Lastly, click Create Export. Depending on the size of the export, after a while, you will see the export listed right here. A link to download would also be emailed to your Gmail address.

Download Google Photos

Step 10: Click download and the ZIP file will be downloaded to your computer.

Part 2: Move Photos From Computer To Phone Using Dr.Fone

Now it is time to transfer photos from computer to the phone. How do you do this? The best way to do this is with Dr.Fone - Phone Manager (Android). It is a fast, easy way to manage data on your phone from your computer and is easy to use.

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Dr.Fone - Phone Manager (Android)

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Remember the ZIP file that was downloaded? Unzip it and it should give you a folder called Takeout. Inside that folder is another folder called Google Photos that contains even more folders comprising all your photo albums stored on Google Photos.

Step 1: Download and install Dr.Fone on your computer

drfone phone manager

Step 2: Open Dr.Fone on your computer and select Phone Manager

drfone phone manager

Step 3: Connect your phone to your computer and enable USB debugging

drfone phone manager debugging

Step 3.1: With your phone connected to the computer, swipe down from the top to bring the notification shade and select USB options

Step 3.2: Select File Transfer

Step 3.3: Go into Settings on your phone and into About Phone

Step 3.4: Scroll down to the build number and tap it until Developer Options are enabled

Step 3.5: Under Settings, scroll down to System and if Developer Options are not visible there, select Advanced and head into Developer Options to enable USB debugging. Grant any permissions that the phone might prompt you for.

Step 4: Dr.Fone will recognize your phone and present you with a nice, clean interface

Step 5: Select Photos from the tabs at the top

drfone phone manager

Step 6: Click the Add button and select Add folder

drfone phone manager

Step 7: Navigate to the Takeout folder and select Google Photos and click Open

Photos will now be transferred to your phone.

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Google does not make it easy to download photos from Google Photos to your device or computer. Google would rather store them and view them in their apps. You need to hop between a few apps to download photos from Google Photos to your phone directly. However, if you are on a computer, they also provide a way to download your data from Google, called Takeout. Using this feature you can create an export of your all your data or just what you prefer, such as photos, and download to your computer and from there you can either store it elsewhere or transfer the photos to your phone using Dr.Fone Phone Manager (Android) that is one of the best apps available to manage data on your phone using a computer and a USB connection.

Alice MJ

staff Editor

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