Most people think of Google Photos like a dusty old album on the shelf. Every once in a while, you flip through those old snapshots with a friend. Remember that trip to the beach? That was so nice.
Like most Google services, Photos is overflowing with helpful features, which can manipulate, organize, and share your thousands of images. Most impressive of all, you can search through your photos in clever new ways, which shouldn’t be surprising, given Google’s search engine roots.
Speaking of Google searches, want to get shocked? Click here for the steps to see everything you’ve ever searched for and how to erase it.
If you’re not using Google Photos, there is one good reason to at least try it. How’d you like to have an unlimited backup of all your photos and videos? There is a catch. To qualify for the unlimited storage, your photos must be less than 16 megapixels. As far as videos go, Google downgrades any video shot above 1080p. Google offers pay plans that provide more storage space for higher quality files.
Here are 20 of the most exciting powers Google Photos users can wield.
Handy tips and unexpected features
1. Download all of your photos
Are you trying to consolidate your photos? You can upload them from your various devices to Google Photos. Then, use Google Takeout, a simple Photos plugin. Takeout lets you download all or some of your Google data. You can select just Photos and even choose exactly which albums to include in the download. Keep in mind this could be a very large download if you have a lot of photos stored. Click here to learn more and get the download links.
2. Get the Google Photos iOS app
Google Photos isn’t just for Android. If you are running out of space on your iPhone or iPad, here’s a possible solution. Download the app for your iOS devices, and you can enjoy the same editing backup, archiving, search, and storage features on your iPad or iPhone.
3. See the original photo while editing
Here’s a nifty, under-the-radar feature of the Google Photos app. When you’re editing a photo and playing with a filter, just touch and hold down (or click in a browser) on the image to see the original and quickly compare how the picture first looked. Lift off to see the changed version again.
4. Automate backup on your Mac or PC
You probably don’t even think twice about Google Photos handling images on your smartphone, but what about your Windows or Mac computer? Download Google’s Backup and Sync app for Mac or PC and you can automatically back up images from your desktop or laptop.
5. Watch for Google Assistant notifications
If you like surprises, keep an eye out for alerts from the Google Photos assistant feature. It will automatically create stylized photos, collages, and photo albums you might find fun. You can choose to save these automatic creations, ignore them, or delete them. You may also receive “Rediscover this day” alerts showing images from a point in the past. It can be a delightful reminder of good times from years ago.
6. Scan your old photos with PhotoScan
Have photos in an album or a frame that you want to make digital? One of the easiest ways to add real photographs to your Google Photos library is to use Google Photoscan for Android and iOS. Follow the on-screen instructions to capture your pictures and then organize and access them with Photos. It’s an easy way to bring vintage photographs into the modern age. Click here to learn more about PhotoScan and get the download links.
7. Move photos to archive
Clear out the clutter by moving unneeded photos to your archive. Just select the three dots to access the photo-options menu and choose “Archive.” Occasionally, Google will automatically suggest photos to move, which you can review and archive as you like.