How to upload all your photos to Google Photos

Google Photos is a great way to view your photos, and the powerful search feature makes it easy to find photos of certain people, places, or times. Prior to June 1, 2021, Google provided free unlimited storage for photos. Now, everything has changed.

In total you only get 15GB of Google storage, counting your Google Drive and Gmail files as well as Google Photos. Therefore, if you want to upload more photos and videos than your 15GB limit, you’ll need to purchase more storage with Google One.

There are currently four levels of storage on Google One. That is:

  • 15 GB – Free
  • 100GB – £1.59 per month / £15.99 per year
  • 200GB – £2.49 per month / £24.99 per year
  • 2 TB – £7.99 per month / £79.99 per year

Sadly there is currently no unlimited storage option. You’ll have to look into other Cloud storage options if you want. You can also make more space for photos and videos by deleting large files on your Google Drive.

There’s no need to worry about existing files from before June 1, as these photos will remain on Google’s servers and won’t be deleted or blocked if you don’t pay – that’s a misconception. popular.

If, like me, you have a photo library filled with pictures you took before you got your smartphone, chances are they’re on your hard drive somewhere. It’s not easy for Google to upload them, but here are two ways to upload each photo, one of which is automatic.

Upload Google Photos via web browser

Before I do the best, here’s the obvious one: go to and click Upload.

How to Upload Google Photos from Windows

Unfortunately, the easy way won’t work for most people as the Upload option in Google Photos will only upload the contents of a folder.

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Most people keep their photos in multiple folders so they have ‘albums’ for different occasions. Unless you’re willing to go through dozens or even hundreds of folders and copy – or move – those photos into a single folder, you won’t be able to use this option.

It might take a lot of work to use the Upload button for every folder you have, but again, that’s impractical if you have hundreds or more.

TIP: Before you upload all of your photos, upload a photo or two and check that Google Photos can pinpoint when they were taken. Otherwise, it will be very difficult for you to find them again.

Once uploaded, you can enter the date the photo was taken, such as ’22 May 2000′ and all photos from that date will be displayed. Otherwise, search for the exact filename of the photo you just uploaded and Google Photos will show it. Click the i icon at the top and you’ll see the information for that photo.

How to Upload to Google Photos

If something goes wrong and the ‘retrieved date’ is not specified correctly, you will need to use a tool to edit this metadata.

Once you’ve reached the limit of what you can upload, Google will notify you. If you need more storage, you can get a premium Google One account.

Upload to Google Photos via Backup & Sync

And so we come to the best option to upload your entire photo library to Google Photos. It involves downloading Google’s Backup & Sync utility, choosing a folder or folders to sync, and then letting it upload photos as well as any videos in those folders.

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If those folders are on a NAS drive like mine, you may find yourself unable to select the root folder in Backup & Sync. The workaround is to create a folder in it (call it uploads or whatever you like), then move all your photo folders into it.

Here, step by step is how to install Backup & Sync and upload all those snapshots to Google Photos.

Note: this only works for Windows computers, and you need the Google Photos app installed on your Android or iPhone if you want to upload your photo library from your phone. This guide is mainly aimed at people who have already done that and now want to upload photos stored on their Windows laptop or PC.

1. First, go to the Google Photos website and click the Download button.

How to Upload to Google Photos

2. Once the file is downloaded, click it in your web browser or navigate to the folder where the downloaded files are stored – usually Downloads. Double click the file (called installbackupandsync.exe) and click the START button.

How to Upload to Google Photos

3. You need to sign in to your Google account, the one you use for Google Photos.

4. On the ‘setup’ screen, select Backup photos and videos.

How to Upload to Google Photos

5. Next, you need to tell Backup & Sync which folder your photos are in. This can be as simple as clicking the box next to Photos, but if your photos are stored somewhere else, such as another folder on your hard drive, on an external drive, or on a NAS drive, click SELECT DIRECTORY and navigate to it.

How to Upload to Google Photos

You can sync multiple folders, but you can’t select multiple folders at once.

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6. Choose the quality you want for your photos/videos – Storage Saver takes up less space, but compresses files. Meanwhile, Original Quality won’t compress files, but will take up more space in your quota.

7. Click START and Backup & Sync will start uploading photos and videos in the folder(s) you selected to Google Photos.

8. If you want to check the progress, click the ^ icon on the Windows Taskbar and click the small white cloud icon. You will see a scrolling list of files being uploaded.

How to Upload to Google Photos

How long it takes to upload all your photos and videos will depend on the total amount of data uploaded and the upload speed of your internet connection, which is often a lot slower than the download speed.

Leave your laptop or computer on while uploading files. In my case, with 16Mbps upload speed, it took about 24 hours to upload 30,000 photos and videos from hundreds of folders on the NAS drive.

Again, how much you can upload will depend on how much storage you have in your Google One account.

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