Where should I backup my photos, iCloud or Google?

desk scene with coffee, glasses and laptop and smartphone have a cloud picture

Ultimately, the decision to use iCloud or Google comes down to the capabilities of your devices and your preferences for the two platforms, including price. Let’s take a look at how you can save photos on each platform and the pros and cons to consider in your final choice.

Advantages to Using Google to Backup Photos?

Google Photos is free and lets you access your pictures across an array of devices, not just Apple products. When you move your photos from a smartphone to Google Photos, it frees up storage space, which can improve the system’s performance. If you have an iCloud account, this lets you store many more contacts and other information. Google Photos can be accessed through iMessage, making it convenient for Apple users.

Backup Photos from Android to Google Drive

Google Drive tripled its free storage from 5GB to 15GB. You can use this extra space to store your irreplaceable photos on your Android phone. Here are a few reasons why this is a good idea.

Many people don’t bother backing up their photos until they run out of space. If something goes wrong with your phone, however, you can lose some or all of your photos and data. Contacts and other information can be recollected, but once photos are gone, they’re gone forever.

Use the free storage on Google Drive to automatically sync photos and save them remotely to safeguard your precious memories. You’ll need an app to do this because Android doesn’t have a built-in sync feature.

Gallery Drive Sync

Gallery Drive Sync helps you to sync Android photos with your Google Drive storage. Here’s how you can do this.

  1. Install the Gallery Drive Sync app, which is available in the Play Store.
  2. Open Gallery Drive Sync, and tap Sync all. This selects the folder with your photos. Tap YES to confirm.
  3. Select your Google account, and tap OK.
  4. Authorize the app so it can access your Google Drive storage. Tap OK to confirm.
  5. The photos will sync to Google Drive storage.

Advantages to Using iCloud

iCloud Photo Library is an Apple iCloud service that synchronizes and backs up your photos and files. It works with iPads, iPhones and Macs and can also be used for Apple TV.

Enable iCloud Photo Library to upload all video and images you’ve taken, screenshot, saved or imported to whatever Apple device you’re currently using.

How to Back Up Photos to iCloud for iPhone, iPad and iPod

man touching holographic screen of cloud that says backup surrounded by media devices

Many people prioritize their phone photos because they capture valuable memories that can never be repeated. Backing up your iPhone photos ensures that they’ll always be there when you need them. However, you don’t need to store all of them on your iPhone. Removing large files frees up space for apps and helps prevent battery drain and performance issues.

Here are a couple of ways to back up photos to iCloud.

Automated iCloud Backups

You can automate iCloud backups of photos stored on your iPhone by following these easy steps.

  • On your iPhone, open Settings, and tap on your name.
  • Tap iCloud then tap Photos.
  • Toggle on the switch for iCloud Backup, and choose Back Up Now.
  • Make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and plugged into a power source. Lock the screen. Your iPhone photos will now back up to iCloud automatically.

Manual Photo Backup to iCloud

You can also perform manual backups to iCloud. Here are the steps to follow.

  1. Open your iPhone Settings; tap on your name.
  2. Choose iCloud then select Photo.
  3. Toggle on the switch for iCloud Backup, and choose Back Up Now.
  4. Keep your iPhone connected until the process is complete.
  5. When the backup is finished, return to Settings. After a complete backup, go back to Settings, tap your Apple ID, then iCloud. Select iCloud Backup > Back Up Now to discover the size of photos that were saved.
  6. Toggle off the switch for iCloud Backup.

Disadvantages of Using iCloud for Backups

  • You get just 5GB of storage compared to 15GB on Google Drive. Both apps let you purchase additional space if you need it.
  • This can be a time-consuming process.
  • You can’t check backed-up photos.

There’s room for improvement on Google’s lack of a native app. Although the web app is robust, it doesn’t pass muster for organization and editing. The web interface seems like an oversized version of the mobile version.

Stay Alert for Changes

In April 2019, Google announced it would be concentrating on Google Photos as the sole source of backups. It advised users to move their pictures and other files to Google Drive or Google Photos to avoid losing them due to data breaches that gave cybercriminals access to users’ personal information. Some users didn’t pay attention to the warning — until the photos disappeared after the designated dates.

Big changes occasionally occur that affect iCloud or Google users. By keeping abreast of global changes, you can implement the backup strategy that’s right for you.

If you already own an Apple device, such as an iPad, iPhone or Mac, iCloud is readily available and easy to access. On the other hand, Google’s free photo storage platform can be used with any device. Both systems are easy to learn, but if you’re already familiar with one, it might be best to stick with it if you don’t plan on storing many photos. However, since Apple charges for storage over the free limit set for each user, Google’s more generous storage caps are appealing for those planning to store a lot of photos and videos.