Apple Photos vs Google Photos.... is it even close

Ive used google photos for years, recently switched to Apple Photos because it was more native to Apples ecosystem… It was a huge time consuming process to switch.

Am I missing something? It’s not even close! Google is light years beyond Apple photos. The search features are terrible in Apple. For example… I work in orthopedics. If is search the word X-ray in google photos… 1100 images. Same search in Apple… 44. I do a search under Irish setter (my dog) google… 770 Pictures. Apple 0.

So, Im about a year into this transition. Can some anyone tell me why they would choose apple photos?
Im not paranoid about security. And my main driver, the ecosystem… well that’s fine, but I use Omnifocus not Reminders. Devonthink instead of notes. In general I want the best product for the job, so… can anyone sell me on apple photos vs google!!!

Searching for flaws in my logic. thanks!


I agree. I used to upload my photos to Apple and Google but eventually stopped using Apple, mainly because I don’t like Apple photos renaming my original files. But you are correct, Google search is better and I can share my entire library with one person and albums, etc. with anyone I choose.

Apple has great hardware but I prefer Google services. They have the features I need and their performance is consistent.

I use Apple photos because my only camera now is my iPhone and iPad. I no longer use a point and shoot or DSLR. Apple photos makes it incredibly easy to share those photos between all my devices. I more often browse my photos than search for them. I also apply keywords to the photos I take, so that helps me find what I want. I have no doubt that Google is better at searching photos than Apple since that is their main business. I know you can put your photos in both Apple iCloud library and Google at the same time. So why not do that?

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@sesteph6, is your only camera an iPhone? Probably not, if you started in Google Photos?

If your only camera is an iPhone, I see little reason to avoid Apple Photos. But if you have other cameras, there are better choices.

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I’ve not used Google Photos so can’t compare. But as a user of Apple photos it seems to me the search results are excellent. Here are some common searches I do: lichen, fungi, bird, woodpecker, flower, butterfly, moss, sunset, ocean, frog, lizard. Or, more narrow searches within those: swallowtail, pileated, wren, nuthatch, daisy will yield more specific results.

So, at least in my case, search is excellent, largely thanks to the machine learning introduced and improved upon over the past few years. Some specific categories are still not identified but this gets better with new releases and possibly between releases. I’m not sure how machine learning of photos is updated.

Awhile back I moved all photos/videos to Google. Still happy w/ that decision. Recently I moved all other files to Google Drive.

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I try to avoid Google products. We could have the privacy debate until the cows come home and yeah, Apple probably isn’t as privacy centric as they claim, but the idea of letting Google scan my photos makes ms uneasy and iCloud works perfect for me.


I’m using both. I pay for a Google One storage plan just so I can keep a copy of my photos at full resolution in Google Photos just to be able to search them. Apple Photos search is unusable. It misses nearly every time. Google Photos has amazing search.

Supposedly, Google spent a huge amount of resources on training its algorithms to be able to recognize the content of photos. It has a large user base because it gives away its photos app and storage for free. I fear Apple will not devote the resources to developing the same recognition capabilities and that its privacy features may not allow it to analyze users’ photos for training. This is just conjecture, though. Either way, Apple is far behind here.


That’s so interesting…I wonder why your results are so much better than mine. Ive been stunned at how bad apple has been. Interesting.

I know… I hate the privacy stuff with google. But the delta between the search quality of google vs apple… Im just stunned.

This is the direction Im headed…use both.

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If you are interested in Google’s services keep in mind that Gmail and Google Workspace are two separate products. One is free email, etc. The other is a business product approved for use by a wide range of businesses and government agencies, etc. I have a Business Standard account with 2TB storage for each user. $12/month per user.

Photographer here. I don’t use Google Photos, but I do use Google Drive to deliver photos to a subset of clients. I recently duplicated finished files to Apple Photos as well for one simple reason. Having access within apps.

Im often using creation apps, social apps, etc for business purposes on my iphone and ipad. Even with Google Drive being accessible via “Files” it did not work reliably. Nor did every app even support the “files” interface or anything past the camera roll. Developers need to do better in this area. But because of this I basically duplicated my final images and folders into albums in Apple Photos. It has been so much nicer having access to everything on my devices because they are in the native system.

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I still let my photos back up to Google Photos, but I have started also using my Synology and their Photos app.