Moving to Google Photos

Has anyone made the switch from Apple Photos to Google Photos? Have you seen any drawbacks? I’m paying for 50 GB of iCloud storage for my photos. I feel that I may get a lot more features from Google Photos than Apple (even if I have to pay for some storage). Does anyone have experience with moving between these services?

search in Google Photos definitely much better than Apple Photos, If you have Synology NAS, you can use their Photo apps too

I’ve been syncing to Apple Photos and Google Photos for a few years. Since I had a copy of all my photos on my iPad I just installed the app and turned on backup.

You can upload by installing the Google Drive app on your Mac or use a browser. And it appears you can still request a copy of your iCloud photos to be sent to Google using

The feature set is basically the same as Apple Photos and you can share your entire library with one other person. And I agree with @fuzzygel , search is much better.

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I’ve always thought of doing this, but then the google drive app on the mac is very bad. It gets unmounted very frequently and creates weird symlink folders on the finder.

Anyway, @fuzzygel @WayneG don’t you use the feature where Apple Photos shows your photos on their maps? That’s pretty cool. Also memories etc…?

When I was on Android, G Photos was really good, easy syncing, searching, etc.

I don’t recall having any major problems with the old Backup & Sync app and the new Google Drive for Desktop that was released last July works well.

I don’t use the memories feature but I do use the map features. When you flip up on a photo in Google Photos the photo moves up to reveal the photo data and a map rather than in an insert like in Apple Photos.

On my last trip to rural southern Mexico I would take a photo every few miles when we were on backroads just to leave a “breadcrumb” on Google Maps for when we got back. (Sometimes it might just be a photo of the floorboards :grinning:).

As I said they have similar features and I use both so one backs up the other.

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I do not use app, just use browser to I use Google Maps, so photos works great with that. I also think Google Lens is great , but you have to use that via the Google app itself

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I use the Drive app just for files. Everything on Google Drive syncs to my MBA and is backed up by Arq.

After the initial upload of my Photos library I turned off backup on my iPad and now everything syncs from my phone.

For me, this keeps showing up every few days. The old app was much better

Wait, if I copy a photo from iphone to google photos, it still retains the location info? Last time I tried an year ago, nothing like that happened.

Yes, EXIF data is embedded in the photo. It isn’t removed by copying. If you upload a photo to this forum it will still contain the location. Right click on a photo in Finder and the Lat/Long is visible in Get Info.

Sorry you are having problems. I’ve had the occasionally glitch that required stopping and starting the process but I’ve never received an error message from Drive. The only info I could find on your error message is below.

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You must be aware, that you are paying for the storage anyway!
And for my side, I rather pay Apple a few Euro, to keep my data safe and secure, than to safe this money, but pay instead with my private data…


Yes, I realized I wasn’t very clear in my post. I’m already paying Apple to store my photos, so I’m ok paying Google or someone else. I’m not just looking for free features, I just want the best of what I’m paying for.

Almost all of my photos are taken by my iPhone. The iCloud integration with Photos is seamless and I can trust after I take a photo via iPhone, it will end up on my Mac in a short period of time. I’ve tried other systems in the past including Google Photos, Lightroom, etc but always failed due to the problem of getting my photos reliably into the system.

this article mentioned something interesting

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I’m intrigued. @fuzzygel and @WayneG you both say search is better on Google Photos. What do you actually search for?

One of the biggest problems I have with Apple Photos is getting searchable data into it. When I’m wrangling my DSLR pics I have a workflow that lets me put masses of hierarchical keywords on them in Lightroom and these eventually end up in Apple Photos by way of exporting from Lightroom. But for photos taken on my phone, I find it a horrible chore to even get the most basic of information on the photos. I can kinda understand it will never be easy on iOS/iPadOS, but it’s a terrible experience even on macOS where there is really no excuse. As a result, the only “management” I do of photos in Apple Photos is to try to put most of them in an album by general subject area.

I can give you a few examples, I want to show my friends the biggest pint of beer (Hoegaarden by the way) I drank, I just search in my Google photos. My Google photos also recognize my pets, dogs and cats , so that I can easily find them and show that out to my friends. Most impressive search I had is trying to show an very unique experience of drinking sake in Japan, so I search “wine in Japan” and come up with the following

What is it that you found interesting? About doing time machine backups on a Mac?

I am sure I have the same photo in Apple Photos ( I backed up to both), but I am unable to find the specific photo

I do not quite understand the question, and the relevance to time machine backup, can you explain the question again, sorry

With the exception of people’s names I don’t enter any additional data in Apple Photos or Google Photos. When I say search is better in Google Photos I’m referring to GP’s ability to locate photos based only on the Exif data and the image itself.

For example when I search for “cattle” GP locates photos and videos of a herd of brahma’s I photographed in Mexico a few years ago. Apple Photos doesn’t find anything. But if I search for “cow” AP does find some of the photos.

When I search for “aircraft” GP finds 44 images of aircraft, including images of the sky & ground taken from inside of a plane, interiors of commercial jets etc, and even the interior of an US Army C-47 I flew in 50 years ago (a B&W photo that had been scanned). AP found 19 photos, all but three were aircraft sitting on the ground. The other three contained the complete wing of a commercial jet.

Finally, when I searched for “Mexico” both Google and Apple found all my photos that had been taken in Mexico.

The difference in the two product is, IMO, an example of on-device vs cloud computing. Google “knows” more about the world because its education wasn’t limited to the data on our devices.

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agreed with @wayneg but want to add that the advantage of Google photos come from the excellence in applying AI to recognition. If you watch/listen to Google I/O this year, machine learning is the key investment to most of the services that Google offer. Machine learning or AI provides better results as Google can ‘learn’ from its vast big data collection without sacrificing privacy. I guess this is why strategically Google deploys Android and other ‘free’ services.

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Google has no kind of “free” service!
You pay for everything on Google with your data…

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