Struggling to find a way to download all your Google Photos onto your PC or Mac? You’re not alone. With numerous images and videos stored in the cloud, transferring them to a hard drive might seem straightforward, but it requires some effort. 

Luckily, we’re here to guide you through the process, whether you’re a user of top-tier laptops or computers or a fan of the finest MacBooks and Macs.

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Why Should I Backup My Google Photos?

Before starting the how-to, let’s briefly explore why you might want to back up your photos and videos from the secure Google Photos cloud storage to a hard drive. Although Google Photos offers a secure and user-friendly way to store your visual memories with excellent cross-platform support, there’s still merit in creating backups of your library. 

This precaution is handy if you’re locked out of your Google account or find yourself in areas with limited internet access while traveling. By having offline copies of your cherished images, you can relish the ability to enjoy them anytime and anywhere. 

In 2022, Google Photos remained among the top-tier choices for photo cloud storage, yet having offline backups adds an extra layer of assurance.

How to Back Up Google Photos to PC or Mac

For a comprehensive backup of all your Google Photos onto your PC or Mac, the direct option isn’t available within Google Photos itself. Instead, the quickest method to achieve a complete backup involves utilizing Google Takeout. This versatile tool not only exports various user data but also facilitates the transfer of items like Keep notes, Mail messages, and even your Chrome browsing history.

Here’s a step-by-step guide detailing how to back up your media from Google Photos to your PC.

Step#1: Select the media files you want to back up

To begin, navigate to and log in to your Google account. From there, you can initiate the process and pick the specific content you wish to download within your Google account.

Assuming you focus solely on acquiring your Google Photos images and videos, click ‘deselect all’ under the ‘select data to include’ section. As you scroll through the list of available products, locate Google Photos and mark the checkbox next to it. 

This action will encompass your entire image collection in the forthcoming download. If this aligns with your intention, proceed to step #3. Should you have different requirements, keep reading.

Step#2: Choose the albums you want to backup

Clicking the button labeled, ‘all photo albums included’ triggers a pop-up that allows you to pick or remove specific albums from your library, including entire years. 

Fortunately, the album structure will be preserved in the downloaded folder, thanks to Takeout. However, it’s important to note that Takeout doesn’t offer a preview of album contents.

To ensure accuracy, consider cross-referencing each folder’s contents with your Google Photos in a separate tab. Once you’ve selected your album, give the green light by clicking ‘OK’.

Step#3: Choose how to backup your media files

Moving forward, you’ll encounter a variety of export choices. Within the ‘delivery method’ dropdown, you can decide whether to receive a download link via email once the export is prepared.

Furthermore, this option permits the direct transfer of your images to an alternative cloud provider, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box. Opting for this route is particularly beneficial if you plan to re-upload your library to these platforms, saving you considerable time and bandwidth.

You also have the flexibility to select between one-time or periodic exports and choose your preferred file format. For most users, the .zip format is the optimal selection. Moreover, you can establish the maximum size for your download files. 

For instance, by selecting 1GB, exports surpassing this size threshold will be divided into 1GB segments, making the downloading process more manageable.

Step#4: Backup your files

After configuring your preferences, proceed by clicking ‘create export’. A notification will appear indicating that ‘Google is in the process of duplicating files from Google Photos’. 

The duration of this task varies, spanning from a few minutes to several hours. It ultimately depends on the size of your photo collection.

Step#5: Review your email for download notification

Once your download is prepared, an email notification will be sent to you. If you intend to save your images to your device, initiate the process by clicking ‘download your files’. It’s worth mentioning that downloads remain accessible for a week from creation.

How to Back Up Google Photos Individually

Naturally, there might be instances where downloading all your Google Photos simultaneously isn’t necessary, prompting a preference for a more straightforward process.

To download your media individually from Google Photo,

  • Begin by accessing Google Photos.
  • Navigate to the specific photo you wish to retain.
  • Click on the three dots located in the upper-right corner.
  • Opt for the ‘download’ option.

How to Back Up Several Photos At Once

Step#1 Select the photos

Access Google Photos via the web and hover your cursor over the thumbnail of a specific image. Click on the check mark located at the top left corner. Subsequently, you can click on other images to include in your selection. 

As an alternative, holding down the shift key while clicking will enable you to highlight groups of photos between the initial and final shots you choose.

Step#2 Download your media file

When you’re satisfied with your selection, click the three vertical dots at the top. Choose the ‘download’ option. Google will then compress your chosen photos into a single zip archive, ready for backup.

Although this method might not be as straightforward as downloading your entire Google Photos collection at once, it offers the advantage of conserving bandwidth data by allowing you to pinpoint your backup media files.

Additionally, Google provides a free storage management tool to assist you in identifying and removing underexposed or blurry shots. This tool streamlines the process of selecting your favorites.

Suppose you plan to organize the images on your hard drive. In that case, this approach presents an excellent opportunity to download groups of photos that align with your sorting criteria. You can utilize the search bar to filter your images by attributes such as location or date and then make your selections from the filtered results. 

This simplifies saving similar images, especially those taken at the same location.

How to Back Up Albums From Google Photos

If you’ve already organized your photos into Google Photos albums or utilized the suggested ‘smart albums,’ you can download their pre-arranged content effortlessly.

  1. Navigate to the ‘albums’ tab and opt for ‘view all albums’ to access your complete collection.
  2. Select a specific album.
  3. After it loads, click on the three dots at the upper right corner and choose ‘download all.’ This action will compress all the images and videos from the album into a single zip file, ready for download.

This approach offers the advantage of easily and selectively downloading your images with just a few clicks while maintaining organization on your hard drive.

However, there’s a drawback. You can’t download multiple albums concurrently. Instead, each album must be opened and saved separately, which could become time-consuming if you’re looking to back up a substantial number of albums.


And that concludes our guide — four distinct methods to download your Google Photos to your PC or Mac successfully. Suppose you’ve followed along with this article to discover how to back up all your photos from Google Photos effectively. In that case, we trust you’ve identified a suitable approach that aligns with your needs. 

Safeguarding your precious memories is crucial; with these options at your disposal, you’re well-equipped to ensure their preservation.