If you're changing phones, looking for a new photo storage service, or want to backup your memories, you probably want to know how to export your pictures and videos from Google Photos.

How to Export Google Photos

Plus, now that Google confirmed its free unlimited photo storage is ending, and images and videos will count against your 15GB cap, it's best to find a solution before you run out of space.

Luckily, Google already built a tool for this known as Google Takeout. So, here's a guide on how to download and export your Google Photos.

Google Photos Ends Free Unlimited Storage

Starting in June 2021, unlimited free storage ends on Google Photos. All photos stored in Google Photos will count towards the same 15GB limit that Google offers all free account users.

This means the same 15GB of space gets shared between Google Photos, Drive, Gmail, and other backups. As you probably guessed, that 15GB will fill up fast, and you'll no longer be able to store photos or video without buying more space.

The answer to this problem is to upgrade and pay for a Google One plan to get additional storage. Google even has a space calculator that'll estimate how long you can stay free before it thinks you'll run out of storage.

Alternatively, you can also download or export your photo library in Google Photos to free up space, which we'll go over.

How to Export Your Photos and Videos From Google Photos

This will be easier if you do it from a computer instead of a phone or a tablet, but the instructions are the same either way.

  1. In a web browser, go to takeout.google.com (Google Takeout Service).
  2. Log in to your Google Account if you haven't already.
  3. Check the box next to Export Google Photos. It's easiest to tap the blue Deselect all button near the top, and then scroll down and only select Google Photos.
  4. Optionally, you can choose the export format, and even which albums to include.
  5. Scroll to the bottom and hit Next to continue.
  6. Now, you can choose a delivery method, export frequency, file type and size, as well as what to do with files over 2GB in size. Tap the dropdown arrow for each one and choose what works for you.
  7. Scroll down and click the big blue Create export button, and you're almost done. Be prepared to wait a while.
    Google Takeout Export Photos Progress
  8. Google will email you when the download is ready, and that data will be available to download at Takeout. Keep in mind that you only have seven days to download it, so don't wait!
    Google Photos Copy of Google Data

Google offers to send one big download link to your email with ZIP or TGZ files up to 50GB in size. This way, you can easily download all your photos and videos from Google to your computer, laptop, or an external storage device.

Additionally, you have the option to automatically transfer them to Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Box.

What to Expect From the Google Photos Export Process

Google Takeout Photos Folders

From here, the wait depends on how many photos and videos you have. It could take anywhere from a few hours, one day, to even several days before it's all done and ready. After you hit Export, you can view its progress or even cancel the export if needed.

When it's finished exporting, you'll get an email from Google that takes you back to the Takeout menu. Depending on what you chose, it'll tell you that the transfer to another service is done, or it will share a link to download the export.

If you happen to export your content to a ZIP file, the export will come out neatly organized by date inside of a Google Photos folder that contains subfolders for each day.

The only downside here is that the export process puts them in folders by date, so if you have several years of photos, it could be time-consuming to combine all those days into months or years for storage.

Related: Brilliant Search Tools Hidden Within Google Photos

What's the Best Google Photos Alternative?

For those seeking a Google Photos alternative, you have several different options. Consider Amazon Photos, SmugMug, OneDrive, Box, Dropbox, Flickr, or Apple iCloud.

Keep in mind that some of those may require a subscription, depending on how much storage you need.

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