How to back up your iOS photos to Google Drive

Many schools and businesses give their members accounts for Google Drive, which is Google's cloud storage service. A benefit to Google Drive for education or work is that users are given tremendously huge allotments of storage. In the case of Google for education, it's unlimited! This is a great opportunity to provide another location to back up your treasured photos.


There are a few reasons why someone would want to back up their photos and videos to Google Drive rather than iCloud.

  • iCloud only provides 5gb for backup, hardly enough for media
  • Google Drive for education has unlimited storage. Google Drive for work is pretty big, too
  • You can quickly access your photos from a Mac or Windows computer at

Why not?

You should NOT back up your photos to Google Drive if you have more than enough iCloud storage space due to a paid subscription plan and you rather like it that way, thank you very much!

Several people are also suspicious of storing data with Google. But my guess is that if you have a paid Google plan, you've already come to grips with the way in which Google might be using your data.

How to backup media to Google Drive

First, turn on Google Drive photo backup.

  1. Open Google Drive
  2. Tap the stripes button in the upper left corner of the screen, then tap the settings icon that looks like a gear
  3. Tap "Photos"
  4. Turn on "Auto Backup"
  5. In the new options that appear, make sure your "Photo Uploads" and "Video Uploads" are set to "Over Wi-Fi only".

Optional: turn off iCloud photo backup. If you're on a free or low storage iCloud plan, you might want to turn off your photo and video backups on iCloud. Since you are backing up your media to Google Drive, simultaneously keeping them on iCloud would be redundant and take up your precious iCloud space. Here's how to free up your iCloud storage space.

  1. On your iPad (or iPhone), go to Settings → iCloud → Storage → Manage Storage
  2. Tap on the backup file of the device you're holding
  3. Find the "Photo Library" item, and turn it off
  4. Tap "Delete" on the popup

This will ensure that everything your iPad except photos and videos are still backing up to iCloud.

Final thoughts

Now that your iPhone's pictures and videos are backing up to Google Drive, it would serve you well to go to your computer and navigate to Sign in, and choose "Google Photos" in the left sidebar. Here, you'll see your pictures begin to populate the screen, depending on how fast their uploading from your phone.

Again, it's worth reiterating that these instructions will direct your photos to backup to Google and not Apple. But if you skip turning off your iCloud backup, you'll obviously be backing up to both locations.

Rick Stawarz

Minneapolis, MN

I am an Apple Certified Support Professional with over a decade of experience supporting families, schools, and businesses. Tech has always captured my imagination, but it's not my only passion. I'm an ordained Anglican minister;  Aeropress is a daily ritual of mine; I've driven across Mongolia; and I'm the father of three girls. I hope to provide for you a balanced and realistic perspective into the practicality of technology.