How to backup Google Photos to your PC now that Google Drive doesn't sync


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In an ironically named blog post titled "Changing how Google Drive and Google Photos work together" (which could've been shortened to "they won't anymore"), Google explains how your photos will no longer sync with Drive, because "simplification, less confusion, mumble mumble".

Anyone who used it is greeted with this message:

So why's this a pita? Well, Google has a nice little utility called Backup and Sync, which conveniently and reliably backed up Drive to your PC. That included your photos. Which no longer works. Damn you Google.

Here are some solutions, from least better to best better.

Solution 1: Select new photos and download them

Every once in awhile, go to, select all your new photos and download them. ๐Ÿคฎ

Solution 2: Schedule a download (sort of) for a year

Every year (on your birthday? Christmas?), go to and schedule to get a download link containing your photos every other month. In the "customize archive format" screen, be sure to choose the "scheduled exports" option. You can still go back and download everything periodically, but at least this is somewhat automatic. ๐Ÿ˜•

Solution 3: Write your own script to download photos

Make use of the Photos Library API to write a script that downloads new photos. Set it up as a service or whatever, so it runs periodically when your PC is on. ๐Ÿ˜

If you go this route, you'll want to read their Getting started with REST guide for how to enable the Google Photos Library API. Have a drink nearby, because this is guaranteed to be somewhat painful. I enjoy exploring APIs, but I find Google's to be tough to figure out sometimes. I was going to give it a go anyway, but then I found a better solution...

Solution 4: Find a mobile app that syncs photos to Drive

Find a highly-rated mobile app that'll sync all your photos to Drive, and then let Backup and Sync take care of copying to your PC just like it did before. ๐Ÿ˜

There's an app called Autosync that looks really good - in fact, all their apps look good. Read more about the author MetaCtrl and their apps that sync your data with various cloud services. You'll probably want to disable automatic syncing to Google Photos afterwards if you upload to it in "original" quality, since Google hits your storage quota twice if you save a photo or video to both services.

Thanks for supporting competition in the free market Google. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘Ž


Grant Winney

Is there anything more satisfying than sharing knowledge? Of teaching someone and witnessing their "ah ha" moment? I usually write about tech, but no promises. I hope you find something interesting!