by Chris Guld, author of Learn Google Photos. This information is excerpted from Chapter 3 of the Book.
Use the Automatic method with Backup and Sync
The goal of Google Photos is to have your lifetime of photos and videos in one place, your Google Account. If you have thousands of pictures on your computer, or connected hard drives, that you want uploaded to your Google Photos account, now is the time. If you upload them in the high quality size setting, they will not count against your storage allotment from Google. They will remain stored for free even after June 1 when the policy changes. The easy way to upload them all, automatically, is with the free software called Google Backup and Sync. Backup and Sync is your only automatic option for uploading from computer to Google Photos.
First, you download it from Photos.Google.com/apps and install it. You will be prompted for the email address and password for your Google account, then for the folders you want to upload. I recommend starting small to see how it works. You can uncheck Desktop, My Documents, and Pictures, then use the Choose Folder button to just select one folder. Once you get the idea, you probably do want to upload the Pictures folder, but not the Desktop and Documents.
- Go to photos.google.com/apps and download Backup and Sync for your computer – either Windows or Mac.
- Open the downloaded file and install the program.
- Run the program and review the settings:
- Make sure the correct Google Account is specified.
- Specify desired folders as backup sources using Choose Folders.
- Choose High Quality photo size.
- Click OK.
The Sync part When photos are uploaded from your computer to Google Photos, this is a one-way operation. Your photos are copied from your computer to your Google Photos account in the cloud. From then on anything you do to those photos either on your computer, or in Google Photos in the cloud has no effect on the other copy. Any references to “sync” refer to Google Drive and have nothing to do with Google Photos since July of 2019.
You see, the Backup and Sync app is primarily a Google Drive utility. Any folders you select will be uploaded to Google Drive, in the My Computer folder. They will also be uploaded to Google Photos if that box is checked. If you have the High Quality size setting checked, the Google Drive copies will not count and the Google Photos copies will not count against your storage allotment.
- Uncheck any folders you don’t want backed up.
- Add additional folders here.
- Select High Quality or Original size here (we recommend High Quality for free, unlimited storage.
- Be sure this box is checked, otherwise your photos will just be uploaded to Google Drive.
Using Backup and Sync
After the app is installed, you will see an icon in the lower right corner on Windows, upper right on Mac. It looks like a cloud with an up arrow:
Click that and you’ll see information on what it is doing. You will also see a 3-dot menu in the upper right. Use that menu to get to the preferences screen, to pause the backup, change your options, and to Quit.