How to Get the Photos on Your Hard Drive in Google Photos — Back Up and Sync

Many of our early users have asked, “What about the photos on my hard drive? Can you help me get those photos into Google Photos?” Gather handles copying photos/videos in the cloud from popular social and cloud storage apps so currently we don’t support this. However, Google can help you!

We think Google’s simple and easy to use app, Backup and Sync, is the best way to get the photos and videos on your computer or external hard drive into your Google Photos library.

5 Steps to Set Up Backup & Sync

  1. Prepare by making sure you’re connected to wifi and your computer is in a place it can stay for an extended period of time like overnight
  2. Download and install the app to your computer
  3. Select the file types and folders containing the photos/videos you’d like to upload
  4. Select additional settings such as upload size settings and what Google Photos should do when you remove or add photos and videos
  5. Click OK

Google will start the upload process immediately and will continue to run in the background. You can continue to use your computer while the backup runs. You can open the app anytime to check the status of your upload.

Suggested Backup & Sync Settings

If you’re looking for a quick solution, here are some suggested settings:

  • Choose the folder(s) on your computer that contains the photos and videos you wish to backup. If you store your photos in the Windows or Mac photos library, choose these locations
  • Don’t sync from Google Drive to your computer
  • Make sure you select “High Quality” for Photo and video upload size so you can store your photos/videos free of charge
Suggested backup settings for backing up from a folder on your computer

If you are uploading photos and videos from an external hard drive, when selecting the folders to copy, locate and select the folder on the external hard drive.


Important Note: Backup and Sync is used both for backing up all types of files to Google Drive and uploading photos and videos to Google Photos. See Google’s article on how Google Drive and Google Photos work together, for guidance on optimal setup for what you’d like to backup.