How to transfer Google Photos to PC or Mac

and image of the Google Chrome logo on a laptop
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google Photos makes it easy to keep all your photos and videos stored online. You can view your files on your desktop or mobile device. While this Google service is convenient, you might want to download your photos and videos to another device as a backup. However, downloading files from Google Photos isn’t exactly straightforward.

While transferring Google Photos to your PC or Mac isn’t intuitive, it’s also not that difficult. To that end, we’ve put together this guide to help you through the process. We’ll show you how to transfer files to other online storage services and how to download individual photos and albums.

Thanks to our friends at TechRadar, whose similar guide helped inform ours. 

How to download all photos 

You can download all of your photos and videos in one shot. Unfortunately, you have to head over to Google Takeout since Google Photos doesn’t provide this option. 

1. Visit Google Takeout

Go to takeout.google.com and sign in to your Google account.

2. Select files to download

(Image: © Google)

Google Takeout will list everything you can download, including Contacts, Mail messages, Drive files, and more. Since you’re here for photos, click "deselect all" under the select data to include tab. After that, scroll down and click on Google Photos.

3. Select exporting method

(Image: © Google)

In the delivery method drop-down, you can choose from several exporting options. You can receive a download link that’s emailed to you. You can even choose to export your photos to another cloud service like OneDrive or Dropbox. You’re also given options to set periodic exports and even set maximum file sizes.

4. Export your photos/videos

(Image: © Google)

After you’ve done everything in the previous steps, click "Create Export." If you selected to have a download link emailed to you, it could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the size of your photo library.

5. Download your photos

If you opted to get a download link via email, open the email and click download your files. You’ll be able to download these files for a week.

How to download from Google Photos 

If you want to download specific photos/videos, you can do so from Google Photos. This is good in case you don’t want to download your entire photo/video archive. 

1. Select photos to download

(Image: © Google)

Find the photo you want to download and click on the checkmark located in the top left corner of the photo. You can click on as many individual photos as you want. Conversely, holding Shift when you’re selecting allows you to nab a group of photos.

2. Download photos

After you’ve selected the photo(s) you want, click the three vertical dots in the top right corner of the page. After that, click download. This will create a zip folder containing your photos.

How to download albums 

Google Photos also has albums that you’ve created or that it saved for you as “Smart Albums.” Downloading albums is similar to downloading individual photos. 

1. Find an album to download

(Image: © Google)

In the albums tab on the left side of the screen, select view all albums. After that, click on the album you want to download.

2. Download your album

As with the previous step, click on the three vertical dots to begin downloading an album. This will also create a zip file. Unfortunately, you can only download one album at a time.


And that's how you transfer/download Google Photos to your PC or Mac. While this process is a bit complicated, it's not too difficult in the end. And as we said up top, having an offline back up of your photos ensures your memories are safe.

If you're using Google Photos then you likely use Google Chrome. For more ways to get the most out of the popular web browser, head over to our guides on how to clear cache in Chromehow to set Chrome flags and how to enable memory saver in Chrome.

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