Google's shutting down Album Archive — here's how to back up your photos

Image of Google Duo and Google Meet and Google Plus app icons on a phone screen
(Image credit: Primakov/Shutterstock)

If you regularly used Google Hangouts or any of Google's other now-defunct messaging apps sunset in favor of Google Chat, I have some bad news: Google is shutting down Album Archive, a gallary of images or videos shared on older Google services over the years. So now's the time to back up your content if you haven't already.

Google emailed users this week warning them that "some content that's only available in Album Archive will be deleted starting July 19." That includes some Google Hangouts data currently stored within Album Archive, background images uploaded in the Gmail theme picker before 2018, and small thumbnail photos, album comments, and likes. A banner on the Album Archive support page states the service will no longer be available after July 19, 2023.

Google's urging users to download a copy of their Album Archive data via Google Takeout. That way you can receive a download link through your email or transfer your data to one of the best cloud storage services like Google Drive, IDrive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.

While the email's pretty clear that some of your data stored within Album Archive will be gone for good after July 19, the support page suggests you may still be able to access it through other Google services even after next month. Users can "view and manage" content beyond July 19 on other Google services like Blogger, Hangouts (now Chat), Google Photos, and their default Google Account, the support page reads. If you go the email route, just know that the Google Takeout download link is only valid for seven days. 

That discrepancy between the email and support page has some people understandably confused. Either way, following Google's suggestion and snagging a copy of any images or video currently stored in the Album Archive couldn't hurt. At the very least it could make for a nice trip down memory lane. While you're at it, why not check out the best photo storage and sharing sites to help you keep track of everything? And if you're an avid smartphone videographer snapping away on one of the best camera phones, we also have a list of the best photo organizer apps so you can ditch endlessly scrolling through your camera roll. 

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.

Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.