Skip to main content

Google Photos archive: the what, why, and how

google photos archive
(Image credit: Google)

One of the best cloud storage solutions for photos in the market, Google Photos is a great application to organize and back up your images. With over a billion users, it’s popular for its free unlimited storage plan for high-quality photos, although this is due to end on June 1, 2021. 

While Google Photos is packed with many useful features, our focus will be on a slightly obscure feature: Archive. We’ll look at what the archive feature is, why it’s of use, and how you can utilize it effectively. 

google photos archive

Google Photos is one of the best photo cloud storage services (Image credit: Google)

What is the Google Photos Archive feature? 

The Archive feature improves photo organization on a device, enabling images to be hidden from the Photos view. Note that they are not deleted but are just removed from sight. The images will continue to be found in search results, albums they were added to, and other folders on the device they’re stored on. 

Why archive? 

Archiving can help to declutter your photos. You can archive your screenshots, outdated bills, and important documents to keep them safe and for easy reference in the future. However, be aware that photos and videos that have been archived will not be used for movies or animations. Google Photos automatically recommends photos that can be archived and you can turn off these suggestions if you prefer. 

google photos archive

Google Photos offers suggestions on what images to archive (Image credit: Future)

How to use Archive on Google Photos: Preparation 

To use the Archive feature, you’ll need Google Photos installed on your device. You’ll also need to be signed in to your Google account. The steps to archive your photos will vary slightly depending on the device you’re using. We’ll look at steps on how you can archive photos on Android, computer, and iPhone and iPad. 

How to archive on Android

Step 1: Select an image

Once you’ve launched Google Photos, select an image by long-pressing it.

google photos archive

Long-press an image to select it on Android (Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Tap the More icon

Tap the More icon with three vertical dots in the top right corner. Do this once you’ve selected the images you want to archive.

google photos archive

In the top right corner, you’ll find the More icon (Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Move to archive

Clicking on the More icon will give you the option of moving your selected images to archive and you can click Move to Archive to begin.

google photos archive

Archive your photos by clicking on Move to Archive (Image credit: Future)

Archive folder on Android

Find the archive folder by clicking on Library in the bottom right corner.

google photos archive

Click on the Archive folder to view all the archived photos (Image credit: Future)

How to unarchive on Android

To unarchive an image, you’ll first have to open the Archive folder and select the image. After selecting it, click the More icon in the top right corner and choose the Unarchive option. This will move your photos back to their original places on the Photos view. 

google photos archive

Unarchiving will move your images back to their earlier places in your Photos view (Image credit: Future)

How to archive on desktop

Step 1: Select an image

Launch Google Photos on your computer’s browser or open it directly if it’s installed on your desktop. To select an image, click the top left corner of the image. A blue tick will appear to let you know it’s selected. 

google photos archive

Click the top left corner of an image to select it (Image credit: google photos)

Step 2: Tap the More icon

In the top right corner, you’ll find the More icon with three vertical dots. Click on this after selecting your images. 

google photos archive

Click the More icon in the top right corner of the application (Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Move to archive

Clicking on the More icon will load multiple options like Download, Favorite, Edit date and time, Edit location, and Archive. Click on Archive to send your selected photos to the Archive folder. Alternatively, you could use the shortcut keys Shift+A to archive the images. 

google photos archive

Clicking on More will give you the archive option (Image credit: Future)

Archive folder on computer

You’ll find the Archive folder in the navigation pane on the left side of the application. Click here to see all your archived images. 

google photos archive

Access the Archive folder through the navigation panel (Image credit: google photos)

How to unarchive on computer

To unarchive an image, open the Archive folder and select the images you want to unarchive. Once you’ve made your selection, you could either hit Shift+A or click on the More icon in the top right corner to unarchive the images. Unarchiving will move the images to their original place in your Photos view.

google photos archive

Unarchive images by selecting the More option or hitting Shift+A (Image credit: Future)

How to archive on iPhone and iPad

Step 1: Select an image

After launching Google Photos on your iPhone or iPad, select the images you want to archive by long-pressing them. 

google photos archive

Long-pressing an image will select it, and a blue tick will appear in the top left corner (Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Tap the More icon

In the top right corner, you’ll see the More icon with three horizontal dots. Click on this once you’ve selected the images you want to archive. 

google photos archive

Tap the More icon in the top right corner (Image credit: google photos)

Step 3: Move to archive

Clicking on the More icon will give you three options: Delete device originals, Move to Archive, and Edit date and time. Click on Move to Archive to send the selected images to the archive folder.

google photos archive

To archive the selected images, choose the Move to Archive option (Image credit: Future)

Archive folder on iPhone and iPad

To access the Archive folder, click on Library at the bottom right corner. It will present you with your albums and other folders, including the archive section.

google photos archive

You’ll find the Archive folder in the Library (Image credit: Future)

How to unarchive on iPhone and iPad

To unarchive an image, open the Archive folder and select the photo you want to unarchive. You can then click on the More icon in the top right corner. This will give you multiple options, and you can choose the Unarchive option to move the image back to where it was originally in your Photos view.

google photos archive

Tap on More to access the Unarchive option (Image credit: Future)

Summary

Following the steps mentioned above, you can archive your images easily on any device you’re using Google Photos on. Archiving will organize your Photos view better and keep the archived images hidden away. 

Google Photos has excellent features and if you’d like to use it more effectively, do check out our article on how to use Google Photos