Google Photos and Apple revisit every


In hopefully a final note on the way that Apple Photos and Google Photos work together (or not as the text below describes); I’ve now worked out what I hope is the best (and final) strategy of how I should use the two of them together.

Apple Photos on the mobile device is the master, thus this is where you look to reduce your storage load. I’ve just deleted hundreds of photos from all my iCloud Photos (on all devices that sync. to iCloud) by a massive 8.6Gb per device. You delete on one device it deletes on all devices, and iCloud as well – but you do get 30days grace to change your mind. 

The Google Photos app looks at the Photos and Albums you’ve uploaded to the your Google storage and peeks at what’s on your Camera Roll on your mobile device (see below).

Therefore I think the best strategy to use both together is to create Albums on Google Photos, and upload photos to them – so that you can share them, and prune Apple Photos as required. That will have NO IMPACT on any albums you’ve created in Google Photos.

You might think that you could create Albums in Apple and share them, but if you delete any photos to reduce space on your device, you will also remove them from the Album – as far as I can tell. That may not be what you want!!!

[Updated: 13th August 2023]

This post is a sequel to the article (see link below) that I wrote in November, and reflects a little more of what I’ve learnt about the crazy world of how Apple Photos and Google Photos interact (or work) with each other. I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.

This one starts from an observation I made this morning that some recent photos I’d taken with my iPhone and which were in my Photos Library also seemed to have been added to Google Photos on my iPhone (but not my iPad) as well. From the outset let me assure you that this is the normal behaviour. You have to set Google Photos to see all the photos in your local Photos Library {Settings > Google Photos > Allow Google Photos to Access – All Photos} otherwise it can’t work. What you are seeing in Google Photos is the app getting a view of what’s in your Camera Roll on the iPhone/iPad – you haven’t added anything at this stage to the Google Photos app, and more importantly, nothing has been uploaded to Google Photos at

What I did see however additionally in Google Photos were some edits of recent photos that I’d done in Lightroom which I’d exported to my desktop, and then uploaded to They could be identified by the little cloud icon on the picture.

It got me to thinking; what is the best way of sending photos from the iPhone/iPad to Google Photos – if I don’t want to sync everything using Google Backup (which as I explained in the previous post, I most certainly don’t want to do as they’ve already been backed up to iCloud). Am I doing it the best way?

Method 1

As above. Share (export) the photo from the iPhone/iPad to a chosen folder in the Files app or Google Drive, and then upload from that folder to Google Photos from (see also Method 3).

Upload from iPhone/iPad Camera Roll to a variety of services

Method 2

This is by far the easiest, and simplest way (and believe it or not I didn’t know you could do this). Open the Google Photos app on the iPhone, select a photo and then select the Upload (cloud) icon …

… the photo will be backed up to Google Photos (and; you will also note (see above) that once you’ve done that the Upload (cloud) icon is removed from the screen. In the Google Photos app, the photo will now have a cloud icon. Simple, eh!

Method 3

You can do the process in reverse. Go to and select Upload. You will be offered a variety of options …

An upload to from the Safari browser on my iPad

Choose (in this case) Tablet – as I was using my iPad to get the screenshots and you will get this dialogue …

Choose Google Drive and you will get this dialogue …

Choosing an image you’ve uploaded to Google Drive

Choose Copy from other services and you will get these options …

From which you can see (something else that I’ve learnt), that you can copy from iCloud – where all my iPhone photos are backed-up – to Google Photos. Duh!!!

What a wonderful (and complicated) world Google Photos is, and think – this was just prompted by me seeing photos in the Google Photos app I knew I hadn’t “uploaded” to Google Photos. Rest assured, they’re just views into the Apple Photos Library, not copies!!!

PS This isn’t an April Fool!!

Snapseed and Google Photos

If you want to edit, even if only in a minor way, the photos on your smart device (phone or tablet, Android or Apple), two offerings from Google should be tried first. If you’re an Android (Google) device user, it’s a no-brainer.

The Google Photos app will be installed on your device when you get it, and all you need to do is install Snapseed from the Google Play store. If you’re an iOS or iPadOS (Apple) device user then there’s a couple of extra steps you need to do before you can get started.

This guide concentrates on Snapseed. I’ve written about Google Photos previously and I’m providing links to them below. I’ll check to see that things haven’t changed materially since I published these posts …

Getting to grips with Google Photos – needs some updating and revising, and links need to be checked.

More Google Photos – some simple image manipulation – basically sound, but I need to check to see if there are any additional tools added.

Sharing an image (or album) from Google Photos – should be just about up-to-date.

How do you delete photos from Google Photos? – more recent so I’m assuming that it’s good-to-go, but I’ll check of course.

Although Snapseed is intended for use on smart mobile devices, you can install it on either a Windows PC or a Mac, but I have no experience of doing this, so it would be a project you would be taking on ahead of me. So for that reason I’m only looking at the app that you can download either from the Google Play, or Apple App stores.

So for camera users (rather than smart phone users), you will first of all need to get the photos onto your device. This could be by a direct cable connection from your camera to your phone, or by transfer using Bluetooth or WiFi, but more likely might be by using a SD-card cable like this one I have for the Apple gear. [It will either have to have a Lightning or a USB-C connector – check first before buying one.]

Apple USB-C to USB-A connector with USB-A SD-Card slot

The image(s) thus transferred will be added to your photo library be it Google Photos, or Apple Photos. Another way of adding photos on your computer to your Google Photos would be an Upload to – you will need a Google account to do this. This is how you would do it …

Select Import to Upload images to Google Photos
Select images from the Computer (or from Google Drive)

You could decide to use Google Backup to synchronise all your photos from your iPhone (or iPad) to Google Photos as an “easy” way of getting the photos on your Apple device into Google Photos, but this is not necessary to use Snapseed as it can access your Apple Photos directly; so I don’t because I’m already backing-up my photos to iCloud. [I only discovered in November I was also sync’ing to Google Photos, so I stopped doing that then and saved some Google Drive storage, and a whole lot of complications about knowing what was where.] But if you want to synchronise from your Apple Camera to Google, this is how you do it from the Google Photos app on your device …

Instructions on how to synchronise Photos on Apple devices to Google Photos

You should now install the Snapseed app on your device(s) from the Google Play, or Apple App stores, if you haven’t already. If you’re an Apple user you might choose to install the Google Photos app at the same time – although you don’t need it to use Snapseed, but you might just like to compare how it works.

Next up, if you’re an Apple user you need to allow access to your Photo Library to Snapseed (and optionally Google Photos). This will allow both apps (on iOS) to access the Photos in your Camera Roll on your iPhone or iPad.

Setting up Google Photos and Snapseed to be able to look at Apple Photos on device(s)

So now your ready to start editing. Open the Snapseed app on your device – you are prompted to Open from device (ie look at the images in your Photo Library), or you can access the camera to take a shot, or Open latest image that you’ve taken. The steps from then on are relatively straightforward and you will have selected the image that you want to Use.

Open Snapseed and look at the photos on your local device
Select an image to edit, and click-on Use
… and so start editing.

That’s about it. This video (recorded from my screen, hence background noise and rather low audio volume) gives a reasonable introduction on how the Snapseed app works …

A brief (14mins) introduction to editing photos using Snapseed

Here are some links that you might find of interest:

Complete Guide To Using Snapseed To Edit Your iPhone Photos

How to Edit Photos in Snapseed

Using your Android camera to take photos; but I believe all Android phones have slightly different camera interfaces, so you’re better off researching that for yourself. [NB If you have come across a really good guide, let me know and I’ll add it to the list here.]

How to Use the Camera on an Android Phone: The Basics Explained

Then for the iPhone …

How to use iPhone Camera: A guide for beginners and pros

A Beginners Guide To Incredible iPhone Photography

How To Use The iPhone Camera App To Take Incredible Photos

I hope that helps. Please advise if you come across something that doesn’t quite work for you, it might be my notes!!!