How to free up space on your iPhone with Google Photos

As part of my cutting back on my monthly outgoings and also looking at Apple alternatives I got into using Google Photos. This took my monthly £6.99 icloud fee down to 0.79p and still backed up all of my photos and videos in high quality.

The first thing to call out here is that whilst I turned off iCloud Photo Library on my devices I still use photo stream. This means when I’m on the iMac it’ll download the full resolution images and back up there. But I consider this as just another back up. I live in Google Photos really now and use that to edit and browse my collection.

If you’re on a smaller sized iPhone or just want an alternative back up then Google Photos is a great choice and costs nothing if you back up like me using the high quality setting.

The first thing I did was to make sure my main source of images (iMac) had everything. I then used the Mac photos app to export all of them (select all, then export) to a desktop folder.

Then I downloaded the Google photos sync app. Once I had this installed I picked the local desktop folder as my sync source and left it to it. I had 30,000 photos/videos to upload and it took a couple of days to get up there.

Now I needed to look at my iOS devices.

If you have iCloud Photo Library enabled then turn it off. iOS will ask if you want to delete local images, if you’re sure you have everything backed up then pick yes here. What you’ll find is iOS won’t actually remove them all. I had to manually delete anything left over from both my iPhone and iPad.

Now you have your iOS devices clear of photos you can download and fire up the Google Photos app. Give it access to your photos and enable backup from the app, this should be on by default.

That’s it, just let it all work for you in the background now.

Note that if you don’t have a Mac or PC like in my process and just an iPad or iPhone you just need to make sure all of your images are downloaded locally before enabling backup.