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iCloud Photos in Google Photos: How to transfer directly

Before technology companies were forced by lawmakers to offer more data portability in the United States and elsewhere, Apple took the initiative and began offering a new option on its website for data and privacy. Follow together to see how to transfer iCloud Photos directly to Google Photos and other supported services that should launch in the future.


When the GDPR was adopted in the EU in May 2018, Apple launched its data and privacy portal so that users could view and download their data. The feature then arrived for those in the US and Canada, the US, Australia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland in October 201


Now in an update to its data and privacy tools, Apple has released a feature to transfer iCloud Photos directly to Google Photos (videos too). Google Photos is the only participating service at the moment, but over time it should become more accessible.

Of note, the move from iCloud Photos to Google Photos will be less tempting, as the latter ends with unlimited free storage coming in June 2021. But there are still various uses that will remain.

Another detail to keep in mind is that transferring iCloud Photos to Google Photos with this new tool from Apple will not delete anything from iCloud, but simply make a copy and transfer it directly to Google Photos. Also, smart albums, live photos and some RAW files will not be transferred (but it looks like the live version of your photos will still be transferred).

How to transfer iCloud Photos directly to Google Photos

Apple notes that you will need to make sure:

  • Use iCloud Photos to store photos and videos with Apple
  • Your Apple ID uses two-factor authentication
  • You have a Google Account to use Google Photos
  • Your Google Account has enough storage to complete the transfer

If you are done with this, then:

  1. Go to the Apple Login and Privacy page (https://privacy.apple.com)
  2. Sign in with the Apple ID from which you want to transfer iCloud Photos and Videos
  3. Under the third option below, “Transfer a copy of your data,” click “Request a transfer of a copy of your data.”
  4. From the drop-down menu, select Google Photos as your transfer destination
  5. Choose whether you want to transfer photos, videos, or both, click Next
  6. Confirm that you have enough storage space on Google Photos
  7. Log in to your Google Account to which you want to transfer your iCloud Photos / Videos
  8. Allow Apple to add photos and videos to your Google Photos account
  9. Finally, double-check your details and click the “Confirm Transfer” button.

Apple says the process takes between 3-7 days and you will receive a confirmation email when it is complete. Here is a detailed look at the process:

  How to transfer iCloud Photos to Google Photos walkthrough 1
  How to transfer iCloud Photos to Google Photos walkthrough 2

Follow the instructions to confirm that you have enough space with Google Photos to make the transfer.

When you are prompted to sign in, enter the email for the Google Account to which you want to send the photos and video (this is a bit confusing, as the graphics almost look like Apple wants you to sign in to your Apple ID).

The last two steps allow Apple to send your content to Google Photos and final confirmation:

For all the fine print on how this feature works, see Apple’s support documentation, but here are some highlights:

  • The transfer includes copies of photos and videos that you store in iCloud Photos associated with your Apple ID. Formats include: .jpg, .png, .webp, .gif, some RAW files, .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v ,. 3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts and .mkv files.
  • Only the latest version of the photo is transferred, not the original version. Duplicates are only displayed as one photo.
  • When possible, photos are transferred with their albums. Videos are transferred separately without their albums.
  • Once transferred to Google, album and video file names begin with “Copy to”.
  • Some content – including shared albums, smart albums, photo stream content, live photos, some metadata, and photos and videos stored in other folders or locations – is not transferred at all.

How to transfer Apple data to other services

So far, Google is the only participating partner for Apple’s iCloud Photo direct transfer option. But it looks like Apple will add more options in the future. This could potentially include direct transfers for different types of Apple data from iCloud Photos.

However, you can manually download and move your data to any service you want. Follow along with our guide on this:

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