How to Use Google Photos on a Windows 10 PC and Mac

We all have interacted with Google Photos at one time or another. The app allows users to view photos and photos just like any traditional gallery app. But Google photos is more special in that it allows users to back up their photos to Google Drive. You get 15 gigabits of free cloud storage but of course, they have the paid plan if you require more. It supports photo size of up to 16 megapixels and videos of up to 1080p. Photos uploaded from Google photos app normally appear in the Google Photos folder.

Most of us keep pictures and other media in different devices. How about you just store them in one location. This service comes in handy especially when your device is running low on storage space. Talk of keeping your photos safe, and organized. The Google photos app for mobile comes integrated with the backup and sync feature which you can toggle between turning it on and off.

The service has a lot of other features including:

  • Organization of images into categories
  • Can recognize physical features such as mountains, beaches, popular landmarks and skylines
  • Equipped with incredible AI that can identify whether the particular face belongs to a baby
  • Media with geographical identification metadata are added in the places category
  • The app has of cool filters
  • Easy sharing of media to other social networks
  • Generates links which can be used by other users to access.

Are you a regular user of the service on mobile and have been wondering whether you can use Google photos on your desktop? The incredible answer is yes. We have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to set up and use Google photos on Windows 10 PC and Mac. Whether its downloading or uploading, we’ve got you covered.

The steps in this guide were conducted on a Windows 10 PC but rest assured the process is pretty much the same on Mac. It all starts by setting up Google Backup and Sync on your computer assuming you already have Google Drive and Google Photos set up.

Also Read: How to Switch Between Windows of the Same App on Windows 10?

How to setup Google Backup and Sync on Windows 10 PC and Mac

Step 1.

Go ahead and open this tab on your browser which will lead you straight to the home page with the package.

Step 2.

Download Google Backup and Sync. Do this by clicking the huge blue button. Now click accept and download button on the confirmation pop-up box to accept terms and proceed with downloading.

Step 3.

Wait for the package to complete downloading. Once it is done. Locate the installer and open it to run. The installer will pull the rest of the package.

Step 4.

When the package is now complete, a similar dialog box will appear showing ‘installing’. At the same time, a window pops up as shown. Just click the get started button.

Step 5.

Next, you have to choose your account. Make sure this account has Google Drive and Google Photos setup. Keying your credentials is pretty straight forward. Click sign in button.

Step 6.

Once signing in is done, you will see another window as shown. Confirm by clicking got it button.

Step 7.

This next step is crucial.

  • Here you have to select the folder on your computer that you want to sync Google drive with. In my case, I have selected Pictures. You can check all the boxes if you want. In case your choice is not among the options provided, just click CHOOSE FOLDER to explore your whole drive.
  • On the right just next to CHOOSE FOLDER, we have change. This allows you to specify the type of files and folders you want to back up from the local folder you have chosen.

It has three options:

  • Backup all files and folders: Any file or folder from the selected local folder can be backed up on Google drive.
  • Backup photos and videos: Only photos and videos will be synced. This is what I have chosen.
  • Advanced setting: Allows you to specify which file extension(s) should be ignored.

When you are done setting your preferences click ok button.

  • Next, choose the quality you want for your files after they are uploaded. The high-quality option reduces the size of your files while still maintaining visual quality. The original quality option lets you upload your photos unchanged.
  • Don’t forget to check the box saying upload photos and videos on Google photos. This will allow the photos to be automatically uploaded into the Google photos folder. Network settings allow you to set your preferred bandwidth limit for both upload and download.

Once everything is done on this section, click the next button.

Step 8.

A confirmation window will appear. Confirm by clicking got it button.

Step 9.

Lastly, choose whether you want to sync everything backed up on your Google Drive or just the Google Photos folder. You can also change the directory for your local Google Drive. Click ok when done. You should now see the cloud icon on your applications tray (Windows) or menu bar (Mac).

Downloading and Uploading photos from your PC

Note that when you are done installing Google Backup and sync, the photos will be automatically downloaded on your computer specifically on the Google Drive folder. Downloading is as simple as that. You can as well download files manually.

To upload photos from your computer, just place your files in the folder you selected and the upload will carry on automatically. Upload or download session depends on the size of the files as well as the speed of your internet connection. All this happens in the background and can always resume in case of a network disconnection.

Other tips and tricks

Moving files and folders

Google Drive stores files and folders just like any other file system. This means you can move them the way you like. Simply access your Google Drive account from your browser. From the side menu on the left, you can literally drag and drop files or folders into another folder.

Let’s say you want to move photos from some directory into the Google Photos folder, just highlight the files you want to move as you would traditionally do, hold down the left mouse key, drag and drop to the Google Photos folder.

Manual download

Manually downloading files is quite easy. While still on the web interface, right click on any folder or file. You will be provided with a variety of options, download being one of them. To select multiple files just highlight and right click on one of the selected items to see the options.

Once you hit download, the files will first be compressed into a zip file. Conversion progress will be shown on the bottom right of the screen. Access the zip file from your browser’s default directory.

Manual upload

You can easily upload images to Google photos right from your computer. First, you will have to visit the Google Photos web page and sign in to your account. On the top right of the screen is where the upload button is located. Or you can optionally drag photos from the file explorer to the web page.


Synced files will at times take a while to show up on all your devices but they eventually do. In case a mistake occurred during setup or just a change of preference, you can always revisit and adjust the settings for Google Backup and Sync. Do this by clicking the cloud icon and selecting Preferences.

Leave a Reply