I recently download the new Google Photos app for iOS, and I noticed that my photos are only uploaded when I have the app opened and in focus.

Background app refresh is on for the app.

Is there another setting I can tweak to make it upload even when I'm not using it? Otherwise I need to remember to open it from time to time to have my pictures safely backed up.

Is this a limitation in iOS that cannot be worked around? Is it something that should be programmed in the app itself and it's not?

  • I had the same issue, but the 1.0.1 release, which came out yesterday, seemed to fix it for me May 31, 2015 at 2:51
  • I have the 1.0.1 but doesn't seem to upload it when running in background... I tried Google+, it works. However I wish Google Photo work as I do not use Google+
    – user130685
    Jun 5, 2015 at 10:19

3 Answers 3


Simply make sure the app refresh feature is enabled for Google Photos, enable auto-sync and when you're on wifi AND your phone is plugged in to a power source...it will continue to backup. Main issue people have is not having your iPhone plugged in. :)

  • 8
    Where does it say it needs to be plugged in?
    – shim
    Nov 13, 2015 at 14:44
  • 7
    I installed Google Photos, and it inconsistently experiences the same problematic symptoms described in the above question. I've tried all the suggestions @Cenner mentions in the above answer, and the only thing that consistently works is to run Google Photos in the foreground, without locking my iPhone. I'm running iOS 8.4 (12H143). Nov 29, 2015 at 17:50
  • In case it makes a difference: I'm employing the "Original / full resolution" photos upload option. Nov 29, 2015 at 18:18
  • I've also tried @Mark's suggestion (in another answer), and closing and re-opening Google Photos. The only thing I can think of I haven't yet tried is rebooting my iPhone. Nov 29, 2015 at 20:22
  • 1
    My iphone has sync enabled, is on wifi and plugged in every night, but has failed to sync for several days now. You have to have the app open, or enable 'Background App Refresh' as per the other answer.
    – Ed Randall
    May 20, 2018 at 10:44

So I was experiencing the same issue and turning off background app refresh in for Google Photos under the settings app and then turning it back on seemed to do the trick for me. Also when phone is in power saving mode background upload also disabled.enter image description here


Google Photos does not auto upload when camera capture a photo; so you need open Google Photos to browse the album, then setup allow background refresh for Google Photos.

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