I am a user of Photos for OSX, after upgrading from iPhoto. I am trying to use Google's photo service to backup my library from my Mac Mini. I have installed the Google Desktop Uploader application from the photos.google.com site.

The application does not seem to allow me to select my Photos library in the preferences as it is grayed out. If I select the "Pictures" parent folder, the application does not find my photos and they are not uploaded.

My Photos library resides on the internal drive in my mini, and is about 131GB in size.

  • 1
    The Google Drive app might do it.
    – bret7600
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 10:25

4 Answers 4


I wasn't sure if this was possible, but I'm please to report that it is, and I'm going to use it myself. The trick is to understand that Photos Library.photoslibrary is a Package File that Google Photos Backup doesn't know how to see inside. However, Finder does. So, right click on Photos Library.photoslibrary (normally inside your Pictures folder) and select Show Package Contents. All of your pictures are inside of Masters, organized by date added (however note that any edits you made in Apple Photos are not included; these are the original images).

Now, run Google Photos Backup and click Add to select the folder. Drag the Masters folder into the File Dialog:

Dragging Master folder to Google Add Watched Folders

Now click Choose, and you've succeeded in getting the Google Photos Backup to look inside the Apple Photo package. You may want to unclick the other watched folders, since Apple Photo should already be importing all images.

I just figured this out, so I'll update if I find any downsides. Since Google Photos is completely free for the High Quality images (as opposed to Original resolution), it will be interesting to compare the two services.

  • Thanks for your reply. I tried this after reading about it on another site. However, I find that if I go back into the Google uploader preferences afterwards, the Masters folder has disappeared again. My concern is that it would stop working after a reboot.
    – rf_wilson
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 12:24
  • Having said that, I have just rebooted and it is still uploading around 20k files! So I will have to give it time to finish, then see if it continues to add new files.
    – rf_wilson
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 13:25
  • I checked, and this configuration persists fine across restarts.
    – Dan Kohn
    Commented Jun 3, 2015 at 18:53

To make sure "Pictures/Photos\ Library.photoslibrary/Masters/" stays permanently in the list of folders, you must remove "Pictures/" from the list.

I found Google Photos Backup rejects folders contained in folders already in the list; since "Pictures/Photos\ Library.photoslibrary/Masters/" is inside "Pictures/"... you get the ... picture.


The latest version of the desktop uploader can now recognise and upload directly from Photos library.


There is a configuration file for Google Photos Backup that will allow you to manually enter the value.

Look inside your Application Support directory and add the full path to your Photos app Masters directory:

  • Quit the Google Photos Backup application (so your changes aren't overwritten by auto-save)
  • Open a new Finder window
  • Go to your user Home directory (Shift-Command-H)
  • Open Library -> Application Support -> Google -> Google Photos Backup -> db
  • You should see a directory named for the email address associated to your Google account. Open this.
  • Open the file named watchedfolders.txt
  • Add the path to your Masters directory to a new line in that text file...
    • ~/Pictures/Photos\ Library.photoslibrary/Masters
  • Save and close the file watchedfolders.txt

However, I have found that no matter the solution (whether this or the former), only newly-added photos are detected and uploaded to Google Photos. All photos that are pre-existing in the Photos app library seem to be ignored. I'm curious if there is some way to "touch" each file in the Masters directory so that Google Photos Backup will suddenly see them.

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