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I have my photos in Apple Photos (both on iOS and my Mac), synced with iCloud, and I'd like to keep things that way, but I'd also like to have all my photos available in Google Photos at the same time, without disrupting my Apple Photos. Is it possible to do this?

I understand that, when given access to my Apple Photos on iOS, Google Photos works like any other app, and provides a view on the Photos that are stored in Apple Photos: The photos remain "in" Apple Photos and Google Photos is just providing another way to access them.

But I'm not clear on what happens if I enable "backup & sync" in Google Photos (on iOS). Initially I assume this copies all of the Apple Photos to Google's servers, but a few things are not clear to me:

  • Does Google Photos also make an additional local copy of each photo, or are any Apple Photos just present locally in Apple Photos?
  • What happens if I delete a Google Photo that came from Apple Photos, is it deleted in Apple Photos as well?
  • Can I independently organize photos in Google Photos that are synced from Apple Photos into Google-only albums?
  • If I edit or change an Apple Photo, is that change synced with Google Photos (just as it is with iCloud).

In short, what I'm hoping for is that Google Photos just serves as another synchronized backup for my Apple Photos, alongside iCloud, with it's own album structure. Is that the case?


All this assumes that I don't enable the innocent-seeming "free up space" setting, which (I think) would delete all Apple Photos on my iOS device.

  • Google has a very good help site that answers many of these questions and a lot more. If you don't get the answer you're looking for here, that's a good place to look. – fsb Sep 27 '16 at 14:12
  • @fbara: I should always say (I should think it was assumed) that I've checked the relevant help pages before asking here. – orome Sep 27 '16 at 15:51
  • Ok, it wasn't clear if you checked there because the answers to several of your questions are documented there and in the product forum for Photo. You asked many questions in this post and it might be difficult to get them all answered with 1 accepted answer. – fsb Sep 27 '16 at 16:13
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    @fbara: If you found useful answers there, direct links would be helpful. – orome Sep 27 '16 at 16:26
  • @orome So, finally, did it work? Can you answer your own question? – Colas Jul 31 '18 at 10:13

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