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How to Transfer Google Photos from One Account to Another
Transferring photos and videos from one Google account to another can seem daunting, but it’s actually a straightforward process if you follow the right steps. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to transfer your Google Photos library from one Google account to a different account.
What You’ll Need Before You Start
Before you begin transferring photos, make sure you have the following:
Access to both the source Google account (the account where your photos currently reside) and the destination Google account (the account you want to transfer the photos to). You’ll need to be able to sign in to both accounts.
Sufficient storage in the destination Google account to receive the transferred photos and videos. Google provides 15GB of free storage for each account, so ensure there is enough free space.
A computer, ideally with the Chrome browser installed. It is possible to transfer photos using just your mobile devices, but it’s easier via a computer.
Step 1: Export Photos from Source Account
The first step is to export your photos and videos out of the source Google account. Here’s how:
- Sign in to your source Google account and open Google Takeout in your browser.
- Deselect all services and scroll down to only check “Google Photos and videos”. Leave the other options unchecked.
- Choose export file type. You can choose original for full resolution photos or standard JPEG for reduced file sizes. Note that videos can only be exported in their original formats.
- Select delivery method. Choose “Send download link via email” which will allow you to download the files directly.
- Click “Next Step” and then “Create Export”. Google will prepare an archive of your photos and email a link when it’s ready, which may take hours or days depending on how many photos you have.
- When ready, use the emailed link to download a ZIP file containing all your Google Photos. Be sure to download to a device that has enough storage capacity.
Once you’ve downloaded your photo and video archive, you’re ready to import it into the destination Google account.
Step 2: Import Photos to Destination Account
Importing your photos simply involves uploading the ZIP file you exported from the source account into the destination account via the Google Photos website:
- Sign in to your destination Google account and go to photos.google.com.
- Click the Upload icon (downward arrow) at the top and select “Import“.
- In the box that appears, click “Select from your computer” and navigate to the ZIP file you downloaded earlier.
- Select the ZIP file so it appears next to “Import“. Toggle the option to “Upload size” if you want to preserve full image resolutions.
- Click “Import” and wait for Google Photos to ingest and process all the photos and videos in the archive. This can take substantial time.
Once the import finishes, all your photos and albums should now be present in the destination Google account’s Photos library! At this point it is safe to delete the ZIP file you originally downloaded if you need to free up space.
Step 3: Share Photos with Others (Optional)
If you previously shared certain albums or photos from your library with friends and family, you’ll now need to share those again from the new account for others to regain access.
To do this:
- In your destination Google account, open the Sharing page in Google Photos.
- For each person you want to share with, manually locate and select the specific albums or photos to share.
- Click “Share” and input the person’s email address or phone number. They will receive an email allowing them to access the newly shared content.
Be aware you won’t be able to simply move existing share access from the old account to the new one. You will have to share photos and albums again.
Step 4: Delete Photos from Source Account (Optional)
Once you’ve confirmed the transfer worked and all your photos are now accessible in the destination account, you can choose to delete the library from your original Google account if you no longer need it there.
To delete Google Photos from an account:
- Sign in to the source account at photos.google.com.
- Click on your profile picture > Photos Settings.
- Scroll down and click on “Delete Photos & Videos“
- Follow the on-screen instructions to delete your entire Google Photos library.
Be absolutely certain your photos have transferred properly before deleting! And remember – deleting removes them forever, there is no undo.
Alternative Method: Use Google Takeout Transfer Tool
Google Takeout now has a dedicated “Transfer tool” to help copy data like Photos from one Google Account to another. This automates Steps 1 and 2 above into a seamless process.
To use it:
- Open the Google Takeout site and select the Transfer tab.
- Sign in with both accounts when prompted – first the Source account, then Destination.
- In the tool, select only Google Photos to transfer.
- Click Start Transfer and wait for the process to complete.
- When finished, all photos will now exist in both accounts. You can still delete from the Source if no longer needed.
The direct account-to-account transfer method may be simpler for some users. But the original Google Takeout export/import works too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some common questions people have about transferring Google Photos:
How long does it take to transfer all my photos to the new account?
Total time depends on number of photos and videos in your library and your internet connection speed. For archives with 10,000+ files, the entire process usually takes between 1-3 days between downloading, uploading, and processing. Have patience if you have a lot of media to move.
Can I choose what specific photos to transfer?
Unfortunately no – using Google Takeout, your entire Google Photos library is extracted into the downloadable archive. The only way to selectively transfer is to manually download individual photos before uploading to new account.
What happens to my photo edits and creations?
Edited photos, filters, movies, animations, collages etc. should transfer and remain intact when importing your archive into the new account. However, end results can vary so check important creations still appear as expected after the transfer.
Will my photo albums remain organized?
Yes, when importing into another Google Account, all photos, albums, people groupings, and other metadata will import the same way they were originally organized for seamless transition between accounts.
Can I transfer photos without Takeout via USB or external hard drive?
While it is possible to copy the photo data itself via methods like USB transfer or external hard drives, the metadata would not carry over this way. Using Google Takeout is best practice to ensure photos import smoothly complete with albums, edits, etc. Download/upload is easiest through an internet connection.
What about Google Photos partner services like Facebook or Flickr?
Unfortunately links to partner platforms do not carry over a Takeout transfer. You will have to manually rebuild connections to export photos to integrated services like Facebook albums, etc. after the transfer occurs.
Do my photos remain accessible on the old account too after transfer?
Initially yes – the transfer tool/Takeout export generates a copy of your library for the new account. To fully move them, you need to manually delete the photos on the old account afterward if no longer needed there.
I hope this guide covered the key steps and considerations in successfully transferring your Google Photos from one account over to a new one. While it may seem complicated, just take it slowly. Be sure to fully download your archive from the old account first before importing into the destination account for your photos handiwork to transfer seamlessly.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m here to help clarify the process and ensure you don’t lose any precious photos during the transfer.