Google Photos and Drive are Separating Today

Posted on July 10, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google, Google Photos, Music + Videos with 21 Comments

Today’s the day: As promised, Google is no longer automatically syncing photos between its Drive and Photos services.

“Many of you store your photos and videos on both Google Drive and Google Photos, which keeps them safe and easy to access,” the Google Photos blog announced last month. “We’ve heard feedback that the connection between these services is confusing, so next month, we’re making some changes to simplify the experience across Drive and Photos.”

As of today, new photos and videos added to Google Drive will no longer automatically appear in Photos. Likewise, new photos and videos added to Google Photos will not be added to the Photos folder in Drive too. So, you delete photos and videos in Drive, they will not be removed from Photos. And vice versa.

You can still copy photos between the two services, and Google’s Backup & Sync desktop client now supports uploading photos to Google Photos in addition to Drive. But when you copy photos from Google Photos to Drive, or vice versa, they will take up twice as much storage space, since there will be one copy in both services. (Note the change in how deleting works above.)

There’s also a new Send to Photos option in Google Drive on the web that will let you copy (and thus duplicate) photos between the services.

You can learn more at the Google Support website.

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Comments (21)

21 responses to “Google Photos and Drive are Separating Today”

  1. dontbe evil

    usual google untrustful behavior with their service, glad I don't use any

  2. DaddyBrownJr

    It's amusing to me that anyone sees this as confusing. It is about as straight-forward as it gets.

  3. Philotech Mueller

    Paul (and all others)

    Do you know a way to DOWNload photos from Google Photos other than through Takeout? I am looking for a way to sync all my photos taken with my phone to my computer or my NAS / Home server.

    • obarthelemy

      In reply to Philotech:

      I've looked everywhere today, couldn't find a way.

    • Stooks

      In reply to Philotech:

      The Google drive client, now called Google Backup and Sync does exactly that. It will Sync your folders, both ways. The exact same way OneDrive or any other cloud storage sync app works.


      I sync OneDrive to 5 computers, one Mac and 4 Windows 10 machines. The Mac gets backed up using Backblaze, and my home desktop computer gets backed up to a USB drive, using the builtin in Windows 10 backup. Both backup programs backup the local copy of OneDrive. I have 8 copies of that data, two in the cloud (OneDrive/Backblaze) 5 computers and one USB Drive.


      Use the Google client, to Sync your photos from Google Drive to your computer. Then backup/copy/rsync them to your NAS. Lots of free tools to do that.

  4. david.thunderbird

    Leave it to gooGle to take a semi-confusing iand make it excruciatingly confusing.

    • Stooks

      In reply to david.thunderbird:

      And then cancel it.....or change the name to YouTube Drive. You know to go along with....YouTube, YouTube Red, YouTube Music, YouTube Gaming, YouTube TV or YouTube Premium.


      Once they change it they will use, Allow, Duo, Android Messenger and Hangouts to let you know. Possibly Inbox or Gmail....or Google +. Whatever works, as long as they can SUCK as much data from you as possible.

  5. obarthelemy

    Dang, I'm lost.


    How can I be 100% sure I can delete the Google Photos folder from Google Drive w/o losing any pictures ? I've got thousands of them, is there an easy way to make sure all pictures and videos are indeed in pure gPhotos before I delete them from gDrive's Photos ?


    Also, will Photos get a file/folder UI, because the "whole mess+albums" UI ain't doing it for me.

    • Winner

      In reply to obarthelemy:

      I would never rely on any cloud service exclusively for important data. You ought to have a local copy of those photos if they are important to you.

      • obarthelemy

        In reply to Winner:

        Of course I do, to the best of my knowledge, but double-checking is a pain:


        1- all my home pics and vids are uploaded a) manually, to my Synology NAS and b) automatically from my phone's app, to Google Photos

        2- CloudSync on my NAS then re-downloads my whole gDrive folder to the NAS. This used to include gDrive's gPhoto folder, now that's dead, and I don't think Synology's CloudSync can backup from gPhoto directly.

        3- This and other irreplaceable stuff from the NAS (my own data, my Google TakeOut,..) is backed up yet again to a couple of rotating USB drives that are stored away, off-line.


        This doesn't solve the 2 issues:

        1- no easy way to double-check what's actually in Google Photo

        2- no fille/folder UI à la Google Drive

        3- bonus, no Synology backup ?

  6. djross95

    I don't see the rationale for this at all, and now it's more confusing than ever. Google seems to have lost its way of late...

  7. jwr375

    This change is happening over the coming weeks according to an e-mail I got from Google

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