Google just made it easy for Android to iPhone defectors to move their pics from Google Photos to Apple iCloud – but there’s a catch

OnePlus 12 close up showing Google Photos
(Image credit: Future / James Ide)

If you have all your snaps stored in Google Photos, but want to shift them to the iCloud equivalent – perhaps because you’re making the leap from Android to iPhone – then you’re in luck, as Google has just implemented a new tool that’ll do exactly this.

This is part of the Data Transfer Initiative (DTI), and previously, Apple made it possible to transfer your photos and videos directly from iCloud Photos to Google Photos. Now, as announced by the DTI, Google has made it so you can send all your pics the other way, from its service to iCloud.

The ‘Transfer Data’ tool is rolling out over the next week, so you might not see it just yet – but it’s imminent, rest assured – and represents a very convenient way to get your images onto iCloud. (Although do note that your pics won’t be deleted from Google Photos, not unless you do that yourself, after the transfer).

It certainly makes things a lot easier than trying to manually shift a library of photos across (by downloading them to your PC, say, then uploading them to iCloud, which is a ponderous process).

If you’re wanting more details on the process, Google provides a nice, neat set of instructions in the form of this guide.

There is something of a catch, though, as The Register, which noticed the development, points out – and it pertains to the size of your existing photo library. Let’s dive into that next.

iPhone 15 Pro Max being held

(Image credit: Future)

Analysis: Reasons to be careful

The mentioned caveat lies in the size of the free cloud storage allocation in Google Photos and iCloud. Assuming you’ve plumped for free accounts with both – far from unimaginable – the allowance is 15GB with Google’s service and 5GB with Apple’s.

So, as you can see, migrating from iCloud to Google won’t be a problem for freebie users, but as for the other direction – if you’ve got approaching 15GB of pics in Google Photos, that’s obviously not going to fit into Apple’s much more meagre free amount of storage. What happens then? Well, you’ll get 5GB worth of photos transferred over, then the migration will grind to a halt – and that’s that. In this case, you’ll have to pay up for more iCloud storage and run the transfer again.

It should also be noted that only supported file types will be moved over to iCloud, although that list encompasses most common picture and video formats. For image files, it includes JPG, GIF, PNG and RAW – the full list is available in Google’s instructions on the process that we linked above.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).