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How To Download Videos from Google Photos to your Phone

Posted by Jamie on June 7, 2019

As most of us have a Google account, using the 15GB of free storage or whatever they are offering new accounts now is a no-brainer when it comes to backing up. You don’t have to be an Android user either, you could backup your iPhone to Google Drive or Google Photos too. What happens when you want to download photos or videos from Google Photos to your phone? How do you do it?

For example, I just factory reset my Samsung Galaxy and wanted to pull down all my images and videos so I could have them stored locally as well as in the cloud. While you can view and perform basic edits from within Google Drive, if you want to do anything more, you need to download from Google Photos to your phone. That’s what this tutorial is all about.

Download videos from Google Photos

The exact method of downloading from Google Drive depends on how you have it organized. If you have stuff in folders, you can choose to download the entire folder or individual items from within the folder. I’ll show you both. The instructions differ between Android and iOS so I’ll show you both of those too.

There is also a way to download everything you have synced to the cloud to an Android device and I’ll show you that as well.

Download photos and videos to Android:

  1. Open Google Photos from within your Android device, making sure you’re connected to WiFi.
  2. Select a file and the three dot menu icon.
  3. Select Download.
  4. Repeat for all items you want to download.

This method works best if you just have a few items you want to download. Otherwise it might be easier to sort them into folders.

Download a folder to your phone:

  1. Open Google Photos from your device.
  2. Select a folder and the three dot menu icon.
  3. Select Download.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

The folder will be downloaded as a .zip file so you will need to decompress it for it to work properly on your phone.

Download photos and videos from Google Photos to an iPhone:

  1. Open the Google Drive app on your iPhone.
  2. Select the three dot menu icon next to the file or folder you want to download.
  3. Select Open In and select an app on your phone.

A copy of the image or video will be saved onto your phone and opened in the app you selected. You can also manually download the file without opening it if you prefer.

  1. Open the Google Drive app on your iPhone.
  2. Select the three dot menu icon and select Send a Copy.
  3. Select Save Image or Save Video from the menu.

This will save a copy of the file while retaining a copy in Google Photos.

Download everything from Google Drive

If, like me, you have an Android phone and have just factory reset it, you’re going to want to download your contacts, files, photos, videos and more. While you can do that individually from Google Drive, you can also use Google Takeout. It’s a neat feature that lets you download everything to your phone.

  1. Follow this link to Google Takeout and log in if prompted.
  2. Select all the elements from the page you want to download.
  3. Select Next Step at the bottom.
  4. Choose how you want to receive your download and have Google send the link.
  5. Access the link from your phone using WiFi and download your data.

Depending on how much data you have backed up to Google Drive, this could take a while.

Troubleshooting video downloads from Google Photos

I came across a problem when downloading individual videos onto my phone. When trying to download an individual video for this tutorial, it simply wouldn’t download. I tried multiple times, logged in and out of Google Photos, restarted my phone and tried everything I could to fix it.

In the end I found the answer online. I’m sharing it here so you can fix it far quicker than I did!

  1. Use a file manager on your phone and navigate to the Downloads folder.
  2. Look for a .nomedia file and delete it.
  3. Retry your download.

A .nomedia file is usually used to stop the system scanning folders with no relevant data in them. They are also used for hiding apps or images from the system too. Typically, having a .nomedia file within a folder will not prevent you from downloading anything into it but in my case it did. Once I deleted the file, I could download videos from Google Photos as normal.

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