For anyone who feels like they’ve been held hostage by iCloud’s 5GB of free storage or just wants to try out a different photo storage app, this week Apple launched a new service designed to make it way easier to transfer photos and videos stored in iCloud over to Google Photos.
As reported by MacRumors and further detailed in Apple’s support pages, Apple’s new transfer service allows users located in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the U.K. and the European Union to easily move content stored in iCloud to Google Photos.
Assuming you already have accounts for both services and have the proper login credentials (including active two-factor authentication set up on your Apple ID), the whole process is quite simple. All you have to do is sign in here with your Apple ID, select “Transfer a copy of your data,” and then follow the rest of the steps.
The important thing to know is that the service sends a copy of your photos and videos to Google, which means that all the original files in iCloud will remain untouched and undeleted. However, because Google doesn’t support the exact same range of file types as Apple, it’s possible that things like Live Photos, Smart Albums, and certain RAW files might not be available or displayed correctly in Google Photos.
Additionally, if you run out of space in Google Photos during the transfer, you’ll need to manually buy more storage yourself and then redo the transfer. Same goes for any last minute changes, deletions, or additions you make just prior to initiating the transfer, which might not be included. There are also a few fine details, like Apple only transferring the most recent edit of a photo and not being able to transfer pictures that are part of shared albums.
But all in all, it’s quite simple. The only real downside is that depending on the amount of data and some other factors, transfer may take between three to seven days to complete.
The one interesting coincidence is that Apple’s new iCloud transfer service comes just a few months before Google is set to end unlimited photo storage in Google Photos in June. This also comes as Apple is under scrutiny from lawmakers and in a legal fight with Epic Games over its perceived anticompetitive behavior. However, with Apple soon to be feeling less concerned about people potentially jumping ship from iCloud in search of more free storage (Google Photos offers 15GB of free storage compared to iCloud’s 5GB, but it’s definitely no longer unlimited), maybe the timing of Apple’s new photo transfer service isn’t so coincidental after all.