Using Google Photos to Free Memory on an Apple iPhone

Google PhotosAn Apple iPhone 6s Plus sure is expensive, isn’t it?  I paid $750 for mine from AT&T.  That’s for the base model with 16GB of storage.  I just couldn’t bring myself to spend more than $750 which would have gotten me more storage.  After all, it’s a phone.  Well, I ran out of memory.  Thankfully I discovered the Google Photos app.

Google’s Photo Service is all over the place.  You can access your photos from your phone, tablet, desktop.  Anywhere that has internet connectivity and a device.  The app has many features which the native photo storage iOS app on an iPhone doesn’t.

I use the Google Photos app on my Apple iPhone 6s Plus and the desktop from a browser.  You can also offload photos from your desktop using the Google Photos desktop uploader.

Here’s how to get started and details of the features.

Since the main purpose of this exercise is to free storage from your phone, you will want the iPhone app.  Search on Google Photos in the app store and download it.  Connect it up with your Google account and then allow it to backup your phone.  It takes some time to do that backup which will vary based upon the number of photos and the internet speed.

Once the backups are done, the photos and videos residing on your phone can be deleted.  Google Photos doesn’t do that for you.  It needs to be initiated by you.  That can be done by selectively choosing the photos within the iOS Photos app or can be initiated directly from the Google Photos app.  Deletion from the Google Photos app is an all or none deal.  The app tells you that it has successfully backed up your photos and asks if you would like to delete them all.  I haven’t done that as there are a few dozen important photos that I want to keep on my phone.

The only disadvantage I have found is that Google will decrease the quality of the photo a bit from the original as part of the free storage Google provides.  Unless you are planning to reprint these onto a huge printed image, that isn’t an issue.  If you need to offload these in the original size, there are subscription plans available to Google Drive which start at a few dollars monthly.

As mentioned earlier, there are some cool features available with Google Photos not found in the native iOS photo app.

Once the photos are downloaded, Google Photos will begin to recognize people and categorize them using facial recognition which is quite accurate.  The app will also categorize them by location (similar to the iOS app) or things.  As an example, I take a lot of photos of sunsets in Florida and Google Photos has a category called sunsets where it grouped all by photos of that topic.

There is an excellent search function that I use regularly.  That’s the screen capture that accompanies this article.  I searched on the word “ocean” and Google Photos found all the photos that had an ocean in it.  I like this feature a lot.

Google Photos also has an Assistant feature which suggests groupings and special effects.  For example, auto created a new album called Friday Afternoon in Naples for me based upon a bunch of photos I took while hanging in that city on a Friday afternoon.  It also auto stitched a panorama photo based upon a series of shots taken down the Jersey Shore of the Belmar Inlet.

Google Photos is one of my favorite apps.  It freed almost 2GB from my phone and I no longer receive those annoying “Almost out of space” warnings.  It’s safe to use.  I haven’t lost any photos and they are easier to access.  I suggest this app as a solution to anybody that’s running into space issues on their iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet.