There is a before and after in the history of technology. When servers were renamed cloud. Although the equivalence is not exact, for the average Internet user it is. what used to be upload files to a serverCurrently, we upload everything to the cloud. Documents, videos, photographs… It’s cheap –or even free–, it’s easy, the apps do it automatically and, furthermore, it is comfortable and practical. So you don’t have to worry about the available space on your phone or computer. But some people think that you should download your photos from iCloud and Google Photos right now or you risk losing them.
Alarmisms aside, it is true that we take for granted that everything will always be there. Certainly the services and products that we use in the cloud work so well that when they fail, there is a panic. It’s the digital equivalent of a plane crash. They rarely happen, but when they do, the noise generated is deafening. You just have to think about the crashes of WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram. Even if it’s just a few hours.
But let’s get to the point. That your videos and photos are on external servers miles away it has its advantages. But also its drawbacks. Privacy, depending on a device that we have never seen or touched… In short, we are entrusting precious memories to a third party. And even if it’s Google or Apple, and they generate simultaneous copies in several independent servers, all precaution is little.
There are many reasons to have your images online and there are also reasons to start downloading your photos from Google Photos and iCloud to your computer, delete them from the servers, and forget about the cloud. Far from promoting alarmism, here are some reasons for you to think twice about sync your photo album with the Apple or Google cloud.
The main argument has to do with your privacy. In principle, the photos and videos that you upload to the iCloud and Google Photos servers are encrypted and no one will see that content. But we can’t be 100% sure about it. No system is infallible. And, although those of Apple and Google have a magnificent track record, in the world of security it is always assumed that even the most secure can fail.
Second argument, the security. Your photos are encrypted on a server, they can only be accessed by you using a password or other identification method. But what if someone impersonates your identity? All that personal content can fall into the wrong hands. An oversight, a weak password, a hack… If the content you save in Google Photos or iCloud is so private or personal, you should think twice before uploading it to the cloud.
From here, several questions may arise. Your photos are not in your hands, they are in the hands of others. Which means they can do whatever they want with them. In other words, only the trust we have in Google or Apple prevents us from thinking that one day they will change their policy and decide to use our photos and videos to train their algorithms, artificial intelligence and other products without asking us.
But you don’t have to go that far to stop relying on the cloud either. A practical argument for photography professionals. Images are stored in iCloud and Google Photos at a certain quality. In iCloud, the original quality is maintained, although depending on where you view the images you will see them compressed. For its part, Google Photos “optimizes” your photos by default. if you want them in original qualityyou have to enter it manually.
In short, iCloud and Google Photos are two great services that expand storage capacity of our devices. At reasonable prices, and free by default, offering a high quality of service, etc. Come on, if you’re happy with it, go ahead. But if you are concerned or affected by what was explained above, then we will tell you how to download your photos from iCloud, how to download your photos from Google Photos and, finally, the many alternatives that you have at your disposal to store your photo and video collection.
Apple makes it very easy for us both to upload photos to iCloud and to download your photos from iCloud if you prefer to store them in another location. What’s more, you won’t have to go one by one. You can download your photo collection from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC. The most practical way is to open the web browser you normally use and go to the official website from iCloud. You will need to log in with your Apple ID, the one you have associated with iCloud. Then go to Photos.
Once there, you can choose a photo or video, two or more or the entire collection. The latter with Select all. When you have selected which photos you want to download from iCloud, click on the plus button, the one with three horizontal dots. then choose Discharge and finally, download to confirm. Your collection of photos and videos will be downloaded in a single ZIP file that you can open on another device or wherever you have enough space.
Keep in mind that, as Apple explains, “When you delete a photo from iCloud Photos, it’s also deleted from iCloud and of all devices where you’re signed in with the same Apple ID. If you choose to download the originals, space will be reduced storage on the device.”
Another way to download your iCloud photos is to do it directly from the Photos app. As in the previous case, you can do it from iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC. If you do it from iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > “your user” > iCloud > Photos. Then tap on Download and keep originals. From Mac, you must go to the app Photos > Preferences > iCloud > Download Originals on this Mac. And from PC, you will have to do it from iCloud for Windows.
If you want to delete photos from iCloud, once the copies are secured on your devices, you just have to select and delete. But make sure that you already have those images safe on your device, outside of iCloud, as we have seen before. If you’re not sure, you’ll have time to delete them later.
If you have stored your memories in Google Photos, to download your photos to another device and stop depending on external servers, you can do the following. Although there are several ways to do this, the best method for discard all content is through Google Takeout. It is the Google tool that makes it easy to export “a copy of the content of your Google account for have a backup or use it in a non-Google service”. You can use it for any service, but this time we are only interested in Google Photos.
After signing in with your Google ID, the one associated with Google Photos, you must click on uncheck all. We only want to mark the Google photos service. In English, Google Photos. In Spanish, Google Photos. Marking it is enough, although you can take a look at the albums it includes by clicking on All photo albums included. Maybe you want to exclude some of the copy.
Then we click on Following and we choose the Method of delivery. It can be a download link or send your photos and videos to Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or Box. In Frequency we leave the option export once. And finally, you can choose between ZIP or TGZ and the size of each generated ZIP. To move them more comfortably between devices. Finally, we click on Create export.
As I said in the previous section, once you make sure that you already have all your photos and videos safe on another device, you can now delete the content of Google Photos. But there is no rush to do it. Before, make sure you find a good location for your photos and videos.
Where to store your photos safely
We end with an important topic. After downloading your photos from iCloud and/or downloading your photos from Google Photos, you now have your smartphone, tablet or computer full of images. Do we leave them there or do we look for one? alternate location? It will depend on the need you have to recover those photos, if you are going to look at them frequently or if you want to leave them safe to consult them infrequently, every few months, for example.
In this sense, organizing and classifying them will be useful. There will be photos you will want always have at hand, on your phone, and others that having them saved on another device will be more than enough. Today there are many ways to store photos and videos.
- USB flash drives or sticks. Connect and go.
- external drives. They are getting cheaper and without power supply.
- Memory cards. They can be inserted into the phone and/or the PC with adapters.
- secondary disks. On your PC, an additional disk to store everything.
Some of these options are not as comfortable as iCloud Y google photos. But they are safer. You will know that they are there for you. What’s more, to use them, just connect and go. It’s not that complicated.
A last ideal solution to obtain an equivalent as close as possible to Google Photos or iCloud, consists of buy a NAS. It is a device that, in practice, is a small computer. Its function is to offer a safe alternative to store all kinds of data in the form of backups. And you can also save your photos and videos. What’s more, although there are NAS for professional use, nowadays you can find Very cheap home NAS in which to store millions of photos and videos in your own home and have them available on all your devices via Internet. You can even see that content on your television but with the particularity of having them safe in your house and not on the external servers of Apple or Google.