I have a lot of photos in Google Drive, in random folders.

I want to move them to Google Photos, because I really like the phone/tablet application - while the web app is... less good.

I have no idea how to do that. I moved them to some magical folder in Google Drive called "Google Photos". I have no idea what that folder does - it seems to be auto-synced with Google Photos in the way Google Photos app -> Google Photos folder, but not the other way (folder -> app) - nothing I put there appears in the actual Google Photos app.

How do I put the photos there? There are both in Google Drive, I can see both "Google Photos" and my old photos in Google Drive web app, but I cannot move them there no matter how much I try.


In this confusing help article which makes the relation between Google Drive and Google Photos even less clear, Google tells me to click on "search" and then "Google Drive". That produces "No results" on both android app and web app.

  • Googling the question around seems impossible because something about Google+ seems popping up, I am not using Google+ at all – Karel Bílek Aug 18 '15 at 17:43
  • This seems to be still the case. I was wondering if the "No results" on the Google Drive search was because I was using google apps for business but a customer support rep told me this simply doesn't work and will be removed. Looking at google photos now, the button seems to be gone. Still no option to sync between drive -> photos – dvcrn Jul 6 '16 at 2:57
  • As of 2018, the Google help article now mentions in the "See photos & videos from Google Drive in Google Photos" to turn on the Google Drive option from Google Photos settings – protongun Jan 11 '18 at 1:29

The only way I found, which is super stupid and as anti-user-friendly as they go (I guess that's the new Google), is to

  • download the files (it will take a while, will create a big ZIP file and might crash the Google Drive app)
  • unzip them, because while Google Drive gives you zip, Google Photos doesn't allow ZIP (output of an app is not accepted in basically the same app, awesome)
  • upload to Google Photos, hope that it will actually upload and not crash in the middle
  • then you will end up with the photos in both places, so you will need to delete one so it doesn't count twice to your quota

Not a good user experience. But maybe there is a better way?

  • 3
    Google now offers a tool to upload photos from your hard drive: photos.google.com/apps You can use the Google Drive application to download all your photos in drive, then use the Google Photos Backup app to upload them all to Google Photos. – KurtPreston Jul 27 '16 at 15:30
  • The newer answer below (webapps.stackexchange.com/a/106152/162414) is now a better way to do this. – jfritz42 Aug 3 '17 at 16:52
  • @jfritz42 That answer does not work. – Adam_G Jul 4 '18 at 1:26
  1. Login to Google Drive
  2. Click on the Settings button (Settings button)
  3. Select Settings
  4. Make sure Create a Google Photos folder — Automatically put your Google Photos into a folder in My Drive is checked.
    Create a Google Photos folder
  5. Find and select the image you want to move.
  6. Click on the Actions button (Actions button), and click on Move To...
    Move To...
  7. Select Google Photos
    Google Photos button
  8. Click on the Move button button.
  9. Your photo has now been moved from Google Drive to Google Photos

Side note: If you want to go the opposite direction (Photos → Drive), then login to Drive, select Google Photos on the left side, select the picture(s) you want to move, click the action button → move, and select the Drive folder to move to.

  • 7
    For whatever reason (maybe my old experiments?), my folder "Google Photos" in drive contains entirely different photos than what is actually in Google Photos. Moving photos there does not move them to Google Photos. When I renamed the fake "Google Photos" folder to "Fake Google Photos", it renamed and I don't get another "Google Photos" folder, even with the settings turned on (and I turned it off, reloaded, turned it on). – Karel Bílek May 19 '17 at 12:59
  • @KarelBílek, I have no idea. I wonder what would happen though if you created compete new folder instead of renaming, moved the Fake photos into the new one. Then delete what is now the Fake Photos folder. Turn the option off and then turn it back on. I know Google doesn't really care what the names of files are folders, it assigns them a unique ID and goes by that. You can actually have two files or folders with the exact same name in the same folder. I have had that particular issue before with my text message backups. – Drew Chapin May 19 '17 at 14:21
  • 4
    Everything uploaded via Google Drive takes up quota space. support.google.com/photos/answer/6156103 Google Photos 'Recover Storage' specifically excludes Google Drive. support.google.com/photos/answer/6314648 The only official way to upload to Google Photos "High Quality"/free tier is with the Backup and Sync app. There may be unofficial options. github.com/3846masa/upload-gphotos Older Picasa API-based alternatives are slowly failing, such as no video. github.com/jackpal/picasawebuploader – user423430 Jul 24 '17 at 6:57
  • What happens after this? Does it take a while for the photos to get imported and appear in photos.google.com or the photos app? – Lucas W Sep 30 '17 at 17:38
  • 2
    Does moving an entire folder with subfolders work (as in do the photos later appear in photos.google), or just individual images? – Lucas W Sep 30 '17 at 17:53

Seems it has moved to drive.google.com->settings Google Drive Settings screenshot

  • Adding a screenshot or a Google help link would be more helpful. – serenesat Aug 19 '15 at 17:07
  • 1
    I don't seem to have this option – Sathyajith Bhat Aug 20 '15 at 6:36
  • I don't have this option either – Karel Bílek Sep 14 '15 at 13:11
  • 6
    this is exactly the other way around (“Automatically put your Google Photos into a folder in My Drive”). OP wants to move photos from Drive to Photos. – törzsmókus Jul 22 '16 at 13:09

Google Photos finally came up with a proper solution. If you go to the Google Photos settings, you will see a new checkbox. Click on it and all of your Google Drive photos will show up on Google Photos.

enter image description here

protected by Community Jun 28 '16 at 22:10

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