There is a before and an after in the history of technology. When the servers were called the “cloud”. Although the equivalence is not exact, for the average Internet user, it is. What was upload files to a server nowadays we upload everything to the cloud documents, videos, photos… It’s cheap or even free, it’s easy, apps do it automatically and what’s more, it is convenient. So you don’t have to worry about the space available on your phone or computer. But some say you should download your photos from iCloud and Google Photos now or risk losing them.
Alarmism aside, it is true that we take it for granted that everything will always be there. Admittedly, the services and products that we use in the cloud work so well that when they fail, there is panic. It’s the digital equivalent of a plane crash. They rarely occur, but when they do, the noise generated is deafening. Just think of WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram crashes. Even if it’s just for a few hours.
But let’s get to the point. Your videos and photos are on external servers miles away has its advantages but it also has its drawbacks. Respect for privacy, the fact of relying on a device that you have never seen or touched… In short, you are entrusting precious memories to a third party. And even if it’s Google or Apple, and they generate simultaneous copies on several independent servers, each precaution is too small.
The danger of having your photos online
There are many reasons to get your pictures online and start downloading your photos from Google Photos and iCloud to your computer, delete them from servers and forget the cloud. Far from encouraging alarmism, here are some reasons to think twice about it. sync your photo album with the Apple or Google cloud.
The main argument relates to your privacy. In principle, the photos and videos you upload to iCloud and Google Photos servers are encrypted and no one can see this content. But we can’t be 100% sure that no system is infallible. And while those from Apple and Google have an excellent track record, in the world of security, we always assume that even the most secure things can go wrong.
Second argument, the security. Your photos are encrypted on a server, only you can access them with a password or other method of identification. But what if someone is impersonating you? All this personal content can fall into the wrong hands. An oversight, a weak password, a hack… If the content you store in Google Photos or iCloud is so private or personal, you should think twice before uploading it to the cloud.
From there, several questions may arise. Your photos are not in your hands, they are in other people’s hands. This means they can do with it whatever they want. In other words, only the trust we have in Google or Apple keeps us from thinking that one fine day… they will change their policy and decide to use our photos and videos. to train their algorithms, artificial intelligences and other products without asking our opinion.
But you don’t have to go that far to stop trusting the cloud. A practical argument for photography professionals. Images are stored in iCloud and Google Photos with a certain quality. In iCloud the original quality is maintained, although depending on where you view the images you will see them compressed Google Photos “optimizes” your photos by default. If you want them in original quality you must specify it manually.
Overall, iCloud and Google Photos are two great services that… increase storage capacity of our devices. At modest prices, and free by default, offering a high quality of service, etc. So if that’s okay with you, go for it. But if you’re worried or affected by the above, here’s how to download your photos from iCloud, how to download your photos from Google Photos, and finally, the many alternatives you have at your disposal to store your collection of photos and videos.
How to download your photos from iCloud
Apple makes it easy to both upload photos to iCloud and download your photos from iCloud if you prefer to store them somewhere else. Plus, you won’t have to go one by one. You can upload your photo collection from your iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC. The most convenient way is to open the web browser you normally use and go to the official iCloud page. You will need to log in with your Apple ID the one you associated with iCloud. Then go to Pictures.
Once there, you can choose one photo or video, two or more, or the entire collection. The latter with select all. When you’ve selected the photos you want to download from iCloud, click the plus button, the one with the three horizontal dots. Then choose To download and finally, Download to confirm. Your collection of photos and videos will be downloaded as a single ZIP file that you can open on another device or wherever you have enough space.
Note that, as Apple explains, when you delete a photo from Photos in iCloud, it is also deleted from iCloud and…. from all your devices where you are signed in with the same Apple ID. If you choose to download the originals, space will be reduced storage space on the device.
Another way to download your photos from iCloud is to do it directly from the Photos app. As above, you can do this from an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC. If you are downloading from an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings & Your User” & iCloud & Photos. Then click on Download and keep the originals on Mac, you will have to go to the application Photos & Preferences & iCloud & Download Originals on This Mac. And from a PC, you’ll have to do it from iCloud for Windows.
If you want to delete photos from iCloud, once you have secured copies on your devices, all you have to do is select and delete them. But make sure these images are already safe on your device, outside of iCloud, as we saw earlier. If you’re not sure, you’ll have time to delete them later.
How to download your photos from Google Photos
If you’ve stored your memories in Google Photos, for download your photos to another device and no longer depend on external servers, you can do the following. Although there are several ways to do this, the best method for reject all content is by Google Takeout. Google’s tool that makes it easy to export a copy of content from your Google Account to have a backup copy or use it on a non-Google service. You can use it for any service, but this time we’re only looking at Google Photos.
After logging in with your Google ID, the one you associated with Google Photos, you will need to click on Uncheck all. We only want to mark the Google Photos service. Just bookmark it, but you can take a look at the albums included in it by clicking All photo albums are included. You may want to exclude some of them from the copy.
Then click on Next and we choose the Delivery method. It can be a download link or sending your photos and videos to Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or Box. On 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, click on Create an export.
As I said in the previous section, once you’ve made sure you already have all your photos and videos safe on another device, you can now delete content from Google Photos but there is no rush to do so. First, make sure you find a good location for your photos and videos.
Where to store your photos safely
We end with an important subject. After downloading your photos from iCloud and/or Google Photos, you now have your smartphone, tablet or computer full of images. Do we leave them there or do we look for a… other location ? It will depend on the need you have to recover these photos, to if you plan to watch them frequently or if you want to keep them safe to consult them infrequently, every few months for example.
In this sense, it will be useful to organize and classify them. There will be pictures you want always have at hand on your phone, and others that are stored on another device will be more than enough. Nowadays, there are many ways to store photos and videos.
- USB flash drives. Plug in and play.
- External drives. They are less and less expensive and without power supply.
- Memory cards. They can be inserted into the phone and/or PC using adapters.
- Secondary discs. On your PC, an additional disk to store everything.
Some of these options are not as comfortable as iCloud and Google Photos. But they are safer. You know they are there for you. Plus, to use them, just plug and play. It’s not that hard.
A last ideal solution to obtain an equivalent as close as possible to Google Photos or iCloud, consists in… acquiring a NAS. This is a device that, in practice, is a small computer. Its function is to offer a safe alternative where you can store all kinds of data in the form of backups. And you can also store your photos and videos. In addition, although there are NAS intended for professional use, today we find Very Affordable House NAS where you can store millions of photos and videos in your own home, and make them available on all your devices through the internet. You can even watch this content on your television, but with the particularity of having it available on all your devices. safe in your home and not on external Apple or Google servers.