Ten tips and tricks for Google Photos

Google Photos is far and away one of Google’s best services. It’s easily the top choice for many Android users when it comes to saving and keeping track of all of the pictures they’re snapping with their smartphones.

But there’s more to Google Photos than being a gallery and backup tool. The app features tons of features, some of which are more obvious than others, and you definitely need to give them a try.

In this article, we’ve put together a list of options that are available in Google Photos that will save you some time, enrich your images, and help you make the most of your ever-expanding library of images.

Pick your favorites

You probably snap a lot of pictures, but only a handful of them truly make you proud. Well, you can easily add them to favorites for easier later access.

Simply tap the Star icon and the app will make a Favorites folder in your Gallery app, so you find them when you need them having to browse through the entire gallery to get to them.

Get the full info about a pic

Swipe up from any photo in Photos to see some relevant info about the picture including the date it was taken on, size, and the settings you used when taking it. The app will also display your exact location in Maps. Never forget a memory again!

The Assistant Tab

The Assistant Tab in Google Photos is a special place (it’s different from Google Assistant) where you can do a lot of stuff. Here you get auto-generated edits for your photos like Collages, Animations, Movies, and Stylized Photos. The Assistant will also suggest you clear the clutter too, by archiving some of your images in your library like screenshots and other images.

When you see something you like in the Assistant tab, simply tap the Save button at the bottom of the edit and the app will automatically save it to your phone’s gallery. Or hit the “X” in the top right corner to make it go away.

But what if you want to make your own custom collage? You can. At the top of the Assistant tab you get the option to create a new:

  • Album
  • Movie
  • Collage
  • Animation

Simply select the images you want to use in your collage/animation and Google Photos will do the rest of the work for you. Unfortunately, you don’t have the power to control which images go in which frame when making a collage.

Thankfully, the Movie option gives you more editing power. You can choose how long a certain image appears in the clip, and there’s also the option to add additional clips or a music soundtrack.

Quickly edit photos

Open up a specific picture and tap on the Editing icon that shows up below. From there you’ll be able to make some basic adjustments (including Light, Color, and Pop), as well as add some filters and crop the image.

If you feel like that’s not enough, you can always go to your favorite image editor directly from Photos.

Search for anything

Google is a search company, so it has baked in a powerful search algorithm into Photos as well, thus making it easier to find certain photos.

From the Assistant tab, you can use the search function to look for all the images with a specific subject. For example, “dogs” or “cathedrals”.

Google Lens

Google Photos also includes Google Lens. This is an image analysis tool powered by machine learning that can help you figure out what’s in a photo.

You can use Google Lens to identify logos, landmarks, addresses, and even dog breeds or plants. The feature will also serve up useful links and other actions like searching for additional photos via Google. You’ll find the Lens icon in the bottom section of any picture you open in Photos.

Free up storage

If you’re in need of some free space, Google Photos easily lets you get rid of clutter. Simply swipe down from the top of the display in the Photos tab, to reveal the Free up [space] option. Tap on it and confirm the pop up to let the app remove the items that have already been backed up to your Google account. You can still access them anytime via Google Photos.

Shared libraries

Google Photos also lets you share your entire photo library with someone else. Just tap on the hamburger menu located on the left in the search box and go to Settings. From there tap on Shared libraries and input their email address. You can limit access to older photos and only share the most recent ones with a person of your choosing.

Another option here (which is not available globally at the moment) is to limit the access to photos of specific people. This is great for families who have kids and want to share only images of their children with friends and family.

Download all your photos

Want to save all your photos locally on some other device? You can easily do so via the Google Takeout website, which lets you download ALL your Google data. Fortunately, you can opt to download only your pics.

Access the site and click on the Select None button to deselect all your Google data. Scroll down until you find Google Photos and click on the slider to activate it.

Scroll down and select next, and choose the file type you want to download your pics in and your preferred delivery method. Next, click Create Archive.

Sharing made super easy

Google Photos also makes is very easy to share content with whomever you want. For this very purpose, you get a dedicated Sharing tab in the app. Tap on it and search for the images you want to share. Because Photos is so great at organizing stuff, you will only need to tap a keyword (example “Bavaria”) to see all the pics from a certain trip. Select the ones you want to send and then simply tap the Share icon in the top right to send them on their way. You can also create a link for easier sharing.

Or you can manually create a new album to which you can add select pictures. Then click on the “+” button to add the people you want you to want to share these images with.