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Google Photos – four key benefits of the free service

Every iPhone, iPad, and Mac comes with Apple’s Photos app preinstalled, which handily allows you to store, edit, and sync your snaps across all of your devices.

The only thing is, Apple’s biggest rival provides its own equivalent service, and it’s arguably superior. Google Photos does most of what Apple Photos does, and a fair amount more besides.

Here are some of the key perks of Google Photos and how to access them.

Unlimited storage

Apple gives you a complimentary 5GB of cloud storage for your images on Photos, which almost sounds generous until you realize that Google Photos comes with free and unlimited cloud storage as standard.

As long as your images aren’t above 16-megapixels in size – which if you’ve taken them on an iOS device they won’t be – then they won’t count against your Google Drive storage limit. You can even opt to have Google Photos condense any images you have above that size at the outset.


Powerful search

Google is the undisputed search champion, and it’s also broken out ahead of the pack in the related field of image recognition software. This really tells in Google Photos.

Type ‘cats’ or ‘beer’ into the Google Photos search bar and you’ll receive a pretty comprehensive list of all (or a large chunk of) the photos you’ve taken with those things in them. Apple has since added such a feature to its own Photos app, but it simply isn’t as powerful or effective as Google’s.


Sharing options

One of the key things we all like to do with our images is share them with other people. And on this front, Google Photos is way more powerful and flexible than Apple Photos.

With the latter, Shared Albums make it fine for a small selection of images, but it’s quite limited. For larger scale sharing – or even if you want to share your whole library – Google Photos is much better equipped. It takes a cloud-based approach, and lets you instantly integrate vast swathes of photos from different accounts.

Cross-platform support

Somewhat related to the last point, Google Photos is simply far more open and accessible to more people than Apple’s solution. You can freely access your photos on more or less any device with Google, from web browsers to iOS and Android apps.

Apple has improved accessibility much more, but there still isn’t a native Photos app for Android. Nor can you access your images on as many streaming devices or smart TVs as you can with Google Photos.