How to Transfer Google Photos to Another Account

If you are planning to change your Gmail address or move from one Google account to another, transferring your Google Photos content is probably one of the first things on your do-to list. If you've already researched your options, you may have realized that migrating Google Photos is trickier than you could have expected.

In this article, we explain why automated migrations typically do not include Google Photos and outline the two ways of transferring your Google Photos to another account. We also provide instructions on how you can transfer your Google Drive files to a different account.

Table of contents

Although Google Photos and Google Drive share storage space in a Google account, as of July 10, 2019, these two Google products are not integrated. These are now two separate Google products, each with its own migration workflows.

For this reason, it is no longer possible to easily move photos from Google Photos to Google Drive and automated transfers of Google Drive content to a different Google Drive do not include Google Photos. So if you are moving to a different account, Google Photos have to be migrated separately from Google Drive items.

However, the ability of migration applications to copy Google Photos automatically is severely limited at the moment.

To transfer content between different accounts, migration apps like VaultMe use APIs, the programmatic interfaces that allow different applications to communicate with each other. While Google's APIs for Gmail, Google Drive, Contacts, and Calendars allow for seamless transfer of large amounts of content, the same functionality for Google Photos is not yet available.

Even though Google has been offering well-documented APIs for Google Photos for years, it significantly limits the number of operations that can be performed by an automated tool within 24 hours for all customers in total. The more users are transferring their content at the same time and the more content they all have in total, the slower the process is for each of them, often to the point of stalling. This makes each transfer a potentially endless process and causes major issues for all users, but users with a deadline for transferring their content suffer the most.

To avoid creating this type of experience for its users, VaultMe does not transfer Google Photos. Even though the manual process has its limitations, it is still the only reliable way of transferring this type of content to a different account.

In this article, we explain how Google Photos can be migrated with or without downloading and re-uploading the content.

Using this method, you can create copies of the files from the source account in the destination account. These copies will be independent of your source account, and ownership will not be transferred, so your original photos will stay unchanged in the source account.

You will link the accounts by sharing the photos and then save the shared content to the destination account. After all steps are completed, you'll be able to delete the photos in the source account.

While the process involves multiple steps, the metadata of the photos (such as dates, camera details, and others) will be saved.

While it is possible to save shared photos to the destination account, folders will not be copied. If your photos are organized into folders, you will need to additionally copy folders once you've saved all of the content as explained further below in Step 4.

To transfer Google Photos to another account through re-sharing:

Step 1. Check if you have enough storage in the destination account.

Initially, copied photos will not take up storage space in your destination account. However, when you delete the original photos from your source account or when your source account is deactivated, copied photos will start counting against your total storage quota in your destination Google account. You should therefore ensure that you have enough free storage space in the destination account before copying the photos.

To prepare for the transfer:

  1. Check how much storage is used by Google Photos in the source account. If you have a personal account, you can simply navigate to the Google Storage page.
    The interface for checking Google Photos storage use
    Check your storage use for Google Photos

    If your account is managed by an admin, navigate to My account > Payments and subscriptions > Account storage.

  2. Check if you have at least the same amount of free storage available in the destination account. Remember that, while Google Photos is a separate service, it shares storage space with Gmail and Google Drive.

    If you don't have enough free storage space in your destination account, you may consider purchasing additional storage for this account or copying only selected albums or photos.

Step 2. Share the photos with your destination account.

  1. On your computer, sign in to your source account and navigate to Google Photos > Settings > Partner Sharing.
  2. Select "All photos" and click "Next."
    The menu for enabling partner sharing in Google Photos
    Share your Google Photos with your other account
  3. Add the email address of your destination account.
  4. Send the invitation.
  5. Open the email sent to your destination email address and accept the invitation.
    The button for accepting the invitation to view Google Photos
    Accept the Google Photos invitation in your other account
  6. Select "Not now" when Google Photos asks if you want to share photos back with your source account.

Step 3. Save shared photos to your destination account.

  1. Navigate to Google Photos in your destination account.
  2. Click "Sharing" in the left-hand panel.
  3. Click the name of your source account on the right. This will allow you to view all photos that you've shared with your destination.
  4. In the top-right corner, click the three-dot menu.
  5. Select "Settings" and scroll down to "Partner sharing."
  6. Click "Save to your account."
  7. Select "Save all photos." This will save all of your photos, both with and without folders, to the destination Google Photos account.

If lots of your photos are organized into folders, you'll need to re-create the folder organization manually as explained below in Step 4.

Step 4. Re-create folders in the destination account.

You can skip this step if you don't want to retain the album structure.

Google Photos does not offer users the ability to retain folder structure when saving shared content, so now you need to additionally copy folders. The process will involve going through each of your folders in the source account and copying them again. This will not duplicate the photos that have already been copied during Step 1.

Repeat the following process for each folder in the source account's Google Photos:

  1. Sign in to your two accounts in different browser tabs.
  2. Open one album in the source account.
  3. In the top-right corner, click the "Share" icon and select "Create link."
    The menu for sharing a Google Photos album
    Share a selected album with your other Google Photos account
  4. Copy the link and paste it into a browser tab where you are signed in with your destination account.
  5. Open the album and select all photos in the album. Hold Shift and click to select many items at once.
  6. Click the plus icon in the top right corner.
  7. Select "Album" and re-create the folder by selecting "New album" and adding a folder name to mirror the album in the source account.

After these steps are complete for each album you have in the source account, the images that you've copied previously will be arranged into albums just like in the source account. You will be able to view albums in the "Library" > "Albums" section of Google Photos as well as in the "Photos" view.

If you delete the source account after you copy your files using the method explained above, copies in the destination account will not be affected. However, they will start counting against your Google storage.
If you exceed your Google storage quota, you will not be able to send or receive emails and add new files to Google Drive or Google Photos unless you delete some content or buy additional storage.
This method will not save the metadata of the photos (dates, camera details, description, and others) and the folder organization.
Ensure that you have enough free storage space on your hard drive before downloading Google Photos content.

To transfer Google Photos to another account manually:

Step 1. Download your Google Photos content.

Photos can be downloaded manually or using Google Takeout. Selecting and downloading the photos individually may be preferable if you have a small number of images. If you have lots of photos, manually selecting all of them may not be possible. In this case, consider extracting the images using Google Takeout.

  • To download photos to your computer using Google Takeout, refer to this helpful guide: How to download your Google data. Remember that Google Takeout will put downloaded content in multiple zipped archives without retaining the folder structure, so you'll need to unzip the archives and re-organize photos before uploading them.
  • To download the photos manually, use this article: Download photos or videos to your device.

Step 2. Upload your Google Photos.

  1. On your computer in a browser, create an album in the account using the "Create album" button in the top-right corner (optional).
  2. If you've created an album, you'll have an option to add photos to it immediately after creating it.

    The button for adding photos to a Google Photos album
    Click "Add photos" to upload photos

    To add photos without creating an album, click the "Upload" button in the top-right corner.

    The button for uploading photos in Google Photos
    Click "Upload" to add photos to Google Photos
  3. Select one or more photos (Ctrl+select) and click "Open."
  4. Wait for the photos to upload.
  5. Repeat for other albums (optional).

Luckily, transferring Google Drive files to a different account is easier than migrating Google Photos. Although just like Google Photos, Google Drive items can be copied manually, you can save effort by using a migration app that automatically transfers your content.

VaultMe is a secure, user-friendly application designed to transfer files between online accounts. It has assisted millions of users in copying their data efficiently.

Here's why we recommend VaultMe for Google Drive migrations:

  • In addition to Google Drive, it can transfer Gmail emails, contacts, and calendars to another account
  • It transfers owned and shared documents while retaining their folder structure, file formats, and formatting within the documents
  • It works "in the cloud" so you can close the migration and even power off your device immediately after setting up a migration
  • It is quick to set up, easy to use, and works fast
  • It generates a migration report at the end of the transfer allowing you to verify the results
If you have any questions about VaultMe, please contact us at We'd be happy to help!
  1. How do I back up Google Photos to a different account?

    You can set up partner sharing for all your photos, both existing and new, with the backup account and then save the photos to the backup account. This way, even if your original account is deleted or compromised, the photos in the backup account will not be affected.

  2. Can I transfer all my Google Photos to a different account?

    Yes. Here's how you can do that:

    • Set up partner sharing in account 1.
    • Get the invitation and accept the shared photos in account 2.
    • Save the photos to account 2.
    • Copy folders.
    • Delete the photos from account 1.

    For more detailed information about all available options, see our article above.

  3. How do I download all photos from Google Photos?

    Google Takeouts allows you to extract all photos or only selected albums from Google Photos. This method, however, has limitations that we discuss above. Review them carefully before setting up a Google Takeout export.

Transferring Google Photos from one account to another may seem challenging due to the lack of direct integration between Google Photos and Google Drive and limited API functionality, but it is definitely achievable with the methods outlined in this article.

Whether you choose to link accounts and share photos or opt for the download-and-upload approach, each method has its own set of steps and considerations. By following the detailed instructions provided in this article, you can successfully migrate your Google Photos to a new account. Remember to consider storage capacities and choose the method that best suits your needs and timeline.

If in addition to Google Photos, you also want to transfer your Gmail, Drive files, Contacts, and Calendars to a different account, consider using VaultMe, an automated tool for migrating content between online accounts.