How to use Google Photos in Windows 10

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • Google Photos is an amazing service to sync and backup all your photos and videos from your computer and mobile devices.  It's also free.
  • The desktop application let's you easily sync one or more folders from your computer to the cloud. Deeper integration with Window 10 however is not available.
  • Similar articles can be found in the Google Photos section of our website or you can start searching for your topic.
  • Our How To Tech Guides Hub is a collection of carefully written tutorials and articles to help you understand anything tech-related to make better use of it.
use google photos windows 10

Microsoft promotes its in-house Photos app as the best possible solution for storing your photos in Windows 10. While Microsoft’s is indeed a very solid option, some users might want an alternative.

A service that arises as one of the best alternatives for the Photos app in Windows 10, is another popular photo-storing service, Google Photos.

Google Photos natively works the best on Android devices, where it’s also most used. But not many users know that you can actually use Google’s photo-storing service on Windows desktops, as well.

So, we’ve decided to write a full guide about using Google Photos in Microsoft’s Windows 10, just in case you want an alternative for its native Photos app.

We’ve written extensively on Google Photos issues. Check out this guide for more information.

Can I use Google Photos on my Windows 10 PC? Yes, you can, and it’s actually very simple. Since 2018, there is a Photos standalone app that works on Windows 10. You can access Google Photos through Google Drive, as well.

Google Photos in Windows 10

Unfortunately, Google Photos is not a full-fledged Windows 10 app, like its the case with Photos. So, you can’t use a single app to both upload and access uploaded photos.

In fact, you can only access uploaded photos in a browser, as Google Photos doesn’t have its client for Windows (10).

But there’s one tool you can actually use on your Windows desktop. That tool is called Desktop uploader, and it allows you to automatically upload your desired photos from your computer to Google Photos.

To download this tool, visit Google Photos’ website.

google photos windows 10 1

Once you’ve downloaded Desktop uploader, install it, and enter your Google Account login credentials. After that, the tool is going to ask you to include a few folders from where you want your photos to be uploaded.

Once you include all desired folders, just click OK, and your photos will be uploaded to Google Photos automatically.

You can set up this tool to open on system’s startup, so any time you add a new photo to a select folder, it will be automatically uploaded to Google Photo’s cloud.

As we said, you can later access uploaded photos in browser, on Google Photo’s website.

Access Google Photos via Google Drive

Although there’s no direct way to access Google Photos on your Windows 10 computer, you can take a slightly different road, and make it available via Google Drive’s client for Windows.

All you need to do in order to be able to access Google Photos via Google Drive is to connect two services, and download Drive’s official client for Windows Desktop.

The first thing you’re going to do is connecting Google Drive and Google Photos. Google Drive has the built-in ability to show Google Photos within the cloud, you just need to enable it first.

Once you integrate Google Photos and Google Drive, all your photos will be shown in a special Google Drive folder called ‘Google Photos.’ To make this possible, do the following:

  1. Open Google Drive in your web browser.
  2. Go to settings (little gear icon in the upper left part of the screen).
  3. Check Create a Google Photos folder, under photos windows 10 2
  4. Save changes.

Now, all your Google Photos images are going to be shown in Google Drive. So, all you need to do now is to make the accessible from Windows Desktop.

To do that, simply download the Google Drive Windows client, sync all your content, and the Google Photos folder is going to be there.

To download Google Drive for desktop, visit this link. Once you’ve installed it, wait a few minutes for syncing. When the process is done, just go to the Google Drive folder on your computer, and open Google Photos.

google photos windows 10 3

Learn how to store Google Drive files on an external flash drive in a quick way!

Use a third-party app

For almost every service whose official app is missing from the Windows Store, there’s a third-party alternative. And Google Photos is not an exception.

So, if you don’t want to access Google Photos in browser, or via Google Drive, you can download the third-party app, and have this service functioning on your computer.

The best third-party Google Photos client for Windows 10 you can currently find is an app called Client for Google Photos. It allows you to do anything as if you would do with the official app.

You can access your photos and albums, upload new photos, create new new albums, watch slideshows, and more.

google photos windows 10 4

You can download the Client For Google Photos for free from the Store, but there’s also a paid version, in case you want some additional features.

Unfortunately, this is the only known way to access Google Photos locally. As far as we know about Google’s policies about Windows, we shouldn’t expect the full-fledged Google Photos app to arrive on any of Microsoft’s platforms soon.

Google Photos is not the only Google’s service that’s missing from Windows. For example, users are still waiting for the official apps of YouTube, Gmail, Google Play, etc.

2019 Update: Google Photos appeared in late October 2018 on Microsoft Store. The app had Google LLC as a publisher in the description and stood there for a while until Microsoft removed it. You can find it on Google  Store or on the official Google website. Just download it from there and start to use it.

It now has full functionality, updated features, automatic synchronization, and everything you’ll need to run it properly, as a standalone app, on your Windows 10 PC.

Now you can choose what folders to automatically sync, upload and download photos, change the devices that upload photos to the cloud and change the quality of the images stored.

If some of you already tested the Google Photos for Windows 10, let us know in the comments section below about your experience. If you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to leave them there as well.

FAQ: Learn more about using Google Photos in Windows 10

  • Is there a Google Photos app for Windows 10?

There is an app that you can download to sync photos from your computer to your Google Photos account. Download from the official source indicated in this article.

  • What is the catch with Google Photos?

Google Photos offers virtually unlimited storage as long as you store your photos and videos in a certain format at a certain quality determined by their compression algorithm. Otherwise, you can still sync files but they will count towards your Google account storage quota. There are also some privacy concerns.

  • How do I upload thousands of photos to Google Photos?

The best way would be to have them all available in a certain folder on your computer. Then use the sync application following the instruction in the article, and use that folder as a backup source. The uploading will begin in the background and, once finished, all the photos will be available online.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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  • Thank you, Ivan, great article! Just what I was looking for, as I was looking for a nice tool to sync mc photos from the google account with my computer.

  • somebody please tell me how i can view my photos in a ‘file manager’ big/small thumbnails way, select many photos across many dates, add one caption to many, drag them (or a virtual copy of them) into a folder, and upload them to google photo or whatever to share where’ albums’ are automatically created for the ‘folders’ and captions are retained. is there no free service? must i buy lightroom or use smugmug type service to do this?

  • It seems that the app, Client for Google Photos, is no longer available in the Microsoft Store. Any other way to safely download this app onto a Windows 10 device?