Android 101: How to download or share a Google Photos album

One thing Google really wants you to do is stay with Google – because the more you do like Google does, the more data the company can monetize. As a result, while it’s possible to get your emails, photos, and other material out of the Googleverse, it’s a bit more difficult.

For example, let’s say you want to show your favorite grandparents an album of family photos stored in Google Photos. If they’re reasonably knowledgeable about Google, that’s fine – just share the album with them.

Share a Photo album on the web

  • Click on “Albums” from the left menu.
  • Move the cursor over the album you want to share and click the three dots.
  • Click “Share album”.

share photos album

All you have to do is click “Share album”.

Another way to go:

  • Click on “Albums” from the left menu.
  • Select the album you want to share.
  • Click the “Share” icon in the upper right corner.

Share an album using the Mobile Photos app

  • Tap on “Library” at the bottom of the screen.
  • Select the album you want to share.
  • Select “Share”.

But let’s say your grandparents want to download copies of photos to email a friend or upload to a non-Google app. Then things get a little more complicated.

Download a Photos album on the web

Actually, complicated It might be the wrong word. Downloading an album is not difficult; you just have to know where to look.

  • Click on “Albums” from the left menu.
  • Open the album you want to share by clicking the album in the main section or selecting the album name from the left column.
  • Click the three dots in the upper right corner and select “Download all”.
  • Then Google will download a zip file containing the photos in your album.

google photos album download

Downloading albums from the web is not difficult.

You can also download multiple albums (or all of your albums) using Google Takeout, which allows you to export data held in your Google Account:

  • Download your dataon the ” page of your account.
  • Click “Deselect all” (as this page automatically checks every Google service you use).
  • Go to Google Photos and click to select the checkbox.
  • Click the button that says “All photo albums included”. Again, click on “Deselect all” and then check the boxes for the albums you want to download. (Of course, if you want to download all your albums, leave it as is.)
  • Click “Multiple formats” for information on how to download your photos. For example, metadata is downloaded as JSON files, while actual photos are downloaded as they were uploaded.
  • Scroll down and click “Next step”.
  • You can then choose how to import your albums. You can receive the file via an email link or have it send it to Dropbox, Drive, OneDrive or Box. You can also choose whether you want it to be a one-time download, as a ZIP or TGZ file, and what the maximum size of the file should be.
  • Click “Create export”. Note that it may take some time for your export to reach you – it can take hours or days according to Google (although it took about a minute when I tried it with a single album).
  • You will receive an email notifying you of the successful download and offering a link to download your files, or if you choose to send them to a cloud storage service, where they were sent.

Download an album using the Mobile Photos app

The answer is very simple: you can’t. However, there are a few workarounds you can use. For example, you can use Google Takeout using your mobile device’s browser and follow the steps listed above. You can also share photos from the album via email or Google Drive and then download them here. This second method is pretty weird but it works.

Here’s how to share to Email or Drive. (Photos shown are from a Pixel 3 XL running Android 12 beta, but the process should be the same for most Android phones and iPhones.)

  1. In the Photos app, select “Library” at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Find the “Albums” heading, then tap the album you want to download.
  3. Press and hold the first photo until you see a checkmark in the box in the upper left corner of the photo. Then drag your finger down until all the photos in the album are checked.
  4. Tap the “share” icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  5. From here, you can email the photos to yourself (an old but good thing) or save them to your favorite online storage service and download them from there.

You can find your albums using the “Library” tab.

You can find your albums using the “Library” tab.

After checking the photos you want, share them as you wish.

After checking the photos you want, share them as you wish.

As more people work using their phones rather than laptops or other larger systems, the inability to perform certain tasks on a mobile device – downloading an album, for example – will become annoying to say the least. I hope Google takes note.

Update August 30, 2021 at 11:50 pm ET: This article was originally published on June 4, 2019 and has been updated to account for changes to the Google Photos interface.

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