Google’s photo platform is superior to Facebook’s. Even though it’s just as free to use—with a few limitations—it’s infinitely better for organising your photos and finding specific shots by name, time, date, or the people within them. Besides, decoupling your photos from your social media account allows you to take a break from the latter (temporary or permanent) without losing easy access to those memories.
Luckily, moving Facebook photos to Google Photos is now a breeze. Instead of waiting for Facebook to create an archive of your Facebook data, including your pictures, that you can then import into Google Photos, Facebook has integrated a transfer feature directly its website.
To start, pull up Facebook and click on the drop-down arrow in the upper-right of your screen. From there, click on Settings & Privacy > Settings (or just use this handy link to skip these steps). From there, click on “Your Facebook Information” on the left-hand sidebar, where you’ll see a new option on this screen:
Click on “View” next to the “Transfer a Copy of Your Photos or Videos” option, and get ready to enter your Facebook password (if prompted). You’ll then see this screen—apologies in advance for how it looks, as it doesn’t seem to play very nicely with Facebook’s dark mode:
Click on the blue “Choose Destination” button and pick the single option that you get to play with as of when we wrote this article: Google Photos. You’ll then get to select whether you want to copy over your photos or your videos. (You can just repeat the copying process once this first round is done if you’d like both.)
Click on the blue “Next” button that appears and grant Facebook permission, via Google, to access your Photos library.
You’ll then jump back to Facebook once again. Now, you’ll see a big “Confirm Transfer” button. It is also blue. Click it. Your screen should now turn to this:
The waiting begins. I ran a simultaneous batch of video and photo transfers, and the former finished way before the latter. How much time it takes your photos to copy over depends on how much stuff you’ve saved on Facebook. My account dates back to 2005 (I was one of the early adopters at Northwestern University), so I suspect this might take all day. You’ll receive a notification when your data has copied over, so no need to keep your browser window open while you wait:
Expect to see Facebook support more services for copying your data throughout the year. And I should stress, again, that Facebook is simply copying your photos and videos. They’ll still live on Facebook, and the best way to remove them from the service en masse is to nuke your account. Otherwise, be prepared for way, way too much clicking—you’ll probably tire out long before you’ve manually deleted your pictures.
Also, know that this process isn’t flawless. When I transferred my videos over, they all appeared in my Google Photos library with a creation date of May 1—the date I transferred them—no matter when the videos were actually shot.
Similarly, I suspect that any photos that transfer over will probably all appear as if they were shot on the same day, too. I hope that’s not the case, as that’s not helpful at all for organising them in any meaningful way. We’ll see in a few hours, I hope?