Google Photos vs Google Drive – which one to use ?

Google is infamous for having multiple apps that do almost same things. Just a few days back, Google launched it’s Google Tasks app for creating the to-do’s, while this feature already exists in Google keep. Also, it recently updated Gmail with one of its biggest redesigns in a long time. I’m sure all of you must have come across two or more apps which serve the same purpose. Two such apps are the – Google Photos and Google Drive. One can use both the apps to sync photos and videos. With both the apps serving the same purpose, one doubt everyone can have is which one to use.

So here’s the answer to questions like – which one to use? And why? Let’s have a look at a comparison of Google Photos and Google Drive. This comparison will answer all your queries related to both the apps. Let’s learn in detail about both applications.

Supported File Types

Google Photos is a photo-gallery app and Google Drive is a cloud storage and backup service for mostly all files like DOCX, PDF, ZIP, and photos and videos.

Google Photos will immediately show the pictures and videos captured from the phone camera. It supports three types of media files – photos, videos, and GIFs.

Google photos first screen

Whereas, Google Drive is a cloud storage service where you have to add files manually. It is empty unless you add things to it. You can add any type of file like PDF, ZIP, MP3, MP4, JPG, PNG etc.

The photos captured from your smartphone camera or images present on your mobile device will be automatically shown in Google Photos. This is not possible in Google Drive.

Google drive first screen

Organization of Images

In Google Photos, you cannot move or copy images between the folders present on the device. You can copy and move photos only in synced albums.

But, Google Drive supports more organizations of images and files. You can move or copy files between the folders on Drive.


The user interface of Google Photos is like the gallery apps. On opening the app, you can see the camera photos. You can access the device folders from the navigation drawer or from the Albums tab present at the bottom.

                    Navigation Drawer of Google Photos

The user interface of Google Drive is similar to file managers. On the first screen, you will see various folders and files below the Quick Access row. To view files, you need to go into the respective folder.

                     Organization in Google Drive

Storage Limit for Google photos and Google drive

Google offers unlimited storage in case of Google Photos. However, there is a condition-

Google will compress the photos and save them at 16MP. In case of videos, they will be compressed to 1080p. For a regular user, 16MP is more than enough. But if you are a professional photographer, compression might result in loss of quality. If you want to upload media in its original quality, Google offers 15GB of free space. This space is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

Any photo/video/file that you add in Google Drive will be counted against the same 15GB. To save space, you can reduce the quality manually, and then upload them to Google Drive. Once 15GB storage is full, you can buy extra storage space.

Additional Features

Google Lens

Interestingly, Google Photos comes with a cool feature known as Google Lens. Google Lens is an application, designed to bring up relevant information using visual analysis. In simple words, it is an image search engine for your phone, which is powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Google Lens integration in Google Photos

When you tap the Lens button in Google Photos, it identifies the object in the image and shows relevant information about it. It identifies addresses and phone numbers in images. Google Drive doesn’t support Lens.

Photo Editing option

Google Photos comes with basic editing features such as crop and rotate. Google automatically create collages and apply filters, and lets you do the editing. It comes with a video editor too. Google Drive doesn’t include a photo or video editor.

Photo editing options in Google photos


Both the services let you share and collaborate with others. But the difference is, that in Google Drive, you can share with multiple people. But in Google Photos, you can continuously share with only one person. You have to add a partner account to start sharing a bunch of photos with a group of people.

Final Verdict

Both the services use your Google account to sync data and are available across platforms. Even though Google Photos is limited to photos and videos, it offers everything that you expect from a photo viewer and editor. It also offers unlimited storage for compressed media. If you are ready to compromise on the quality of media files, Google Photos is Best.

But if you want more organization and backup for multiple file types, then you should use Google Drive. But, it might soon be full since it doesn’t have the free compressed storage option of Photos.



Source & Credits – Guiding Tech

About Arpit Thakkar 22 Articles
Future Engineer… Firm believer of “do good to others and expect nothing in return”… An enthusiastic Technical guy… Loves to learn new things…one with the motto” take respect give respect and be kind to everyone no matter what “… Likes gaining knowledge related to different technologies…not a good writer but will try to satisfy a reader’s requirement with my posts keep and you updated with every new post…

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