How To Fix “Google Photos Not Uploading” On Android & iPhone

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Jide Mbaka

How to fix "google photos not uploading" on android

Google Photos may act up sometimes and stop uploading your photos. Imagine picking up your phone and discovering that over 1,000 of your photos have not been uploaded from your device to Google's photo app- how’d you feel? If you're experiencing something like this, this article will teach you how to fix "Google Photos not uploading" problems on Android and iPhones.

Before you start: Check your Back up Status

Before you delve into troubleshooting why Google Photos is not uploading on your device, try checking the backup status. This will give you a clue of why the problem persists and what to troubleshoot. Let's check it.

Open the Photos app on your Android or iOS device, then tap your account profile at the top-right corner of the screen. Just under your profile name, you’ll see your backup status.

If it says any of the following:

  1. Waiting for Wi-Fi: that means you’ve set Google Photos to upload only when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi. It may also say Waiting for connection sometimes if you’re not connected to the network at all. If that’s the problem, all you need is to change your backup settings. We’ll get to that in a minute.
  2. Backup is off: that means you’ve turned off photos and videos backup on your device. Tap Turn on backup below it to start backing up your photos and videos.
  3. Backup complete: Google Photos has successfully backup all the photos in your gallery. That means you don’t have to troubleshoot anything unless you find out that not all the photos on your device have been backed up.
  4. Backing up: that means Google Photos is currently backing up your photos. Be patient while it does that. You'll also see the number of photos left.
  5. Getting ready to backup: it happens when you just connect to the network or so. That means Google Photos is preparing to backup your photos.

1. Diagnose your Internet Connection

Now that you know what's up with Google Photos, it's time to troubleshoot! And the first thing on the list is to check your internet connection. Yes, Google Photos rely on an internet connection to push your photos and videos to the cloud. So, make sure you have a working internet connection before you continue.

If you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, ensure it’s working. You may restart the router, or simply run a network test with other apps on your device. Likewise, if you’re on a mobile network, ensure you have enough data and high internet speed.

After ascertaining a working internet connection, you should Restart your device to ensure it’s not a temporary problem.

2. Ensure you’re using the right backup settings

Google Photos not uploading may not be caused by your network connection. Inappropriate backup settings may cause Google Photos not to upload. If Photos get stuck while uploading, it's likely because you turned off backup or other related options inadvertently. Here's how to check:

  • Open the Google Photos app on your Android or iPhone.
  • Tap your profile icon at the upper right corner.
  • Tap Photos Settings
  • Select Back up & sync
  • If Backup & sync is turned off, simply turn it on.
  • If you have multiple Google accounts on your device, ensure you’ve selected the right one.
  • If you’re not always connected to a Wi-Fi network, we recommend you turn on Cell data usage to enable Google Photos to back up when you're not connected to Wi-Fi. Even so, we don't recommend turning on Back up videos over data, as it may consume your mobile data helplessly. But you may enable it if Google Photos is not uploading videos when you’re on mobile data.

3. Enable Backup Device Folders

In case you notice Google Photos is not backing up every photo and video on your device, you might need to enable backing up of your device folders. By default, Google Photos will only backup your camera roll, which doesn't include your screenshots and photos from other apps. If that's the case, you need to enable backup for device folders separately. Here's the way out:

  • Launch the Google Photos app.
  • Tap your profile icon, then click Photos Settings
  • Tap Back up & sync
  • Select Back up device folders
  • Now, go through the folders and enable the ones you wish to backup. Tap the switch next to the folders to back them up

4. Disable Battery Optimization for Google Photos

More often than not, many Android users have reported Google Photos not uploading in the background. The reason why this persists is nothing but battery optimization. Enabling battery optimization for apps on Android means they won't work in the background to improve battery life. However, if your photos won't upload in the background, you need to disable battery optimization for Google Photos on Android.

Here’s how:

  • On your Android phone, open the Settings app.
  • Scroll down a bit and tap Apps & Notifications
  • Select Special app access
  • Click Battery Optimization
  • At the top, tap ‘Not optimized’, then select ‘All apps’
  • Find the Photos app on the list and select it.
  • Finally, tap ‘Not optimized’.

Additionally, ensure you turn off Battery Saver or recharge your phone when the battery is low to make sure Google Photos is always running.

Some phones like TECNO and Inifinix also allow you to pin apps on the RAM so it doesn't shut down when you close all apps. You may pin the Photos app to make it work better. Here's how:

  • First, launch the Photos app.
  • Open the Recent apps panel (task switcher)
  • You'll see some buttons at the top of the preview of the recent app. Tap the padlock button to pin Google Photos on your device.

5. Enable Background Data Usage

Equally important, ensure you allow Google Photos to use your data in the background to enable it to upload photos in the background. Failure to do so means your backup only occurs when you open Google Photos - when it's active on your screen.

  • Open the Settings app on your Android device.
  • Select Apps & Notifications, then select the option to view all apps.
  • Find Photos on the list and click on it.
  • Tap Mobile Data & Wi-Fi
  • Finally, make sure you enable Background data. You may also turn on Unrestricted data usage to ensure your photos are always uploading, even when Data Saver is active.

6. Keep Google Photos updated

Another reason why Google Photos is not uploading on your Android or iPhone is that the app is outdated or the current version on your phone is buggy. If that's the case, Google doesn't joke with its apps, and it probably has fixed the issue in the latest update.

All you need is to keep Google Photos updated to avoid bugs and occasional errors. To update Google Photos on your Android device or iPhone, simply visit the Play Store or App Store.

7. Reset/Reinstall the Google Photos app

If everything else failed to work and Google Photos is still not uploading, you might need to reinstall the mobile app. Doing so will reset the app and fix possible bugs that have been accumulated on it. However, this will not erase the photos and videos already backed up or the ones yet to be backed up. So, you have nothing to lose. Follow the steps below to reinstall Google Photos on your device.

Reinstall Google Photos on Android:

  1. Open the Play Store.
  2. Search for Google Photos and select it from the list.
  3. Tap Uninstall and wait for a few seconds.
  4. After that, tap Install again to reinstall the app.

Reinstall Google Photos on iPhone:

  1. From the home screen, find the Google Photos
  2. Long-press it and tap
  3. Now, go to the App Store and search for Google Photos.
  4. Finally, reinstall Google Photos from there.

After reinstalling Google Photos on your iPhone or Android device, launch it and sign in to your Google account. Remember to turn on Back up & sync when prompted. Again, it will take a while for your pictures to show up. Just chill around while it does the trick.

Now that all settings have been reset, you may want to enable Cellular data backup, Backup device folders, etc. Ensure to go through the Photos settings to keep things in the appropriate order.