How to migrate from Google Photos to another service

With all the changes that have been made to Google Photos and their storage plans, you might be wondering how easy it is to move your data from Google Photos, to another platform.

Starting from June 1st 2021, any photos you upload to Google photos will use up some of your storage in your Google account, most accounts only have 15GB across GMail, Google Drive, Google Photos, and other Google services.

I've just recently moved my entire Google Photos library over to Plex and the process was fairly seamless thanks to the methods covered in this guide. 

How to Export your Google Photos through Takeout

  1. First you will want to go to google takeout and login with your google account at
  2. You will see a page that lists all of the Google Services, at the top of the list click on "Deselect all" then scroll down till you see Google Photos and Select Google Photos. 
  3. By default All photo albums are selected for the export, clicking on this option you can customise which albums are exported. If there are albums that you would like to exclude from the export you can deselect albums. Click on "All photo albums included"
  4. I recommend only selecting the automatic photo albums for each year and deselecting all others to avoid duplicate photos.
  5. Choose your export options, you can select what size zip file to export, Google Takeout with then split your export into a number of compressed zip files. I selected 50GB Export files.
  6. Finally once you receive an email from Google telling you your archive is ready, download your data. Here you can see I have 5 parts to download, each file up to 50GB in size. Download each of the parts in your export and extract them into a single folder.
  7. I had over 50000 files in my export

How to update your Google Photos EXIF Metadata

The following are two methods to updating the Google Photos image metadata.

Method 1: Manual Update using EXIFTool

EXIFTool is an application that can be used to update the metadata in image files, learning EXIFTool is a bit of a learning curve as it isn't designed for the average computer user and is more focused towards developers. If this isn't you, consider looking at method 2 below.

However if you are happy to get your hands dirty in some basic scripting then you can use EXIFTool to update the metadata in your images, this is a much slower process as you can either run this command for each individual file, or you will need to write your own script to process all images, but beware Googles export format is not consistent.

Thanks to a user on StackOverflow, the following command for EXIFTool can be used to update the metadata in an image file using the respective JSON file from the Google Takeout export.

exiftool -r -d %s -tagsfromfile "%d/%F.json" "-GPSAltitude<GeoDataAltitude" "-GPSLatitude<GeoDataLatitude" "-GPSLatitudeRef<GeoDataLatitude" "-GPSLongitude<GeoDataLongitude" "-GPSLongitudeRef<GeoDataLongitude" "-Keywords<Tags" "-Subject<Tags" "-Caption-Abstract<Description" "-ImageDescription<Description" "-DateTimeOriginal<PhotoTakenTimeTimestamp" -ext jpg -overwrite_original FileOrDir

Method 2: Google Photos Metadata Repair Tool

We have developed a simple tool to process and match your Google Photos and update the EXIF Metadata for you, once you have downloaded your photos from Google Takeout as shown in the steps above, the Google Photos Metadata Repair tool can process all these images for you.

Google Takeout exports most photos as JPEG photos even if they weren't JPEG originally e.g. RAW files. This tool will update the dates and times for your photos, rename your photos with the original file extensions, and add any tags, people, or descriptions into the photo's metadata. You can find out more about what the tool does here.

  1. Download a copy of Google Photos Metadata Repair 
  2. Download and Extract all zip files from Google Takeout into the same folder as per the steps above.
    To prevent duplicate files, we recommend only selecting the date based albums when exporting from Google Takeout .e.g Photos from 2019
  3. Open Google Photos Metadata Repair for Windows 10, and click "Choose Folder" select the Google Photos folder inside the Takeout folder from the extracted zip files. Ensure that you select only the Google Photos folder or the files won't be processed.
  4. Enjoy your photos with updated EXIF Metadata and correct dates and GPS information.

If you are looking for an alternative platform to Google Photos, you can read more about why I recommend Plex here

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