Google Photos vs Google Drive: Which One is Better for Storing Your Photos?

Raj Kumar ~ Modified: June 29th, 2019 ~ Tips ~ 6 Minutes Reading

Google has various apps that perform the same function. For example, Google Photos and Google Drive. Both of these apps are used to sync pictures and videos, and this is the cause of confusion. So, which application to be used and when? All the questions will be answered in the write-up to understand Google Photos vs Google Drive. So, let us begin.

Difference Between Google Photos and Google Drive

1 . Functioning:

Google Photos: It is a photo-gallery program on steroids. If Google Photos is already installed on the device, it will abruptly display the images and videos taken from the camera of the phone. Same as the other gallery applications, it enables the users to view images in additional device folders too. Three types of media files are supported by this program: images, videos, and GIFs. To view photos in a single device, it is not necessary to create backup and sync images. However, when the option of sync is activated, files can be viewed on multiple devices.
Google Drive: When Comparing Google Photos vs Google Drive, it is a backup and cloud-storage service for files of different types like PDF, ZIP, videos, and photos. Here, a user has to add files manually. It is empty until the files are added to it. Any sort of file like ZIP, PDF, MP4, MP3, PNG, JPG, etc., will be shown after syncing it. The pictures clicked from the camera of the smartphone or any image on the phone will not appear automatically on Google Drive, unlike Google Photos. Yes, you can Migrate files from One Google Drive Account to Another very easily by your own. However, in a similar way other files like documents, audio, videos, etc., will not be synced to Google Drive on its own.

2. User Interface:

The graphical user interface of Google Photos resembles gallery apps. As the application is opened, on the first screen, users are greeted with the camera pictures. The folders are made available from the album tabs or the navigation drawer present at the bottom of the page. Other albums of Google photos are also present here.
The user interface of Google Drive is same as file managers or other backup services. On the first screen, various files and folders will be shown under the Quick Access row. When Comparing Google Photos vs Google Drive, to preview photos, users have to navigate to the respective folders.

3. Organization:

Google Photos: Here, the images are shown under respective folders, a user cannot directly copy or move photos between the folders. A file manager will be needed in case of device folders. Also, in case of synced albums, files can be moved from one folder to another. Moreover, it does not support hierarchy.
Google Drive: On the contrary, it offers more management and organization of data. It supports folder hierarchy and enables a user to organize files and folders in multiple folders. Using the Drive itself, a user can copy files between different folders.

4. Storage Space:

In case of Google Photos, Google offers unlimited file storage capacity. But, there is a condition. Google will compress the photos and videos, and saves them at 16MP and 1080p respectively. This standard is known as high-quality mode and it is more than enough for regular use. But, for professional use, the compression of pictures might lead to loss of quality.
So, if the user wants to upload the media file in its original quality, a storage space of 15 GB is offered by Google. This storage space is shared by Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. For the option of original quality mode, the media will account for the 15 GB storage space.
For Google Drive too, any photo or video will be considered under the same 15 GB. No separate quality modes are provided here. Nevertheless, the files can be compressed and uploaded to the Google Drive. After the 15GB is over, a user can buy additional storage space.

5. Extra Features for Comparing Google Photos vs Google Drive

Photo Edit

Google Photos are equipped with some basic editing features like crop and rotate. An option to create collages and apply filters is also enabled. Google photos also give an option of video editor. A user can create animations and videos from Google photos itself.
Here the difference between google photos and google drive is, any such feature is not included in Google Drive

Photo Scan

If a Google Drive is installed on the smartphone, any third-party applications to scan photos, files, and documents are not required. An inbuilt ability to do the same is present.
Google Photos can also help a user to scan photos, but for that, a user has to download the PhotoScan app from Google.

Google Lens

One of the cool features of Google Photos is Google Lens. It is a picture search engine for phone, which is automated by machine learning and artificial intelligence. When a user taps the lens button provided in Google photos, it recognizes the element in the image and displays necessary information regarding it. Some other amazing functionalities are recognizing addresses and contact numbers in pictures.
When comparing Google Photos vs Google Drive No such feature is provided by Google Drive.


Both the services enable the user to share and connect with each other. However, there are some differences. In Google Drive, a user can connect with multiple people. On the other hand, in Google photos, a user can share photos continuously with a single person. A partner account is to be added to begin the sharing process with a group of people.

Which One is Better: Google Photos vs Google Drive?

Even though when you explore the difference between google photos and google drive, both the services use Google account to sync data across various platforms. Google Photos is only limited to pictures and videos. It offers every service that is required from an editor and photo viewer. Also, unlimited storage space is provided for compressed files. If all this is required, Google Photos is unbeatable. But, if more backup and managing of multiple file types are needed, Google Drive will be a better option when comparing Google Photos vs Google Drive. The point to be noted is most probably, a user will need to buy storage space as the G Drive does not provide an option of compressing the files.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you please tell me Photos saved in Google Photos are public or private?

The photos saved on Google Drive are completely safe and private. However, if you want, then you can share it other users also as per your choice and it still remains private.

Does Google Photos change the picture quality?

Yes, photos are compressed to save space. Any photo larger than 16 MP will be resized to 16 MP.

Does Google Drive and Google Photos has shared space?

Yes, Google offers total 15 GB free space, which shared between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

Does Google Photos take space on Google Drive?

Only photos and videos that are stored using original size take space on Google Drive.