A Mostly Photography Blog

How to Download Lightroom iPhone Photos to Your Computer With Google Drive

(Note: Text in blue are clickable hyperlinks)


I recommend die-hard photographers use Lightroom Classic, the desktop version, to automatically sync images back and forth between their smartphone and their desktop through the Adobe Creative Cloud for Photographers subscription service for $10/month. However, I understand many people don’t want to pay the monthly cost nor need Lightroom Classic and Photoshop when you may only want to easily save your images from your phone.  Adobe now has re-introduced their budget plan for $5/month (16¢/day!) that gives you the premium features in the Lightroom app of local adjustments, the healing brush, and 100 GB of cloud-based storage.  If you tire of their service, you can retrieve your images with their Lightroom Downloader. I think it’s a great deal.


If you aren’t interested in paying any monthly fees but still want to download your images to your computer, there are other options.  Apple gives you a measly 5 GBs of free storage; Google bests Apple with 15 GB of free storage. For $20/year you can buy an additional 100 GB of Google Storage or use a cloud-based back up service with unlimited storage, like Backblaze, for $60/year.  For most people in my smartphone class, I recommend using Google’s free 15GB of storage, and when that’s full, just move the folder to a non-Google Drive location and start again.  Here’s how:


What You’ll Need:

  1. A free Google account
  2. A laptop or desktop computer connected to the Internet with Google Backup and Sync (previously called Google Drive) installed.  It will guide you through the process of selecting where your Google files will be stored on a computer.
  3. Google Drive for iOS or Android installed.


What You’ll Need to Do:

  1. In the Lightroom mobile app, go to your images in the Library. It will be the book icon toward the upper left corner. Then go to All Photos. Tap the 3 dots in the upper-right corner, then tap Select.
  2. Tap the month you want to back up, then Share at the bottom.
  3. At the bottom, select “Export As,” then choose DNG, if you shot in the RAW format, or JPG, if you shot in the JPG format (or if you don’t have a RAW file editing program on your computer) from the drop-down options, then the check mark in the upper-right corner.
  4. On the second row, look for the Google Drive icon and tap. Note that you may have to swipe left to locate, or keep swiping to the left until you reach the More icon. Tap it, then edit in the upper-right corner, and then long touch and drag to the order you prefer. Then click Done on the right, then Done on the left.
  5. Select your account if asked, then Tap My Drive at the bottom and navigate to or create a folder a Photos folder to save your images, then Save Here in the bottom right corner. On the next screen, in the upper right corner, tap Upload.


Note that is process is not automatic.
Your photos will only be backed up when you back them up. While the process may not be automatic, it’s the trade off for being able to use the Lightroom app, sync your images to your computer, but not pay for their subscription services.

When images have downloaded to your computer’s hard drive and they are backed up again to another hard drive (and preferably a cloud based service like Backblaze, you can remove them from the Lightroom app, if needed: select the images as before, and delete them if your phone’s storage is limited.  If you are close to using all 15 GB of Google’s storage, simple move the Photos folder to another part of your computer.