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My photo downloads from Google photos arrive as ZIP files that I cannot open or move to a USB? 0 Recommended Answers 12 Replies 47 Upvotes
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I have read so many help centre answers, but all of my photos except a few download as HEIC or ZIP, neither of which will open or can be moved to a USB. I was sold on the idea of Google photos as it was easy to move my photos from my phone to a Digital photo frame (via USB) I have so far only managed to download 4 photos as JPEG, the rest are sat useless on this Google photo system!!! Help please
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Hi Sarah,

Sorry you are having issues.

If you download multiple images at one time they will be packaged in a zip file. 

If you don't want to extract the images from the zip file (which can usually be done on a modern Windows computer by right clicking on the zip file and ~Extract all~), you can download the images one at a time.

The HEIC format is a different issue based on the settings in your iPhone (I just use "Most compatible" format in the Camera settings on your phone).  Changing the camera settings will NOT change previously taken images - there are converters (which I have no experience with) such as:  https://heictojpg.com/

Good luck!

Best regards,  Dougsap (volunteer Google Photos user)
Last edited 3/28/19
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How do you extract on your phone? How do you stop photos people share from going to Google photos? I hate it!!
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Hi, I'm having the same problem. The file with photos that I downloaded from Google appears to be in a normal zip file. However, when I try and unzip it just says "cannot open file". I've tried various ways of opening the file

There are too many photos to download them individually so my only option is to download all into the zip file. 

Please help.

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If you are downloading from https://photos.google.com on a normal computer (no Chromebook), you always should be able to unzip unless your computer is very old and does not have the right software installed like Winzip. Normally you click the zip-folder with the right mousebutton and just need to choose Unpack and OK and then a normal folder with your files is created and the zip can be deleted. 

So you have to more clear about your "hardware" - else you do think that it is a Google-bug.
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Thanks for your feedback Rinus. I've got a relatively "new" (2015) laptop. It has the latest operating system updates and I'm able to unzip all other files ok. I regularly receive various zip files. So it only seems to be these Google photos that I'm unable to unzip. Could it have something to do with the size of the file? It is fairly large but Google only allows you to download one photo at a time or all... so I'm not able to break it down into smaller chunks.... What do you think?
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Just did a test... and it does seem to be related to the size of the zip. Do you know if there is an easy way to select multiple files rather than have to tick on each file individually please?
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You can select up to 500 items on https://photos.google.com for downloading. But if this selection contains a couple of movies (which can be very large files), the zip can become problematic indeed. 
Of course more complicated, but if you can leave out such movies, you may avoid that problem. 
Thereafter you can try to download the (few) movies individually. 
Hard to be more precise, but your 3 years old computer should be no problem unless it has much too less free space. A zip of 2 GB will be unpacked into a normal folder which also is 2 GB - so 4 GB together temporarily. 
Good luck / Rinus

PS: zipping does not compress the files - it just is the only way a bundle of files can be downloaded from the web - so the same on other photosites.
Last edited 6/20/19
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I had the same problem. I used the Decompressor App (https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/decompressor/id1033480833?mt=12) to extract 10.5 GB of videos from the zip file and it worked.
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This is the stupidest thing for Google to do. What if you don't have access to a computer to unzip? They should give you a warning not to delete from device unless you have a way to restore them. One at a time is laughably insane.

I deleted from device a number of photo, then when I went into Gallery (Android), almost all my photos were gone. Luckily I save most in a temp file first. But this function sucks, as does the typical function (elsewhere) that if you delete from your phone it deletes from the cloud. What good is it to back up to the cloud if it isn't helping you free up space without losing your photos? 

Last time Inchecked, it was the 21st century. Good lord, people. Get with the millennium.
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If the Google Photos has been able to get the backup up-to-date, you always can delete from device - even in Gallery. So I don't understand what you did wrong.
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I have a chromebook and I cannot figure out how to get my pics to download not as a zip file or how to unzip them. Any suggestions/help would be appreciated! Thanks!
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Another instance of Google knowing what is best for us.  They insist on zipping all the photos unless you download one at a time.   No options available.   Take it or leave it.
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