How to back up an iPhone to Google with Google One for free

The iPhone backs up to iCloud, but if having everything stored in one place worries you, create an additional backup for safety. Back up an iPhone to Google using the free Google One app.

If you have a Google account, like Gmail, Drive, Docs, Calendar or anything else, Google One is an iPhone app that enables you to manage your account and the space used. The app is free and you do not need a Google subscription. It works with free Google accounts and paid ones.

Google One is not just an iPhone app and it can be accessed on the web in a browser, Go to Google One, but you must use the iPhone app to back up iPhone data. Let’s see how to do that.

1: Get Google One

Google One app in the iOS App Store
Search for Google One in the App Store

Find Google One in the App Store on the iPhone and install it for free. Open it and sign into your Google account, which can be either a free or a paid account.

Maybe because I already had Gmail and Calendar on my iPhone, but I didn’t need to sign in. If you have never used any Google apps on your phone, you may need to sign in.

2: Google One home screen

Google One app home screen on the iPhone
Google One app on the iPhone

The home screen provides access to several useful features and you can here you can access the option to Back up your data. More things to do using Google One can be found by swiping up, but first, select the Storage tab in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen.

3: Google storage usage

Google account storage breakdown shown in the Google One app on the iPhone
See the space usage in Google One

Here you can see the total storage in your Google account and the amount that is used. The usage is broken down into Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos, and you can see how much space each service is currently using.

At the top it says I have 15 GB of storage, that is because this is a free Google account. Below it says 11.49 or 19 GB used. Why is it different? Over the years I earned a few extra gigabytes of storage for doing various things, so I have a bit more than a basic free account.

New users are limited to 15 GB for free, but you can get up to 2 TB of space with a subscription. I am using a free account for this guide.

4: Data backup settings

Back up an iPhone to Google One
Google One iPhone backup options

Return to the home screen and swipe up a little to see the Backup your data section. Press the Backup settings button. There are switches to enable contacts, calendar and photos and videos to be backed up.

There may not be enough storage space in a free Google account to back up all of your photos and videos. If you have a lot of them the options are to either turn off the Photos and videos switch, or pay for more Google cloud storage space.

Contacts and calendar use hardly any storage, so turn on both of these switches and press Back up now. It takes only seconds to complete. Obviously, it will not be so quick if you have tens of gigabytes of photos and videos.

Do not enable the Back up using mobile data option with the Photos and videos option, unless your phone contract provides a lot of data. It is OK with contacts and calendar though.

5: Clean up Google storage

Google storage cleanup with the Google One app on the iPhone
Need more space? Clean up Google storage

Return to the home screen, swipe up a little until you see the Get your space back section. Press the button, Clean up account storage.

6: Clear unused items

Google One storage cleanup options in the iPhone app
Google One storage cleanup features

To back up an iPhone, you need plenty of storage space. The storage manager shows multiple items in horizontally scrolling lists labelled Discarded Items, Large Items and Other Items. Swipe left and right over them to see all of the options. All will free up space one way or another.

Discarded items include deleted emails in the bin in Gmail, emails in the Spam folder in Gmail, and deleted files in the Google Drive bin.

Beware of freeing up space by using the functions in the Large Items list. Just because something is big, it does not mean it is OK to delete. A big video may be important to you because it is a unique record of an event, like a wedding, birthday, holiday and so on.

Notice that each item says Review and clear… Press one of these options and a list of things to be deleted is shown. You must select items to delete and it will not delete anything without asking. Just be careful not to select anything valuable.

If your photos and videos collection is small, you might be able to clear sufficient space to back it up in a free account.

Leave a Reply