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Google Photos can’t download video? Here’s 5 solutions

google photos featured 1

Despite Google deciding to monetize Google Photos fully, this is still the number one choice for storing photos and videos in the cloud for most Android users. Although mostly ironed out, certain mind-boggling issues appear all of a sudden and completely wreck the user experience. Some users report that Google Photos can’t download video after numerous tries. What’s the deal with this and how should you tackle the issue? Learn more about it below.

Save to device not working on Google Photos

If the Save to device option is not working on Google Photos, try these steps:

  • Make sure that the file is not deleted or the permission to access it is not removed by the person who shared it with you.
  • Check Storage permission for Google Photos.
  • Reset or reinstall Google Photos.
  • Use the Share feature to get videos and photos.
  • Use Photos on your PC.

1. Check permissions

The first thing you should do is restart your device, open Google Photos, and try downloading videos again. If Google Photos can’t download video, make sure that the Google Photos app has permission to access local storage and double-check where the downloaded media is stored.

Users report that some older Android iterations store videos and photos in the Android\Data folder which is often viewed as a system folder and can’t be accessed. Unless you enable the hidden files in the File Manager. So, open File Manager and check the content of the Android folder to see if Google Photos possibly saved photos there.

After that, follow these steps to check permissions for Google Photos:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Open Google Photos from the list of available apps.
  4. Tap Permissions.
  5. Make sure that Google Photos can access your Storage.can't download video from google photos

2. Clear local data from Google Photos

The next solution you can try is clearing the local data stored by Google Photos. Like any other app, Google Photos might glitch out for various reasons and, when that happens, you should reset the app by clearing all data. This won’t delete any of your photos but Google Photos will need to resync the library.

Here’s how to clear local data from Google Photos:

  1. Again, navigate to Settings > Apps > Google Photos.
  2. Open Storage.
  3. Tap Manage storage or Clear data.
  4. Tap Clear data, confirm, and restart your photos delete app data 1
  5. Open Google Photos, select your preferences, and wait until it reloads the library. Make sure that you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.
  6. Try downloading videos again.

If you still can’t download a video from Google Photos and the Save to Device is not working, check the next step.

3. Reinstall Google Photos

The next step is reinstallation. If Google Photos come as the default gallery app on your device, you can only uninstall updates from Google Photos. On the other hand, if Google Photos come as a third-party app (e.g. Samsung OneUI), you can remove it completely and install it again.

To uninstall updates, navigate to Settings > Apps > Google Photos. Tap on the 3-dots menu and select Uninstall updates. On the other hand, to uninstall Google Photos completely, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Play Store.
  2. Look for Google Photos.
  3. Expand the app from the results.
  4. Tap Uninstall.
  5. Restart your device, navigate to Play Store, and install Google Photos again.can't download video from google photos
  6. Configure the app and try downloading videos again.

4. Use the Share feature

If you can’t download video files the easier way, you can try sharing them and downloading them from the link. This isn’t a solution for the problem but a mere workaround, however, if you need that Google Photos video on your device ASAP, you should give it a try.

You just need to create a shareable link and navigate to it with a browser. You should be able to download it from there. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Open Google Photos.
  2. Tap on the video you want to download. You can select multiple videos and share them under a single link.
  3. Tap on the Share icon and select “Create link“. This will automatically copy the link.
  4. Open Chrome and select the Incognito mode from the 3-dots menu. Or, even better, use any other third-party browser that won’t automatically redirect you toward the app.
  5. Paste the link in the address bar and open the page.
  6. Tap on the 3-dots menu and tap Download or Download All.

5. Try downloading videos on your PC

Finally, if that doesn’t work, you can try downloading videos on your PC and transferring them to your smartphone. Alternatively, use the Desktop site mode in Chrome (or another browser) to access the Google Photos web client. Hopefully, this will work. If not, report the problem to Google Support.

That should do it. Thank you for reading and please do tell us if the solutions we presented helped you address the issue or not. You can do that in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in December 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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