I just took a picture with my phone and a few seconds later I refreshed Google Photos on my computer and the picture was there. But then I took a second picture and five minutes of refreshing later the picture is still not there! This has basically ruined what I was trying to do, as I was relying on being able to quickly download pictures between shots.

I was on WiFi the whole time. There was less than one minute between the first and second picture. I don't see any indications that anything is uploading or that anything failed. I have looked in both the Google Photos app and the web site looking for anything to force a sync and haven't found anything except for "Back up all" which did nothing.

How can I force my phone to sync to the cloud immediately? In the Photos app the new image already appears, but on my PC only the first picture I took showed up.

8 Answers 8


Here is what I have found to work most reliably on my phone, which is a stock (not rooted) Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (Android version 9). I found this out via other posts on stack exchange, but I forget where.

After I take a series of photos on my phone using its camera app, I switch over to the Google photos app, and inside that app I select one or more of the photos and create a shared album. That is not enough to sync to the cloud however. To force the phone to sync and upload all the files to cloud, you have to actually share it, or just click on the create link icon. In order for that to work, it forces the phone to have to upload all of the selected photos into Google photos. This works out just fine for me, because I usually want to get a share link to the items that I am taking a record of, anyway

  • 1
    oh wow. that is clever, and it actually works.
    – Michael
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 23:26
  • 6
    Yes, unfortunately, excessively clever. It would be more useful for us if the implementers had added a button that said "Sync Now" which would synchronously sync the local photos to the Google photo account.
    – bgoodr
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 0:48
  • 2
    I have more of a need for manual syncing than I will ever have for the "photo books" they like to nag about everytime I open the app. Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 17:15

In Google Photos app select Assistant and then you can choose (or view the current backup status/progress) to force backup photos. Be sure to set the different image maps to cloud: the folder will then contain a blue cloud icon with an arrow in it.

  • 2
    On my Android 6.0.1 phone, there is no option to force backup photos. This answer does not provide screenshots to show what "you can choose" means.
    – bgoodr
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 23:10
  • @bgoodr Same on Android 9 - The assistant provides icons to "Create New" albums, photo book, movie, collage, or animation. What am I supposed to do here?
    – Michael
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 17:51
  • 1
    android.stackexchange.com/a/213074/13886 shows what I end up doing now to address this problem.
    – bgoodr
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 23:19

In Android 6 / Marshmallow, go to Settings -> Personal -> Google -> Google Photos Backup, and click Backup all, this started the backup straight away for me. There are lots of other options on that screen that may help, I found that somehow the Backup option at the top of the screen had been set to off.


I fix this problem by restarting the phone and starting the Google Photos app after restart whenever I miss a photo just taken. This way synchronization always starts for me after starting the Google Photos app.


Go to the settings in Google Photos. There is an option to back up photos only while the phone is being charged. Disable this and the photos should backup immediately.


Restarting the phone is the simplest solution to this occasional problem.


If using Chromebook and the photos are in an album. Select ALBUM, then click the download cloud icon (upper right). I had used this procedure in Shared Albums, but only a few pictures entered the library. When I used the above procedure, they all jumped in.


In Photos, select the photos and choose "Backup now" from the menu.

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