Now Google Photos can back-up Live Photos on your iPhone

Google Photos for iOS has been updated with Live Photos support, allowing the Harry Potter-esque moving images to be backed-up into Google's cloud. The new functionality, added today in the latest release of the iPhone and iPad app, means that iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus owners capturing Live Photos won't lose the video data if they rely on Google for their online storage.

Initially, devices not running iOS 9+ or OS X El Capitan or above were unable to access Live Photos. Moreover, if such an image was transferred to an incompatible platform, the core photo would be saved but all the rest of the data lost.

That included the video, which meant that backup services like Google Photos were inadvertently dumping user's data along the way.

Apple opened up Live Photos compatibility late last year, with tumblr adding support for sharing them and viewing themon the micro-blogging service in December. Since then, we've seen Facebook and other sites add support.

The advantage to Google Photos, however, is the free storage that Google offers. Users get unlimited image backup, or can upgrade to a paid tier if they want to maintain the original resolution.

Still, it's worth noting that though the Live Photos may be backed up and viewable in the Google Photos app, you can't also access them through the service's browser-based interface. Instead, there they show up as basic still images just as before.

Nonetheless, if you've shied away from paying Apple for iCloud storage for your growing photo library, this likely comes as good news. Google Photos started out as an integral component of Google+, but the company split it off with its own identity as the social network pivoted and tried to find its audience.

You'll need the latest version of Google Photos for iOS – v1.8.0 – in order to get Live Photos support; it's available as a free download in the App Store.

Meanwhile, the updated app also includes iPad Split View and iPad Pro support, in addition to a new navigation system which Google says should make using the app faster. Cache demands are reduced, and performance in general is also said to be swifter.