What happens when you delete pictures in Google Photos?

Whether you need to clear out duplicates, limit the amount of full-resolution storage you're taking up or just get rid of some old shots you no longer want, you may need to delete photos from your Google Photos albums from time to time. The "access all of your photos everywhere" system is really cool, but it also introduces a few head scratching moments when you go to delete photos from the service.

We're going to help clarify the situation, and once you understand the system you won't be so worried about what's happening to your photos.

Deleting pictures, and what happens

Google Photos delete dialogue

The main thing to remember about Google Photos is that you're interacting with pictures in the cloud, and every action you take on them can (and will) be reflected on any other device connected to the service. That goes particularly for deleting pictures — when you hit the trash can button on an image in the Google Photos app, that photo is going to be removed from your library on every device that you access Google Photos from. The photo will also cease to exist in any Auto Awesome animations, collages or movies that you've created.

It doesn't matter if you originally took the photo on the device that you're performing the deletion on, either — if you take a photo on your phone and hit "delete" on your computer, the local file for that photo will be removed from your phone. In the case of a local photo being removed, you'll get a dialogue box that pops up to remind you of what you're about to do, though it's very easy to just tap "remove" and watch it leave your device.

The bothersome dialogue box also claims that the photos will be deleted from places that they're shared on Google+, though we actually haven't found this to be the case. We've shared multiple photos to Google+ from the Google Photos app and website, and saw that they remained after being deleted from Google Photos — though this could be a function of the photos still being available in the trash (we'll get to that in a moment). In general it's best to heed the warning and keep photos in your Google Photos library once they've been shared to Google+, though we really wish this wasn't a requirement.

Restoring 'deleted' photos

Restoring 'deleted' photos in Google Photos

If you happen to delete a photo (or 20) that you didn't mean to, fear not — Google gives you 60 days to change your mind. Much like deleting items in Google Drive — which is what you're essentially doing — you can restore any "deleted" photo right from the app or Google Photos website. Go into the "Trash" to view any items that you've recently deleted. You can select individual or groups of photos, and with one tap on an arrow in the top-right corner they'll be restored back into your main library.

The photos are placed back into their original spots based on the time and date information in the photo, and they'll go back to being synced on all devices that are using the Google Photos app. Perhaps having 60 days to restore items is a bit overkill, but the amount of storage that it costs Google is minimal, and if it helps a few people restore an image they didn't realize they had deleted it's all worth it to them.

If you'd prefer to permanently remove photos so they cannot be restored, simply select a photo or group of photos and tap the trash can icon once again to remove them forever. You can also clear out the entire trash with the "empty trash" button, which after a quick confirmation will remove every photo in the trash so you don't have to see them anymore.

With just a little thought about where your photos are and what you're doing with them, you'll never be left out in the cold with a lost photo of a special moment.

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • However, if you delete a photo from your device's gallery or camera roll it still remains in Google Photos? Therefore you can keep all your photos in Googles service while clearing out and keeping free GBs on your device?
  • That's right. When I did this, the deleted photos were still in Google Photos.
  • I still DL them to a local device before clearing my phone. That way, in case the innerwebs or Googles ever do something haywire, I still have the originals local.
  • Yeah me too. I always put them on my USB OTG drive and then move them to a couple NAS drives I have at home. Maybe I have gone too far...lol
  • can i ask you , if i have save the photo in the google photos so if i delete a local one , and after that I want the photo back , so I should download the photo or what ?
  • Yes, you would just download the web photo if you ever want it back.
  • Anybody getting photos with the upload cloud with a line through it? These photos don't show up on my other devices, but they have the option to delete from the current device. Galaxy Note 4 {Sprint Lollipop}
    Galaxy S III {FreedomPop 4.3}
    LG G2 {Sprint 4.4.2}
  • I wonder if those are photos that haven't synced yet....if you have it set to sync/backup on wifi only, they may just not have uploaded yet. That's my guess anyways.
  • From my experience that means that you took a photo on your phone but it has not yet synced likely becuase you have it set to "sync only when connected via wifi" and you are on your LTE connection
  • I want to delete everything on my phone, then go onto google photos and delete the photos that i also dont want . Is this possible..? How will google know that i dont want everything on google photos deleted the same way i purposely delte everything on my mobile phone???
  • That should work with no problem if you want to do it that way. Once you upload everything to Google Photos you can delete them off your device and it won't affect them online. Then you can delete anything you want off of Google Photos, but once you do, those photos will be gone forever.
  • If you wan't a photo or video remain in the cloud but no room in the phone for them, select them in the device (check them) and hit the three dot on the top right corner and select "delete device copy".
  • Interesting! Thanks but, Then how do you know which are in you phone and which are not?
  • The pics you see when you go into your file manager and go to where ever your photos are stored (DCIM for me) are stored on your phone. If you delete them there, they are not deleted in Google Photos. Vice Versa if you have pics stored on the device and in Google Photos and delete them on Google Photos, the ones on the device are still there.
  • Yep same for me +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is not true... Deleting from Google photos will also remove them from devices local storage. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sloan31...you're right. I just deleted a photo off of Google Photos on the web and it deleted it from my phone.
  • I'm not seeing this behavior - but it makes sense this is how it should work, it should be a 2way sync otherwise it gets very confusing. Maybe it does do this, but it is just taking a very long time to propogate the changes because the pictures seem to be sticking around on my phone. Strangely there does not seem to be any way to force a sync and it is not clear what the time delay between syncs is by default.
  • But I want to delete all the pictures on my device and am going crazy trying how to work out how to do it without ticking each one (several thousand)
  • Hold (long-press) and drag - see if this helps... https://youtu.be/Ol9HoFuXGJM
  • You mean in the google photos app or my normal i phone gallery?
  • How do you remove photos taken with and stored on a device that have been synced with Google Photos, without also removing them from Google Photos cloud storage? Do I have to keep another gallery app on the device just to delete local files? Posted via Android Central App
  • From what I read if you have a folder on your mac or pc that syncs with Google Photos and you delete the photos off of the mac or pc the photos are deleted from Google Photos as well. I think that's the way I understood the article.
  • Hamburger > Device Folders > Camera > Delete the pics you want. They'll still be in the cloud if they're already synced. Also, if you're running short of storage, Photos will ask you if you want to clear your local copies to free up storage.
  • Is there any way to force Photos to remove all of the local copies after they have been synced?
  • "It doesn't matter if you originally took the photo on the device that you're performing the deletion on, either — if you take a photo on your phone and hit "delete" on your computer, the local file for that photo will be removed from your phone." Not on my phone. If I delete it from the cloud, I then have to go to device folders and delete the local copy. The way photos treats management of local photos is annoying.
  • if I delete a photo on the web, the original also deleted from my phone... not immediately, but if i reopen the photos app, it will make a quick sync and then.
  • Reading comments from others, it seems that there's inconsistent functionality here.
  • Actually, now that I've other OTHER comments, it seems you're mistaken. The original is not deleted. From your Photos app, select the Hamburger icon (top left), and then Device Folders. That's where your originals are stored, and they are not deleted.
  • If you delete from Google Photos, it will delete from the device. Just tried this again after reading your comment. Went into device folders on my device and to my download folder. Deleted one from Google Photos on web. Device synced and removed the local copy in less than 3 seconds.
  • And as I've stated in other posts, it does NOT work like that on my device, and several others have reported it as well. This is inconsistent and is likely a bug. If I delete a photo from the cloud, it will remain in my Device Folders even the next day, until I manually select "remove from device." And to be clear, I'm not saying that YOU are wrong. I am stating that this app is working differently across devices and it is likely a bug.
  • Actually in your last comment you said that szutsgy was mistaken and that the original is noted deleted. So you should probably backtrack that claim. But ok.
  • Yea, there's a lot of separate threads here, so it's been an evolution from one to another as more information comes in. Sorry for the confusion and I readily admit that I was wrong at the time of THAT post. (Scroll down, there's more info from more people on this subject).
  • Yeah I see 'em now :-)
  • I am having the same issue as jaykresge. I cleaned up a bunch of photos in Google Photos on my computer yesterday evening. Checked my phone and they were still there. Later, I plugged my phone in for the night and this morning they were still there! I'm not sure why it is not deleting the photos off of my phone when I delete them from Google Photo on a computer. UGH!
  • I have a theory - I suspect that phones where it works are on Lollipop, and phones where it does NOT work are KitKat or below. Someone told me that they had a photos two-way sync option under their Google account sync settings. I don't have this.
  • No, this not not true. My phone has Lollipop. I think I understand what's going on here... My computer uploaded pictures taken from my SLR camera to Google Photos and I can see them in the Google Photos app on my phone. If I delete one of those photos from Google Photos on the computer, that photo is removed from the Google Photos app on my phone. However, if I delete a photo from Google Photos on the computer that was taken by my phone, it removes it from Google Photos cloud storage, but not from the local storage on my phone. This gets confusing because you can still see the deleted photo in the Google Photos app on your phone. But you are viewing it from your phone's local storage not the Google Photo cloud storage.
  • Well, it was a theory. Like I said though, we have users hear swearing that it delete the local copy on their phone. I stand by my original offer - anyone in downtown Seattle who has a device where the LOCAL copy is deleting when you delete the cloud copy is welcome to meet me today and show me. Because as of right now, I don't believe that the local copy is truly deleting, just as you and I have witnessed.
  • Are you sure you use the new photos app? Do the standalone one, not the one we always already had through Google plus? Because I have also 2 sync items in the Google account. Sync Google photos and sync Google photos backup So you really should have both I think Posted via Android Central App
  • @Johan, I stand corrected! I guess I was using the Photos app from Google+ I didn't realize it until Sunday morning when I went into the app and it prompted me to download the new Google Photos app from the Play Store! Confusing since it has the same name and icon as the Google+ version! Anyway, I now have the new Google Photos app and the synchronization appears to be working ie. When I delete a photo that was taken by my phone from Google Photos using my computer, it does in fact remove it from my phone's local storage!
  • There is a huge problem with new Google Photos and Google+ ... syncing is always downlading all photos back to the device .... it does not matter how you delete them only in the device, or even directly on gallery... they are downloaded again.
    I think tgere is a bug in new photos app
  • Hey Andrew any idea how to make it so all my hangouts pictures don't show up as separate "albums" in my photos? I'd rather not show any of them as an album.
  • Exactly. Until there is a way to choose which cloud albums I want to appear in the phone's gallery, Photos is useless in my book. Quickpic lets you choose which Picasa / G+ / Photos remote albums you wanna sync to your device, so for the moment it is still irreplecable.
  • Agreed. Also, the way Hangouts albums are displayed is inconsistent. Sometimes the album name is my name first, and then the other person's, and sometimes it's vice versa. It makes quickly scanning through kind of difficult. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Unfortunately no. Hangout photos are still stuck in there Posted via the Android Central App
  • You mentioned duplicates. I think it might not allow duplicates. I was uploading a few thousand pictures and had my computer trash. So I re-uploaded the same files (via the web browser, drag/drop). It looks to re-upload the files but overwrite the existing files. Perhaps not allowing duplicates?
  • It allows duplicates. I was using Dropbox and Amazon to store my pics. I downloaded zip files for both then uploaded to Google Photos. There were duplicates of a few photos that I had uploaded.
  • Interesting. You can download your entire collection from DB in zip form?
  • Yep but it can't be too large. I have a bunch of videos but I can only download a few at a time.
  • This is one major downside of Google Photos. I have the auto upload feature turned on my phone. However, I also offload those mobile photos locally onto my desktop for local backup. My mobile and dSLR camera photos are mixed on my desktop. How can I backup my regular dSLR photos onto Google Photos without creating duplicates in the cloud? Right now I can't. I wish Google would check the file that is being uploaded to ensure it is not a duplicate: i.e. check the metadata, file size, etc.
  • How about an easy way to rotate video's and photos? I don't see any option in the android or web app. You can edit each individual photo which is slow and takes a few steps. I don't see anything at all for rotating video. I don't see how something like this could be left out. ??
  • I'm still not sure about all this. I trusted Dropbox's autosync because I never had in mind to keep them in the cloud for ever, it was just for convenience. I do like the idea to have all my pictures in the cloud but I fear the risks too much.
    There's also the fact that only 25% of pictures I take are to be kept for long time. The rest are just bad pictures, temporary pictures (ie: pictures I download to share on Twitter/Fb) and screenshots...
  • I've personally found photos to have potential, but at the same time, it's very buggy and in some cases, not very user friendly. Examples: I I've seen multiple users mention a feature where, when deleted from the cloud, the photo is also deleted from the local device. Mine doesn't work like this. I have to delete from the cloud and then delete the device copy as well. I've had another user tell me there's an option for the device copy to auto-delete after backup, but I don't have this option. My option for selecting which folders to backup doesn't function at all. The web app is horrid when it comes to editing photos. If I'm on my desktop running the current release of Chrome, selecting the edit option on a photo makes it look like you're looking at it through those old red and blue "3D" glasses. Editing on the phone is at least functional. And then there's the user friendliness. Adding a photo to an album/collection is a CHORE. With most organizers, you simply drag the photo into the photo/album/collection that you want. If that's not an option you can usually select the photo, and then "move to destination." Nope, not here! You have to go into the collection, select add photos, and then go through your ENTIRE COLLECTION looking for that one photo that you want to move into the collection. Another issue that drives me nuts is the selection of original/high quality. If all of my photos are below the 16MP limit, selecting original or high quality doesn't alter them, but selecting original uses up my storage. Why not have a smart upload feature when selecting original? If photo > limit, use storage. If photo < limit, don't use storage (treat it as high quality). And their "auto-backup or nothing" stance is infuriating. Maybe I don't want to backup all of my photos? Maybe I have to take 20 shots to get a good one and simply want to backup THAT photo? With auto-backup turned off, there needs to be an option to share the photo to Photos AND select which collection it's going in from the start! How is this not included? It was in the prior Google Photos, it's in Drive, Dropbox, One Drive, heck, it's even in the old Picasa app! Lastly, the inability to sync a local copy to my phone is really disappointing. This needs to be an option for proper two way sync. I don't like having to buffer when I watch a video that I've taken. Same applies to photos, as I used to be able to say, "Here's a photo of my son!" Now, it's quickly followed by, "wait for it..." As previously stated, this app has potential, but it REALLY needs some polish. Given that this was broken out from an existing app and not a complete re-write, many of these problems are inexcusable.
  • //Another issue that drives me nuts is the selection of original/high quality. If all of my photos are below the 16MP limit, selecting original or high quality doesn't alter them, but selecting original uses up my storage.// Even if your photos are below 16MP, Google compresses them if you choose "High quality". The resolution stays the same, but the file size will be smaller. "Original" is just like a folder in the cloud, nothing changes.
  • That's what I thought, so I did a test. I uploaded a folder of photos under "high quality." The file name and formats remained the exact same (Ie, PNG didn't convert to JPG). I then downloaded them and compared to the source files. Unchanged (file size, etc.). The only thing that I didn't check was MD5. Basically, no, it doesn't re-compress anything uploaded under high quality. If it did, they'd at least use the same format for all photos (JPG?) and videos (MP4?). Heck, some of my videos uploaded under HQ are still 3GP!
  • What if they are very large jpg? Also what if the compression might happen over time on the server side to save space?
    They are not promising originals. While I like the app features for search and browsing, I will stick with other solutions for photo backup.
  • "What if they are very large jpg?" None of mine have been altered yet. "Also what if the compression might happen over time on the server side to save space?" That would be counter productive, as conversion at upload would save the space up front. "They are not promising originals." They are, if you use the original setting. "I will stick with other solutions for photo backup." Go for it. There are many options. If you want original quality backups, Google promises at least 15GB for free (and there are other promos available). But if you find a better deal, take it.
  • If I take a photo with me 12MP camera of my phone it's about 3+MB if I let it sync it will become around 1.5MB. In high quality mode. I zoomed in and can't find much loss of detail do it's fine by me Posted via Android Central App
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  • For adding photos into a collection, did you try selecting the photo and pressing the "+" button (on the web interface it's in the upper-right.) There's an option to "Add to album" where you can choose an existing album to add it to.
  • Between the gallery app on phone, google photo app on phone and picasa i have thousands of pics to delete, can delete from everywhere except picasa. all the same photos in all 3 apps, very frustrating
  • "If you take a photo on your phone and hit "delete" on your computer, the local file for that photo will be removed from your phone" Might need to be clear here, as this isn't the case for any Android I've owned. When you say "hit delete on your computer"... You're talking about Google Photos. Then that will be deleted from the 'cloud' (yep) but that has never then made my phone delete the LOCAL copies of the same photos...it just means (surely) that if I go to Google Photos on my phone, I won't find them there. (Which is very obvious unless you have no idea about cloud services, like my dad, who got confused about this part). Same as if I delete local photo files from my phone. I'd they have already been auto-uploaded to Google, they stay there. Just no longer on my phone as a 'hard copy' as such. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Correct, but in reading comments, either this functionality is consistent, or many people can't distinguish between local copy and cloud copy (and Google was no help in how they presented this).
  • For me, if I delete a pic from the website it really does delete from my phone locally (in the Motorola gallery app). And even when I restore from the Trash on the website it puts the picture back on my phone.
  • This is behavior I'd like to see, to confirm the inconsistency. I'm open to meeting anyone in downtown Seattle today to compare devices and see if one of us is mistaken (I'm mostly human) or if this is a flaw in the app. I know Andrew and several of the readers here are also in Seattle, so this invite extends to any of them.
  • So if your phone fills up like mine does, and you want to delete those 2000 photos or whatever...you have to make sure you select to 'delete local copy' via the menu? This is where new age Android is going to flop against Apple IMO (and I don't like Apple!!)...Android devices and services are now so inconsistent. It's not cool! Posted via the Android Central App
  • -Open the photos app
    -Tap the hamburger button (three lines, top left)
    -Select "Device Folders"
    -Anything that you delete here will ONLY delete from your device. So select all and delete after backup is done.
  • The way I've described here is the intended way for it to work and the way it works with my account and devices. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Andrew, if you're in Seattle today and catch a break, care to meet up and demonstrate? It seems to not be working on my device as you describe.
  • "A writer went missing in Seattle today....." Haha :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good point. I should have clarified. Andrew, I'm the guy in the dark glasses. I'll be standing near my van with the dark tinted windows. Come on in! Oh, and would you like some candy? P.S. I already got it demonstrated to me in the office. Works on LG G2 w/KitKat (rooted, custom ROM, not sure which), not working on 2013 Moto X on KitKat (unmodified, not rooted).
  • Question: Lets say i have around 20GB of photos in my Google Photos. What happens if i add a new device to my account ? All these photos will be downloaded to my new device ? Or just visible in the app ? Same for uploading from pc ?
  • Visible in the app. Look at it like this. Anything that you auto-backup is in "the cloud" The Google photos app is merely a viewer. Similar to how a Gmail app lets you view emails from the server, the Photos app lets you view the photos/videos from the server, and interact with them, but they are never stored locally on your device (except for photos taken on the device).
  • Okay, i get it. I was not sure because of the message to sync the photos to all my devices.
  • Would like to consider using this full time but still too buggy to convince me to drop Photobucket. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's so much easier to use the photos app as a simple gallery without signing in and use one drive for backup. Just look at the comments here. Talk about confusing.
  • That wouldn't work for me. The only photos viewable by the Photos app would be photos taken on or manually loaded on my phone. If I upload photos from my computer to One Drive, they won't show in the Photos app. If I am mistaken and you have an easy way to make this happen between the two apps, please educate me. I used Foldersync to od this, but I'm looking for a more native way to do it.
  • I agree if you want to be able to see the photos in the cloud in your gallery app (Photos in this case) then Photos and Drive would be ideal if you can get it working properly. I very rarely look at photos on my phone that I have backed up and when I do I just view them in One Drive.
  • In this case, Foldersync is the best option I've. It will automatically sync your cloud stored files to your device on a schedule that you define (also with limitations for wifi, LTE, 3G, roaming, etc.).
  • Couldn't you tell the Google Photos Backup desktop uploader to automatically upload the image folder[s] from your OneDrive?
  • Been using OneDrive for a long time and I have had no problems. It works on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. I will stick with it considering I'm always jumping between my Android and Windows Phone. Google doesn't like Windows Phone so no point in switching.
  • Anyone know if photos and videos that were previously taking up Google drive space, but meet the new requirements (under 16 mb/1080 video), will get automatically moved to the new app and no longer count against the space? My guess is that they will continue to take up space unless I delete them and re load them into Photos. Anyone look into this? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I tested last night. They continue to take up space. You have to download, delete, then re-upload under the "high quality" setting to get it to free up that space.
  • This process still confuses me. Whenever I delete photos from Google Photos, both from "Photos" and "On Device," they reappear the next time I go into the Photos app. The only way I can reliably delete things permanently is to use the Gallery app instead. I don't understand why they always reappear as if I didn't delete them at all.
  • John, there's a bug affected numerous users. What' SUPPPOSED to happen - you delete photo from the cloud, it also deletes the photo from the originating device. What's ACTUALLY happening (to some people, like you and me) - you delete photo from the cloud, it remains on originating device, auto-backup kicks in, re-uploads it. If you're in the same boat as me (and it seem that you are), you have to delete it twice; once locally and then again the cloud.
  • Wow that's a heck of a bug! I hope Google is aware of it and will fix it soon. It makes Photos almost useless for me.
  • I believe I figured it out. When I take pictures with my phone's camera, the pictures are stored to an additional SD card as per my preference. The clue came when I tried to use the Google Photos app to manage my photos and was not allowed to delete them, receiving the "photos doesn't have access to delete item on your sd card" error. Kitkat and Lollypop have restricted access to SD cards and disallowed deletion of files by non other than stock apps (usually apps installed by the phone manufacturer or the cell service provider) So if the Google Photos app cannot delete files from the device, why would a delete process from your online Google Photos cloud process have access? So I changed my camera settings to store all my photos to the device (built in) storage. I took pictures, they got backed up to the cloud within minutes, as did happen before. I opened the Google Photos app on my phone and verified visually that the pictures I just took were listed (and backed up) Online, I then edited some of those pictures and deleted others. Within 30 seconds the deleted images also were deleted on my phone and the other edits showed up as well. sooo.... I think the problem is that google can't access SD card content to delete it. I backed up (paranoia) my SD card content. I am currently moving my SD card saved photos onto my device storage. I will post back the result, as I am expecting it to sync after the images are restored, I will end up with all images back in the cloud. After that, deleting/editing them should be reflected back on my phone as well.
  • If you really want to get confused use Google photos with an sd card. My girlfriend has a Note 4 and she stores pics on sd and backs up to Google photos. I told her to stop going back and forth between the Samsung gallery app and the Photos app. Just use the Photos app LoL I have a N6 and this Photos app is a godsend. I love Google+ but I'm happy I don't have to be signed in to Google+ in order store pictures. Android All Day Everyday!
  • I tried an experiment. Using two monitors, I accessed my home computer using Chrome Desktop sharing and pulled up a folder from My Pictures in Windows. On the other monitor I had the Chrome Browser open to Google Photos and navigated to the corresponding "collection" (basically the uploaded version of the folder). I also had the collection open on my phone. I deleted an image from the collection. It vanished from my phone but NOT from original folder saved to the hard drive of my laptop at home. The images had been taken with my DSLR and saved to the folder on the computer. So it seems if you you take a photo with your phone or tablet and leave it in the default gallery for that device (opposed to moving it to created folder on an SDcard) yes it will vanish across everything when you delete. I would have been shocked if Google Photos had the audacity to reach into my computer's local folders and delete images. Photos saved to a local folder have to be actively uploaded/backed up to Google Photos it seems.
  • I really love this service.
  • When I got my nexus 6:
    Step 1: disable Google bloat (about 60% google preloaded apps, including Drive and Photos)
    Step 2: unencrypted
    Step 3: rack my brain to try to make my games lag
    Step 4: beg carrier for my note 3 back
    Step 5: JUMP to note 4 :)
  • Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Android All Day Everyday!
  • Does this apply if the photos were originally in Google Drive?
  • Here's how to delete the cloud copy while keeping the original on the device: 1. Search for "#autobackup"
    2. Delete the photo(s). They will disappear from only the cloud. This works on Photos as well as the old G+ Photos. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Really? Okay let me try this Android All Day Everyday!
  • Where do you find all these tricks? can you point me the list of shortcuts to use within Google Photos app.,? So it makes the life simpler :)
  • I so pass on the headaches of auto backup and cloud storage. Google is slowly weaning it's way off of my phone.
    And in a moment of "it's great to be a cranky old guy", Google+ is still being a pain, even after they made Photos a "stand alone" app. I feel fully vindicated in my complete rejection of that entire mess. Posted from the redheaded stepchild of the Nexii
  • I believe that in all of this discussion, there is an issue that needs to be cleared: The google photos app works a little differently on Nexus devices as opposed to other android devices. if you delete a photo on a Nexus device, it's deleted everywhere - the cloud and the device itself because the photos app is the gallery app for Nexus devices. For all other devices, if you delete a photo from the device, it will NOT be removed from the cloud - and vice versa. At least, that's how it used to function.
  • I did some experimentation and this is how it works on my metro pcs LG f60 (ms395) phone. If I have my gallery open on my phone viewing my folders, within <2 seconds from me deleting a photo on my mac through google photos open in chrome browser, the photos delete off my phone and i see the file count instantly change on the folders in gallery.
    -so deleting from google photos on my computers web browser deletes from my phone deleting from google photos on my phone deletes from google photos on any device, removes the photo on my phone, but does not remove the photo on my other device (in my case its my macbook). Deleting a photo from the gallery on my phone does not remove it from google photos. This program is awesome.. I love that you can easily manage all your photos through the web browser on the computer and it cleans up your whole phone. Whats confusing is all photos from my phone show up in google photos it doesnt matter if its a screen shot, download, or camera photo... and you dont know what your deleting, you could be deleting a screen shot or a download and assume it was a camera photo.
  • Okay, so every time I delete a picture from Google photo trash it still appears on my phones original Gallery and as a result. I will have to delete it from my phones Gallery too. Is there any way where I can just delete picture from Google Photos removing them from my device?
  • When I delete something from Google Photos it does not remove it from the Apple Photos app in iOS. So I presume this article applies to Android only rather than Devices in general?
  • PLEX camera upload is still a superior solution with much greater privacy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is so annoying! I got a S6 the other day and i transferred my pictures over from my old device and it uploaded them to Google Photos, although they already exist there, then I deleted those duplicates and it deleted them off my phone.
  • Glad I'm not the only one. Very annoying how it INSISTS on deleting things across all devices. Once it's on the "cloud", I'd much prefer to just treat all deletes on the cloud separate from my device deletes. Do they think we're all a bunch of neanderthals who aren't capable of managing our local and virtual libraries separately?
  • I've read through all of the comments, but I haven't seen anyone address the idea of how Google Photos interacts with photos in various folders on Google Drive. Here's my scenario:
    I have many photos that are organized in album structures on Google Drive, being used more like a cloud backup hard drive. They are not in the Google+ or Google Photos ecosphere.
    Some of these photos are "Zoe" shots from my previous phone that was an HTC One, and 19 out of every 20 of those pictures needs to eventually be cleaned up. I also have duplicates of photos in various albums that need to be deleted as well. I'd rather do that just once, so if I add that directory in Google Drive to backup to Google Photos for auto backup, and then I organize/delete them in Google Photos, will they delete from that folder in the directory, or will they remain there and just be deleted from the directory that Google Photos uses that is in a year/month/day of month folder structure? I'm trying to figure out if it's easier to just add that entire directory into Google Photos, organize them in Photos, then delete that directory that's counting against my storage, or if Google Photos is keeping those photos in the original directory they are in now on Google Drive. Anyone able to answer this?
    I previously used Google+ to auto backup my photos in original quality from my phone, so those photos are there and counting against me as data, but so that is another consideration. I might just download all of my photos currently in Photos, wipe out all of my Google Photos, then reupload everything, but I still need to know how it treats files in Drive directories you add to Google Photos.
  • Happy I'm not the only one with this exact same issue. What I tried doing was deleting all my photos from Google Drive (after stopping the app locally on my PC and making sure my external backup was good) then pointed the Google Photos upload app at my pictures folder and waited while it "uploaded" them. I came back about ohhh...2 hours later to see what it had gotten up to. On Google Drive it populated the Google Photos folders (year/month) with some of my photos but not others. In Google Photos on the other hand most of my photos were present (90%) but still missing 10% off in limbo. Now 90% of the photos are not in the Google Drive Google Photos folder structure and weren't uploaded via auto backup (and are no longer present on Google Drive) so...where is Google storing my pictures is anyone's guess. Tbh I want to love it but it's terribly unclear where things are. I can't trust it if I can't be sure it's uploading everything and putting it all somewhere I can see.
  • You've touched on a very good point. This backing up that Google Photos does is all fine and dandy if you just want every single picture dumped there and you're probably never going to want to bother looking at them again (hoarder style), but if you actually want to have things organized, or keep some items on your device but excluded from the cloud, it becomes a complete mess. Syncing is cool and everything but must EVERY SINGLE item be synced? What if I just want something on my device but not on the cloud? They need to clean it up a bit. I understand that simplicity is nice but sometimes a few more tools at the user's disposal are necessary for functionality.
  • One really annoying thing is that google photos does not seem to work with a sdcard. When I delete photos on google photos and also delete them from my device through the app they are still shown in my file explorer and when I restart my device the photo is back in the google photos app. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That might explain why i've been trying to get rid of the same photos for three months. This was obviously true of the previous photo app because i have some photos that were taken accidentally that come back like a strange disease.
  • So, I know this sounds pretty ignorant and I *think* I know the answer, but, as a teacher, I have tons of pictures of other people's kids on my phone that I share with parents on our Facebook page. I got nervous about deleting them when it said they would also be removed from posts, but that is just Google posts, right? Would it affect my Facebook posts at all?
  • I'm not a complete expert but I'm pretty sure the Facebook ones will be totally unlinked and unaffected.
  • just want to say this article about deleting photos and videos ..well he never tells you how to ...only what happens after deleting... and then he goes on to tell how to restore photos . I would not be surprised if this was an article written by Google staff because it seems to me they have been having such a problem with people posting complaints about not understanding or following directions and not getting the results they claim you get with and in relation to freeing up space on your device so it basically seems like a bunch of obfuscation...intentional confusion because I don't think that Google really has it down I've tried every direction and believe me there's numerous different ones to really convolute things one says device one says device folders now they may think me dumb not being able to figure that out. I can figure it out..however I believe that a conglomerate as big as Google should take in consideration that the person reading the article knows nothing... Because of the day and age we live in people are taking to smart phones and computers with not a lot of education of the field in and of itself. it's at a point where they make devices so anybody can use them but with Joe Average or older folKS there is a limited amount of knowledge that the average person possesses about software and hardware ...might not even know the difference between both, so I would believe that and experienced industry leader as Google would be responsible enough to figure out how to include everybody in understanding their directions. they have put out numerous different and conflicting instructions as to how to free up space on your mobile device while saving it on their cloud everything is convoluted from them not explaining that you go out of the red icon that says Google Plus to the Picasa icon and that's where your pictures are held ...an average personor older person would believe that was a completely different unrelated app I don't think that's an outrageous statement I think it's very logical that somebody would think that. That is not explained at all, then what happens ..they take the name Picasa away and don't explain that whenever they make reference to going to photos... they very seldom even show the icon when referring to it.Its just ridiculous,they are so.. i cannot think of another word except ..snooty...and corporately condescending. They think it nothing to put you on hold for 8 hours maybe even longer ..if you ever venture to even try to call a Google... I don't even know what to call it... a regional office... A ...whatever. Google will and have put people on hold for 8 hours or longer... I believe they only keep the phone line to claim that they are not just email support... However that is exactly what they are just email support... And they are even making that hard to find bearing it to support comment area so that it's incredibly difficult for somebody to find it ..again I'm speaking of somebody who is not very computer savvy or smart phone savvy which would mean they are catering to only people they believe should possess these devices by matching them to their level of competency and the years of experience they've had believing they should also be at that level ...Yeah right...a 70 year old man or woman... Google you need to get it together you have a lot of wonderful things going on... However there are a lot of people in my inner circle...as well as millions that believe that all Google is about now is amassing personal information like Facebook ...and just being a direct line to government agencies... I don't want to get too far off the track here however like I said you should make your instructions clear easy to execute the first or at least the second time no more... And you should check comments left like the gentlemen's I'm referring to that are just completely uninformative as to what the article originally claims it contains
  • I do not understand why people are so interested in what happens when you take photos off the Google Cloud... It seems to me the interest should lie in how you get him off your device... mobile phone that is... And I believe it has never been addressed and remedied properly by anybody. so why would you be so concerned about what is lying up in the cloud especially if its unlimited as long as it's under a certain amount of MB's... its makes no sense to me.although upon thinking on it for a moment I do myself get quite annoyed at Google being so presumptuous as to pick what they think are your best photos... There is just way way way too much exposure and control on their end and liberties taken however I am just really interested in how to free up space on my phone and not have it erase the pictures in the Google Plus or what should we call it a Picasa... or its not called that anymore either. too many changes too fast without explanation or directions as how to follow formats a new
  • The short answer? To keep the cloud uncluttered. What good is having images stored on the cloud if when the day tomes to sift through and try to view or use some for printing, it's cluttered with EVERY SINGLE picture I ever took with my phone? The vast majority of them become rubbish before too long, but they are automatically backed up before I have a chance to determine what is worth keeping indefinitely and what was mostly just for the moment.
  • the bottom line is Google knows all these articles and feedback that comes in... mostly negative or at the very least people that are very confusedabout how to delete from the cloud without it affecting your phone or how to delete from the phone without it affecting the cloud this seems to me to be a very easy problem to understand on Google's end .However they just refuse to address the issue once and for all with a foolproof method of either vice versa going to the cloud... or coming from the cloud..gee I wonder what it would take for one of their genius developers to put it in layman's terms that everybody could understand... because everything they put out so far is just convoluted smoke and mirrors
  • I put a lot of posts on here today but it's because I am just so frustrated and after reading a few other peoples comments I don't feel so crazy in doing so it seems in the general consensus people all think Google is doing just too much way too much ...unfortunately not the right things... Like facebook just too much... Facebook actually wants you to put the app on your phone thinking that you won't know or haven't heard from one of your friends that it will completely take over your phone and show up in notifications text messages everywhere Contacts... Like I said way too much ...and I saw a gentleman near the top of the comments said that Google is slowly working their way off his phone... Same thing with me...and Facebook is right in front of them is falling off my phone... Or rather my life... I don't have them on my phone
  • Am I the only one who would like to see a way of un-syncing individual items? For example, if I take an image with my phone that I don't want immediately spread to all other devices, it would be nice to be able to just keep it on my phone. Even aside from un-syncing items, there just needs to be one more option when it comes to deleting via Google Photos: delete from the cloud only, but keep on device. This is the opposite of what most people generally want to do, usually you want to delete from device to free up space. But what if I took a private picture or video with my wife that I don't want popping up on my tablet when I'm trying to show my friend a picture of my last trip? I can't be the only one thinking about this. Trying to delete it via Google Photos, the only options are to delete device copy or delete from everywhere. I'm a iOS user for my phone, and Android for all else. Other than that, the app works great but that is a glaring and kind of embarrassing shortcoming on Google's part in my opinion.
  • For those of you that want to DELETE CLOUD COPIES and RETAIN LOCAL COPIES of photos on your device, this is the trick.
    Go to picasaweb.google.com. Remember Picasa, Back when Google has yet to grow its tenacles into every facet of our lives? When uploading my first picasa album in a year today, it took me awhile before I found the Picasa app on the Google+ page. There is a fold call "auto backup." All my (unwillingly) auto backed-up photos are there. Deleting from picasaweb instead of Photos+ will delete the copy from Photos, but NOT your local copies! I expect Google to fix this All-or-Nothing approach with Photos soon, but in the mean time, this will do. Auto-sync is convenient, but dangerous. I am also concerned about the possibility that auto-sync gets mysteriously turned back on, which has happened with previous version of my photo app.
  • Is there a way to "re"backup your photos? Google runs autobackup on photos i didn't edit yet now there are differences between what is saved locally and what is on the cloud. I would like to clear everything from the cloud, but not my device. The suggestions on this link don't work, i can't even find the second magnifying glass icon the second time.https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1304803?hl=en
  • does this app push photos on web automatically? plz tell me anybody
  • Yes!! This happens to me even with Google photo app DISABLED and sync for photos in every freakin Google app on my device that can access photos set to OFF. I would LOVE for someone to tell me how to make this stop
  • If I save everything to sd card.... Can I delete from phone and Whatcom saved to sd card will it still be there. Or do I need to remove ad first, before erasing on the phone.
  • sorry. Can I delete from my phone after saving to the SD card. Or do I need to remove it first before deleting from phone. To free up some space
  • I have 2 phones of which each retain my google photos .... but I would like to go back to factory settings on one of them but afraid if I do this it will delete all my photos ... Please advise
  • Yes