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Guide: Delete Photos from Google Photos but Not from Device: Tips
Google Photos offers so much more than letting you view and manage images and videos on it, just like other gallery apps. One of the most prominent functions is to create a backupup of your images and videos on cloud storage, which can also be accessed on various shared devices.
That said, the Google Photos app has its quirks. Other than not providing a satisfactory user interface for device folders (other albums in the gallery), it is difficult to delete photos. Of course you can just press Delete button, but that removes the photo from everywhere – the phone as well as the cloud storage.
What if someone just wants to delete a photo from Google Photos without it being out phoneSurprisingly, it’s not as easy as turning off a switch. That’s what we’re going to explore here. But before we get into that, let’s understand how Google Photos works.back to menu ↑
Why does Google Photos delete photos from Phone
By default, the option for backupup and sync disabled on Google Photos. If turned on for the first time on it phone, Google Photos stores the photos and videos present in the camera folder to the cloud storage space associated with your Google account. All new photos are also synchronized. The backup- and sync function is disabled for albums in the gallery, but you can also sync them. Here we will focus on the camera files, but the underlying principle remains the same.
So when an image or video is synced through the Google Photos app, the process makes two copies: online and on the device. Only one is visible to you. If you want to save space on your phone, you can delete the device image with the built-in option of Google Photos. If you do that, you will not be able to access the file in another gallery app because you only have the online version of the file. However, you can only view the online copy of such files in the Google Photos app.
While it’s easy to keep a file on Google Photos and delete it from a device, it’s not easy to do it the other way around. When you delete a synced photo from the Google Photos app, it will be deleted from your phone and the cloud storage.
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What happens if you delete photos
Sometimes you want to delete photos from Google Photos. You must have tried that and not got the desired result. Here are a few cases to help you understand things better.back to menu ↑
Case 1: Delete photo on Phone with back up & Synchronization enabled
When the back up & sync is turned on and if you delete a synced photo from the Google Photos app, it will be deleted everywhere. More precisely, it will be removed from the Google Photos app, its website, phone’s gallery and file manager app.back to menu ↑
Case 2: Delete photo on Phone with back up & Synchronization disabled
After syncing a photo, if you delete it while the back up & sync option disabled, the result would be the same as in the previous case. The said photo will be removed from your phone’s storage. But if you recently turned off sync, the photo will still show up on other shared devices. When you switch back on up & re-sync on the same device will delete the photo from all shared devices.
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Case 3: delete photo on website with back cover up & Synchronization disabled
Another thing you could do is delete photos on Google Photos website with a back cover up & sync disabled on mobileWhen you do that, the image will be immediately deleted from the other synced devices. Since your back up & sync option is disabled on your phone, the photo will remain on your phone and is visible in your gallery apps and file manager.
If you back-up and enable sync on it phone, the photo would reappear on the Google Photos website, since the original file on the phone
Note: Sometimes the change doesn’t happen immediately. In that case, sign out of the Google Photos app and then sign in again.back to menu ↑
The only solution that seems to work is to move files to an unsynced folder using a file manager.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Open the file manager app on your device and create a new folder on the internal storage. Let’s call it GP test. You can call it anything.
Note: I have used the Mi File Manager app for the process. You can use any file manager app.
Step 2: Then use file manager again and navigate to Internal storage> DCIM> CameraThis folder contains the photos taken with the phone’s camera
Step 3: Here, select all the photos you want to remove from Google Photos and tap Move.
Step 4: Navigate to the new folder (GP Test) you created above and paste the files there.
Once you do this, the files will be automatically deleted from it camera folder of the Google Photos app on your phone
You can open those files from the newly created folder (GP test) with Google Photos or another gallery app.
Definitely going back up & sync is not enabled for the new local folder. To confirm, go to the Albums section of the Google Photos app and find the folder. A cloud icon with a line over it indicates that the folder is out of sync.
Step 5: If the deleted photos still show up on the web version, then you need to manually delete them from the internet. To do this, start the Google Photos website and delete the photos. Deleting them will not affect the images in the newly created folder (GP test) on your phone
Note: As a precaution, try the steps above with one or two images first. Once you are satisfied, do it in bulk.
If you want to recover the deleted images at any time, open the trash can on Google Photos and restore them.back to menu ↑
Turn off Back up & Synchronize
Above guide is meant for old photos on you phoneIf you don’t want the new images to sync with Google Photos, turn them off again up & sync from settings. To do this, open the Google Photos app and tap the three-bar menu in the top left corner. Go to Settings.
Tap Back up & sync and turn it off on the next screen.
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Buck up, Google!
I wish things were different and there was an easy way to delete photos from Google Photos only. Unfortunately that is currently not available. You must either turn it off again up and sync for new images or use the above method.
However, it is not a good idea to keep your photos on your phone nothing but. Your phone can be stolen or stop working causing you to lose all your precious memories. If you don’t want to use Google Photos for your back, you can try alternatives such as Prime Photos, Flickr, or use cloud storage such as Google Drive.
The next up: How is Google Drive different from Google Photos? Let’s find out.back to menu ↑
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