Google Photos is undoubtedly a convenient tool. It backs up all your photos and saves them on the cloud, giving you the freedom and flexibility to access them whenever you want. You won’t lose your photos even if you switch devices as they’re available on-demand.
But some folks are probably creeped out by what Google chooses to do with your photos. If you’re a frequent user of Google Photos, you’ve probably noticed how Google geotags your images even if you don’t do it yourself. It’s eerily accurate and gives you an idea of how powerful its image recognition tech is.
Other than just geotagging pictures, Google Photos can also use its sophisticated algorithms to scan photos and automatically tag people. While that sounds like a neat feature, the fact is that there’s some pretty invasive technology at play. Hence, you have every reason to want to know how to delete Google Photos as it’s not great for your internet privacy.
Read on to understand how you can delete Google Photos safely and securely. We’ll discuss both methods: how to scrub Google Photos from your device as well as how to remove Google Photos from the cloud.
How to delete Google Photos from your device
Whenever you take a photo from your camera app or a screenshot on your device, Google proceeds to make two copies of the image. One is stored locally i.e. on your device and the other on the cloud.
That means you’re eating up a hefty chunk of your storage memory. If you exceed your limit, Google charges 2.51 USD for higher storage, which some users might not want to pay.
This can be annoying if you’re used to taking a lot of photos and your phone lacks significant storage capacity. Here are the step-by-step instructions to delete Google Photos from your device while still maintaining them on the cloud:
- Click on your Google Photos app and navigate to “Settings”.
- Go to “Backup and Sync”. Make sure that the setting is turned on and registered to your Google account. If your photos weren’t backed up before, then the process will start now (an unsynced option will be indicated by an icon of a crossed cloud). After the sync is complete, switch back to “Backup and Sync off”.
- Go back to “Settings” and select the “Free up device storage” option. You will receive a notification like this:Click “Delete” and all your synced photos will be removed from your phone.
How to delete Google Photos from the cloud but not device
As we mentioned before, Google only gives you a certain amount of storage space on its cloud servers. Hence, if you would like to save on that by deleting old photos you can choose to remove them from the cloud and free up space.
With this, your photos can stay on your device if you so wish. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to delete Google Photos from the cloud:
- Go back to the Google Photos app on your phone and confirm that the “Backup and Sync” option is disabled.
- Navigate to the Google Photos website and log in with your account credentials.
- Select all the photos you wish to delete from the cloud and click on the bin icon located in the top right corner. Another confirmation message will appear, making sure you wish to proceed with this action. Click “Yes”.
How to recover or permanently delete your Google Photos
Once you have deleted your photos from the cloud, they will be moved to the trash folder. At this point, Google will still keep them there for a period of 60 days after which they will be deleted automatically. You can choose to restore your Google Photos (if you accidentally deleted them) or permanently delete them once and for all to free up space.
In order to do this, you must:
- Open the Google Photos app on your phone and click on “Bin”.
- Select the individual photos you wish to delete (or retrieve). If you would like to remove all the items in your Bin, click the top right icon on your screen and hit “Empty Bin”.
Google Photos and your privacy
Google Photos is a free photo and video storage service and you can sign up without having to input your credit card details.
While the service and app offer an easy way to store your favorite memories online, you shouldn’t jump in before reading the Google Terms of Service.
For example, by using Google Photos, you are granting Google “a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”
While Google maintains that it will secure your permission before using your content for commercial/promotional services, you should know that the company will use what you store online to learn about your preferences and show you targeted ads. Learn how to opt-out of seeing personalized ads here.
Is Google Photos safe to use?
In a word, yes. Google Photos is a secure service for storing your images and videos. However, the questions you have to consider are:
- How much do you trust Google with your personal data?
- Are you willing to give up some internet privacy for added media storage convenience?
Want more help with de-cluttering your online life? Check out ExpressVPN’s guides on: