How to Delete Google Photos: A Comprehensive Guide
Storing your personal photo library in Google Photos may seem highly beneficial at first glance. In the end, Google provides extensive storage space, compatibility with all platforms, and many other capabilities you could enjoy. But there is a weighty “but” you shouldn’t neglect. Remember, we are talking about Google – the gigantic corporation that collects and utilizes tons of customer data, often robbing us of our Internet privacy. So if you want to protect your personal information, you may want to delete Google Photos. Keep reading to find out how to do it in a few simple steps on any device.
How the Google Photos storage works
Google Photos is a cloud-based solution where you can store, share, and manage your photo library. Let’s first briefly overview the service’s features to better understand how it works and whether it’s worth your trust.
- Automatic sharing function. Using the Partner Sharing feature, you can automatically send particular photos to the closest people.
- Backup quality. Google Photos allows you to save the original quality of your images or compress them to the desired size.
- Locked folder. This function lets you keep sensitive files away from prying eyes in a relatively secure folder. The photos in it aren’t accessible to anyone but yourself. They also aren’t backed up to the cloud.
- Slideshows, memories, scrapbooks, and prints. With Google Photos, you can view your images in any preferred way. The app allows you to automatically display photos via slideshows or look back to some random memories with the “I’m feeling lucky” feature.
- Storage management. Since storage space in Google Photos is limited, you can manage it by removing the largest files, blurry photos, and screenshots.
But while convenient, Google Photos come with certain privacy and security pitfalls (which may even be the cause of removing your photos from this service for good). Let’s look at them in more detail.
Why you may need to delete Google Photos
Most privacy and security features of Google Photos, such as private albums, locked folders, and archived images, look quite decent. Still, there are several downsides to consider.
AI-driven technologies allow Google Photos to recognize the faces of people (and even pets) and automatically move them to certain albums or folders. It means that the app analyzes and potentially collects users’ biometric data. Besides, Google Photos studies your activities and interests to personalize your profile and user experience. Finally, the service can determine your photos’ locations even if you disable location settings on your device.
In 2019, cybersecurity experts noticed a bug in Google Photos that could cause users’ private data leaks at the browser level. In particular, it allowed hackers to gain unauthorized access to photos’ locations, dates, and other sensitive information. They did it by measuring the response time Google Photos took to process users’ requests after they visited a specifically designed malicious website.
The service quickly fixed this issue, but no one can guarantee that similar threats won‘t appear in the future. And this risk is quite alarming, considering the enormous amount of private data Google Photos collects about users.
If these or any other reasons made you decide to delete all photos from Google Photos, here’s how you can do it quickly and effortlessly.
How to delete Google Photos
You can remove Google Photos from your device, cloud, or all platforms. Also, it’s possible to restore the deleted files or delete them permanently. Let’s take a closer look at each approach.
How to delete Google Photos from device only
When you remove Google Photos only from the device, they will still be saved on the cloud. This method is suitable if you want to free up some space on your smartphone or tablet. Take the following steps to get the job done.
- Enter your Google Photos app.
- Tap your profile icon at the top-right corner of the screen.
- Head to the Backup & Sync section. If you haven’t backup your shots yet, you will see the cloud icon. Tap Turn on backup and wait until the photos are moved to the cloud. Next, turn the backup off.
- Go to Google Photos settings.
- Select the Manage device storage option.
- Tap the Free up space button and confirm the action.
How to delete Google Photos from cloud only
If Google-related privacy concerns are your main motivation to remove your images from Google Photos, you can remove them from the cloud only. This way, you will clean your Google cloud storage while keeping your photos on your iPhone (Photo Gallery app) or Android (File Manager app) device. But note that if you turn on the sync in your Google Photos app, your pictures will move back to the storage.
Take the following steps to remove your photos from the Google Photos cloud only.
- Open the Google Photos app on your device, tap the profile icon at the top-right corner of the screen, and turn off backup.
- Next, open the Google Photos website and select the photos you want to delete.
- Click the bin icon at the top-right corner of the screen.
- Confirm your action.
How to remove Google Photos from everywhere
With this method, you can delete your photos from both the Google Photos cloud storage and your device’s memory. So make sure to back up your files on another device or service before moving on to the following steps.
That said, here’s how to delete Google Photos from your iPhone or Android and the cloud.
- Open the Google Photos app and select the photos, videos, and other files you want to remove.
- Click the bin icon.
How to delete all Google Photos permanently (or restore them)
After you remove your files from Google Photos and device memory, they will be stored in the trash for 60 days and then automatically disappear. Therefore, if you deleted some photos by mistake, you can restore them with ease (or remove the unnecessary ones immediately):
- Open the Google Photos app on your device, head to the Library, and tap the bin icon.
- Select the files you want to restore or delete permanently.
- Tap the Delete or Restore button.
Now that you know how to clean your Google Photos, let’s explore several helpful tips on how to protect your files and other personal information online.
Ways to protect your photos and other data online
- Pick a more privacy-focused cloud storage service. Some of the most secure Google Photos alternatives are pCloud, Flickr, and IDrive. By selecting one of these solutions, you will benefit from the convenience of syncing your photos with the cloud without turning to Google services once again.
- Manage your device’s privacy settings. Both iPhone and Android users can adjust their privacy sandbox to prevent various apps and services from gaining their sensitive information. In particular, pay attention to suspicious third-party apps that require too many permissions (geolocation, microphone, and so on) – these may help third parties spy on your phone (or even listen to your private conversations).
- Create strong and unique passwords. Whatever cloud storage service you choose, a reliable password is a must. Choose complex combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, you may consider using a credible password manager tool to store your credentials in a safe place.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). In addition to using a secure password, turn on the 2FA feature on any cloud storage you’re using for your photos. This way, you can be sure nobody can access your files without bypassing an additional verification step.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN is an efficient privacy solution that provides an extra layer of protection to your device, personal information, and online communications. Such a tool encrypts your traffic so no one can learn what you’re up to when surfing the Internet. Besides, it hides your IP from prying eyes by replacing it with the address of a remote server. Thanks to reliable security features, a VPN shields your files and other data from third-party monitoring, phishing attacks, public Wi-Fi threats, shady websites, and other potential dangers lurking across the web.
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FAQ: How to Delete Google Photos
You can delete your files from Google Photos in three different ways:
- Remove your photos from the device.
- Remove your photos from the cloud.
- Remove your photos from everywhere.
- Permanently delete your Google Photos.
Read this article to learn how to apply these methods.
To delete all of your files from Google Photos, take the following steps:
- Enter your Google account and go to Google Photos.
- Select one photo by enabling a checkmark on its top left corner.
- Scroll down to the last photo and select it while pressing and holding the Shift key.
- At the top right corner, click Delete permanently.
For more details, check out this article.
Yes. For that, you need to delete Google Photos from the cloud only by taking the following steps:
- Open Google Photos.
- Tap the profile icon at the top-right corner.
- Turn off the backup.
- Open the Google Photos website and enter your Google account.
- Select the photos you want to delete and click the bin icon at the top-right corner.
Read this article to learn more.