What Happens When You Delete Photos from Google Photos
Deleting photos is a common task on smartphones. And it shouldn't be complicated. Unfortunately, when it comes to Google Photos or any other cloud service, things get a little dramatic. If you plan to delete photos from Google Photos, find out what's going on by doing it on Android, iPhone and Web.
Let's check the results. But before we dive into it, it's important to understand how Google Photos works.
How photos are stored in Google Photos
The Google Photos app on Android and iOS works like a typical gallery app showing you the photos on your phone. But you should be aware that it also acts as a photo storage service. When the service is activated, your phone's images are saved in the cloud. There are now two copies – device and cloud copy.
To save space on your phone, you can either delete the copy from the device manually using the option Delete from device, or use the option ; Free up storage space option. Using one or the other will delete the copy from the device, but keep the photos and videos safe in the Google Photos cloud. You can still access the cloud copy via the Photos app.
To use Google Photos as a photo storage service, you need to enable a setting called Backup and Sync in the Google Photos app.
Its name is misleading. Indeed, it only activates or deactivates the function of saving photos from your phone to the cloud. So once activated, it saves your photos in Google Photos, and when it is deactivated, they are not saved in the cloud. It’s his only job. It has nothing to do with synchronization, which is turned on in the background.
So if you add photos to Google Photos on the web or from another phone, they will automatically appear in your Google Photos mobile apps on Android and iOS even if backup and sync are turned off. These photos will not occupy any storage space on your phone as they are stored in the cloud. You only see the cloud version. You can however download them to your phone using the Save button on the device accessible by swiping on the photo. This way you will have two copies – one on your phone and one in the cloud.
Now that you know the basics of Google Photos, let's take a look at the aftermath of deleting photos.
What happens when you delete photos from Google Photos app on Android and iOS
To get started, Google offers two different delete buttons in the Photos app. A button represented by the delete icon deletes the photo from your phone, your Google account and all connected devices. You can access it at the bottom of the photo or at the top when you select multiple photos.
The second button saying "Delete from device" only deletes the photos from your phone. It appears when the photo has been stored in the Google Photos cloud. You can access it by swiping up on the photo or by tapping the three-dot icon on the photo.
You would think that the Backup and synchronize setting plays an important role when deleting photos. But technically, the setting has nothing to do with deleting photos. It depends on the location of your photos – whether the photos are saved on your device, in the cloud or in both places. But for the sake of understanding, we have divided the cases according to the Save and synchronize parameter.
Let's check the different cases.
Case 1: when backup and synchronization are disabled
If Backup & Sync is currently disabled, then if you delete a photo, the result will depend on the storage location of the photo, i.e. where the photo is saved – the cloud or your phone.
Case A: photo not saved
On Android and iOS, if the photo backup was not performed in the cloud (because the backup is disabled), the delete icon is displayed only and not the option Remove from device.
On Android, deleting these photos will only delete them from your phone. So you won't be able to see them in Google Photos or other gallery apps.
Also on iOS, photos will be deleted from your phone only and you won't be able to access them in Apple Photos. If iCloud Photos is enabled, they will also be deleted from iCloud.
Case B: photos saved in Google Photos
If the photo backup happened on Google Photos, and later you turned off the Backup & sync setting, you will get two delete buttons as mentioned above.
Now when you click on the normal delete icon on Android, a pop-up window will tell you that the image will be deleted from all devices on Android. When you accept it, the photo will be deleted from your phone and Google account. Therefore, you also cannot view it from other apps in the gallery.
On iOS, by tapping the normal delete icon, the photo will be deleted from your phone, from your Google account and from iCloud.
However, if you choose Delete from device on Android, only the copy of the device will be deleted on Android. So you can't access it from other apps in the gallery. Since the cloud copy of Google Photos remains intact, it will continue to display on the Google Photos app.
On iOS, using the Delete from device option will delete it from your phone, which will delete the iCloud copy if it is enabled. Google’s copy will not be deleted.
How to know if the photo is saved or not
Look for the cloud symbol on the photo at the top to check whether the photo is saved to Google Photos or not. If it appears, the photo is not yet saved. If it does not appear, it means that the photo is saved in the cloud.
Case 2: when backup and synchronization are activated
When backup and synchronization are enabled, it means that all the photos available on your phone are stored in the cloud. So you will see the two removal options. The result is similar to case B mentioned above.
In other words, if you use the delete icon, it will be deleted from both your phone and your Google account. But if you choose Delete from device, only the copy from the device will be deleted. On iOS, in both cases, the iPhone and iCloud copy (if activated) is also deleted.
Special case: what happens to synced photos from other devices
As mentioned above, the Google Photos app automatically displays the synced photos on your phone whether or not backup and sync are enabled. These photos don't take up any storage space on your phone. You can save them to your phone using the Save to device option.
You only have one way to delete these photos. And that is by pressing the Delete button. When you do, the photos will be deleted from your Google Account and other connected devices. If you save them to your phone, you will get these two deletion options. And then the two cases above will come into action.
What happens when you delete photos from Google Photos on the web
Things are different when you delete photos from the web version of Google Photos. It depends on whether the photo is saved on your phone or not.
Case 1: Web copy
If the photos were added directly to the Google Photos website or were part of Google Photos on your old phone, deleting these photos will only delete them from your Google Account. Now, as mentioned before, everything that's already available in Google Photos appears on your phone, then deleting it from the web will prevent it from showing up on your phone (Android and iOS).
Case 2: Photos saved on your phone and in the cloud
On an Android phone, if a photo is saved on your phone and in Google Photos, the results of deleting it on the web vary depending on whether backup and synchronization are turned off or on.
If enabled, the photo will be deleted from your Google Account and your phone. This means that the cloud and copies of the device are deleted. If disabled, only the cloud copy is deleted. Photos are always available by phone. And if you enable backup and sync in the future, the photo will be published to the Google Photos cloud again.
On iOS, only the cloud copy of Google Photos is deleted. The phone copy remains in both cases. However, if backup and synchronization are disabled, you will not see these photos in the Google Photos app. But they can still be accessed via other gallery apps or the Apple Photos app.
Did you accidentally delete photos
If things go wrong or you accidentally delete certain photos, you can restore them from the Trash or Trash folder of Google Photos within 60 days of their deletion.
To access the recycle bin on mobile apps, open the Google Photos app and tap the three bar icon at the top. Select Trash. Choose the photos you want to recover, and then tap Restore.
On the Google Photos web, click the three bar icon in the upper left corner and select Bin.
Need a simple way
Google Photos combined with Apple Photos can drive anyone crazy. It is because their job is too complicated. I think even Google has lost the plot. Anyway, since things are constantly changing, we suggest to delete only a few photos at the start. Then check if the above things are true. If this is the case, you can go and delete others.
Mais je souhaite que Google présente un moyen simple de savoir ce qui se passe en supprimant des photos sur Google Photos.
Then: La suppression de photos ne semble-t-elle pas suffisante? Voulez-vous supprimer l'application Google Photos? Découvrez ce qui se passe en le faisant à partir du lien donné.