How To Delete Google Photos: Your Ultimate Guide

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Because Google has so many services that all sync together, sometimes when people stop using one service, such as the now-defunct Google+, they do not realize they are still syncing other parts of their life to their Google accounts.

Sometimes, they even forget they synced things like photos from their phone or social media to the search engine in the first place. Then, when they realize, they know they need to learn how to delete Google Photos so that there is no syncing online anymore.

What Are Google Photos?

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Google Photos is a cloud-storage service from Google that enables users to upload photos and videos from their phones and other devices to a cloud for storage. The service provides unlimited, free storage for photos as large as 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution.

When you upload images or videos to Google Photos either automatically via syncing or manually, they remain in the cloud indefinitely and you can find them as long as you have the Google Photos account active. This is one big reason that users realize they need to know how to delete Google Photos: they do not want to have their Google accounts active anymore.

Google Photos as a Service

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The term “Google Photos” technically refers to the service Google provides users who upload their photos and videos to the storage service. The service not only stores the images and videos, however. Google’s machine-learning technology creates a number of interesting options for your photos, including:

  • ISyncing them to help you search via people, places, or things
  • Recognizing faces and grouping “stories” together based on people in the photos
  • Noting geographic landmarks and grouping accordingly
  • Categorizing your photos by subject matter after you upload them

Google used to use Google Photos as part of Google+. When it ended that service, the Google Photos service was updated to offer some features that previously had been part of Google’s social media platform. These updates included:

  • Reminders about uploading photos
  • Reminders for photos you might want to share
  • Sharing photo libraries between users
  • Creation of physical albums created by Google Photos

The service also automatically creates short videos using facial recognition. These albums may feature thematic elements, such as years’ worth of visits to the same place, or they may feature photos taken around the same time in different locations.

Google Photos Are Your Photos

One of the biggest reasons people cite for wanting to know how to delete Google Photos is concerns that their private photos might become public. That is a common concern, since Google has been criticized for its close relationships with government entities in the past.

However, at present, about 1.2 billion photos are uploaded to the service daily. The photos are not public unless you choose to make them that way. They do not appear in Google images, for example, unless you make the image public in some other venue or unless you make it public in Google Photos.

Why Do People Delete Google Photos?

Google Photos may have 1.2 billion photos uploaded daily, but a lot of people uploading those images do not realize they are doing so. In fact, lack of awareness about automatic syncing is one of the main reasons Google Photos users say they want to know how to delete Google Photos. Other reasons include:

  • Concerns about privacy Issues sharing with other users
  • Too many reminders to share
  • Concerns about storage security
  • Dislike of the automated categorizing and animation features
  • Concerns about facial recognition algorithms
  • Concerns related to the previously linked Google+ function

Too Good to Be True

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A lot of people have concerns about Google, but interestingly, one of the biggest concerns that emerges when users discuss why they want to know how to delete Google Photos is that the service functions too well. For example, when you search a location in the program, you will soon find hundreds or even thousands of pictures that others have taken in that location. You can use it to identify spots you would like to visit or to share images with others in your network.

In fact, one social media analyst described Google Photos as a great way to get the benefits of social media without having to sign up for another social media platform. Unfortunately, that made people start to wonder how to delete Google Photos as well, since the reason that analyst liked the service so much was that so many personal photos were visible.

Google Can Be Unpredictable

Another reason people cite for wanting to know how to delete Google Photos is that many believe Google is unpredictable when it comes to canceling services. This may not be entirely fair since the search engine provides a fair amount of notice. However, it still is a reason that some users decide they need to learn how to delete Google Photos.

How to Delete Google Photos

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If you have decided the time has come to learn how to delete Google Photos, you will first need to decide if you want to delete your entire account or you just need to know how to delete a few images. Knowing how to delete Google Photos in its entirety is very different and will mean that your images are no longer stored in the system. Before you implement the knowledge you gained researching how to delete Google Photos, make sure you have moved all the images to another secure storage space.

How to Delete Google Photos Accounts

To completely delete Google Photos accounts, you will need to remove the app from your phone and then delete the account as well. You do not have to delete your entire Google account to delete your Google Photos account.

First, open the Google Photos app on your smart phone. Then tap “photos” in the app. Select all the images and move them to the trash. Then, tap “Trash” and empty the trash. You have now deleted all the photos and can uninstall the app from your phone.

Next, you will need to open your Google Photos account online. At this point, the account should be empty of photos. Open your Google Photos account on your computer or tablet in a browser and go to “accounts.” Select the account, “Photos,” that you want to remove, then select “remove account.” You will probably have to reenter your password and confirm you want to delete the account. Once you have done so, your Google Photos account will no longer exist.

How to Delete Google Photos Individually

If you just have photos that you do not like in your Google Photos account that you would like to delete, you do not need to get rid of your Google Photos account. Just open the account, select the images you do not like, and move them to the trash. Then, empty the trash, and you will have deleted those individual photos.

Some people decide to “start over” with Google Photos accounts after the end of a relationship, for example, because they want to delete all images from a specific period of time or that they shared with a specific person. If your photos are in albums or otherwise categorized in some way, this process will be easier for you because it will make the images in question easier to locate.

However, because Google Photos categorizes photos chronologically upon request, you should still be able to locate large volumes of the images at once. This may be a better option than just unilaterally deleting everything in your Google Photos Account.

Stop Google Photos From Syncing

Another option that stops short of deleting all the images in your Google Photos account but that limits future additions of images to the account is to stop syncing from your phone and other devices. To accomplish this goal, simply open the app on your phone or open the account on your tablet or computer.

Then, select “settings” from the menu. Usually, this option will look like a gear or a cog. You will see the options “Backup and Sync” at the top of the settings list. Select this option, then disable it. Depending on what type of machine you are using, you may need to select “stop syncing” or it may be a simple slide or button that controls this setting.

Once you have disabled syncing, your images will no longer load into Google Photos. You will need to do this for every device that is currently synced.

You Can Control Privacy for Your Photos

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Remember that you do not have to delete your Google Photos account completely to make pictures private or delete individual images you do not like. Use your app’s privacy settings to determine what you are willing to share. Also, make sure that you have backed up your Google Photos somewhere else before deleting the account completely or you will not be able to get your images and videos back.