How do you delete photos from Google Photos?

Seems a pretty easy question to ask. Should be a relatively easy question to answer. Wrong! It’s a minefield of complication and you can quite easily find yourself deleting images from places you don’t want them to be deleted from. In this article I’m not going to even attempt to enter the minefield but after this easy one …

How do you delete photos from Google Photos on the web but not from the Camera Roll on your iOS (iPhone/iPad) device …

Google Photos will only delete photos from your Camera Roll if you grant it permission to do so.  If you delete from https://photos.google.com/ and then go to your phone app you will have an assistant card asking for permission to “Remove it from this device”  If you dismiss the card the photo will remain in the Camera Roll.

… I’m just going to refer you to these three articles …

First the generic article that covers all eventualities and takes into account the place of  Backup and Sync in the process for the Android world

How to delete Photos from Google Photos but Not from Phone

note the important piece of text in this article …

“While keeping a file on Google Photos and deleting it from a device is easy, it’s not simple to do so the other way round. When you delete a synced photo from the Google Photos app, it gets wiped from your phone and the cloud storage.”

… so take care and read what follows in that article.

For the iOS (iPhone/iPad) world

How to Delete photos from iPhone but Not from Google Photos

… so heaven help you if you’ve got both Android and iOS devices; the process is not the same for both!

Lastly, and to fully understand what’s going on, it’s important to perhaps try to understand how Google Photos actually works. You can do this by reading this article …

What happens when you Delete photos from Google Photos.

… if that hasn’t made you feel suicidal, can I just wish you the best of luck. Perhaps buying a new phone, or taking out a Google One subscription is the only answer.

Could that be the reason why it’s so complicated to delete a Photo from Google Photos?

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You might also find these articles from Google useful. Firstly an introduction to Backup and Sync and how it works with photos and videos (hint, it doesn’t actually do any sync’ing) …

Back up photos and videos

… then, a guide to help you work out what size of image/video you might want to backup and sync (or upload) to Google Photos on the web …

Choose the upload size of your photos and videos

… you perhaps need to refer to this post to see why this might be important.

 

Changes to Google Storage

If you’ve got a Google account – you use Google Photos, Google Drive (and the Google Docs suite) or Gmail – you’ll probably have received an email telling you about the changes that Google are making to the way it calculates how much of the 15Gb of storage the company allocates to you has been used. They have also spelled out clearly when they will delete content that has been inactive for more than two years.

This post relies heavily (almost verbatim) on information already available on Google’s Help Pages – which should always be taken as the main source for information.

Currently each Google Account includes 15 GB of free storage quota, which is shared across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. You can add to your storage quota by purchasing a Google One membership (where available). To learn more about your quota, see what items count towards your storage.

Prior to June 1, 2001

The following items count against your storage quota

  • Original quality photos and videos backed up to Google Photos
  • Gmail messages and attachments, including your Spam and Trash folders
  • Most files in Google Drive, including PDFs, images, and videos

If you go over your storage quota

  • You can no longer upload new files or images to Google Drive
  • You can’t back up Original quality photos and videos to Google Photos
  • Your ability to send and receive email in Gmail may be impacted
  • You can still sign into and access your Google Account

After June 1, 2001

The following additional items will count against your storage quota:

  • High quality and Express quality photos and videos backed up to Google Photos after June 1, 2021. Learn more about this change.
  • Files created or edited in collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard.
    • Only files created or edited after June 1, 2021 will count against your quota.
    • Files uploaded or last edited before June 1, 2021 will not count against your quota.

And this is how your usage impacts your data

If you do not use Gmail, Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms or Jamboard) or Google Photos for 2 years, your content within the inactive product(s) may be deleted (after reasonable advance notice).

If you go over your storage quota

  • You can’t upload new files or images to Google Drive.
  • You can’t back up any photos and videos to Google Photos.
  • Your ability to send and receive email in Gmail can also be impacted.
  • You can’t create new files in collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard. And until you reduce your storage usage, neither you nor anyone else can edit or copy your affected files.
  • You can still sign into and access your Google Account.

When you have been over your storage quota for 2 years, your content in Gmail, Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files) and Google Photos may be deleted.

So it’s time to do a stock take of what Google Storage you’re using. You’ll see something like this if you’ve got an active Google account …

Seeing how you may be using your Google Storage, with June 1st approaching might seem pretty frightening to you, so you might need some help to know what you should do, and whether purchasing a Google One plan might be right for you …

What happens when you’re over quota

When you’re over quota, it means you’re using more storage space than you have available. If you’ve been over quota for 2 years or longer, and you have not freed up or purchased more space to get back under quota, all of your content may be removed from Gmail, Drive and Photos. But before that happens, we will:

  • Give you notice using email and notifications within the Google products. We will contact you at least three months before content is eligible for deletion.
  • Give you the opportunity to avoid deletion (by paying for additional storage or removing files)
  • Give you the opportunity to download your content from our services. Learn more about how to download your Google data.

How to go back under quota

We provide access to storage management tools that help you identify ways to free up storage space at https://one.google.com/storage. Another option to free up space is to download your files to your personal device and then delete them from your cloud storage.

However …

If you want more storage space for Gmail, Drive, and Photos, you can upgrade to a larger storage plan with Google One.  You can click on the link “Get more storage” from the page that you should have arrived at above, and you’ll be offered the opportunity of purchasing a Google One Storage Plan …

But what happens when you’re inactive?

When you have been inactive in Gmail, Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard or Sites files) or Google Photos for 2 years, all of your content may be removed from that product. But before that happens, we will:

  • Give you notice using email and notifications within the Google products. We will contact you at least three months before content is eligible for deletion.
  • Give you the opportunity to avoid deletion (by becoming active in the product)
  • Give you the opportunity to download your content from our services. Learn more about how to download your Google data.

If you’re a Google One member with no outstanding payment or quota issues, you are considered active.

Important: As an example, if you’re inactive for 2 years in Photos, but still active in Drive and Gmail, only your Google Photos content will be deleted. Content in Gmail and Google Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files) will not be deleted if you are active in those products.

How to stay active in these products

The simplest way to keep your data active is to periodically visit Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Drive (and/or collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard and Sites) on the web or through a Google app. Make sure you’re signed in and connected to the internet.

Please note that you may have multiple accounts set up on your device. Activity is considered by account, not by device. Make sure you’re using the services for all accounts on which you wish to remain active.

The article from Google concludes with some FAQ which you might like to refer to, including one answer on how to preserve content from a loved one if they pass away and the use of their Inactive Account Manager.

In another article, I will attempt to answer the vexed question of how to delete photos from Google Photos in your storage plan, your computer and your device the way that you want them to be deleted, ie not deleting them all, just deleting them from the place you want them deleted!!!!

Lastly, here’s a link to how to delete files (and reduce the count against your quota) from Google Drive.

The new WhatsApp Terms and Conditions of Use

Let’s start with this passage from the article in The Register referred to below where the founder of WhatsApp talks about his reasons for creating WhatsApp …

“When WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014, it promised netizens that its instant-messaging app would not collect names, addresses, internet searches, or location data. CEO Jan Koum wrote in a blog postAbove all else, I want to make sure you understand how deeply I value the principle of private communication. For me, this is very personal. I was born in Ukraine, and grew up in the USSR during the 1980s

One of my strongest memories from that time is a phrase I’d frequently hear when my mother was talking on the phone: ‘This is not a phone conversation; I’ll tell you in person.’ The fact that we couldn’t speak freely without the fear that our communications would be monitored by KGB is in part why we moved to the United States when I was a teenager.

Two years later, however, that vow was eroded by, well, capitalism, and WhatsApp revealed it would be “coordinating more with Facebook,” and gave people the opportunity to opt out of any data sharing. This time around, there is no opt-out for the sharing of data with Facebook and its tentacles. Koum left in 2018.”

So this all started 4 years ago, when WhatsApp announced a change to their Terms and Conditions (Ts&Cs) – the first change in many years, and the first since being taken over by Facebook. It was possible to opt out of this change which was announced as only to “improve the experience of Facebook users” (that’s kind of them – do I believe that?).

I don’t know whether I chose to opt out, I suspect I did, but I have no way of knowing!!! Whatever … I only had 30-days to opt out then, and I can’t go back and opt-out now.

I was alerted to the current impending change on February 8th, which is a take it, or leave it choice by this article in a well respected techie (UK-based) blog – The Register. It’s subsequently been updated, and may be updated again I suspect as more information is squeezed out of Facebook.

Before Christmas in a meeting of the Cardiff U3A Computer Group, I referred to the repatriation of UK-data to the US as a consequence of Brexit. So far Facebook and Google (and there could be more) have announced their attention to do just that, and others will undoubtedly follow. Free from Europe, our government has said we will follow GDPR (it had very little option), but the US tech companies see the wisdom of not having a European base for their (our) data and are hopeful of less stringent Federal privacy restrictions under a new Democratic Party controlled Senate committed to introducing legislation.

Once out of the European protection, we in Britain could in the course of time, and after the repatriation of Facebook data to California (read the article above), be deemed not to be part of the European area and so the protection offered by WhatsApp/Facebook suggested in this article in “The i“, would cease to apply. So the short-term acceptance of these Ts&Cs thinking they don’t apply to us, might be scuppered should the data-hosting move to the US.

No certainties, just doubts and that’s where mistrust comes in.

As of today, I’m at a loss to know what to advise or do. I’m hopeful of further clarification in the days to come, but I’ll leave acceptance of the new Ts&Cs to the last few days before February 8th.

Your comments and thoughts most welcome.

Why do I dislike Facebook (Fb)?

I was challenged with this question last Thursday when I told my family about the intended changes to the WhatsApp Terms and Conditions of Use. I didn’t reply to my IT-savvy son until this morning when I was first asked to agree to these new Ts&Cs. This is what I wrote …

“It starts with trust, and then you work away from that. It’s what a company does with information and whether you can then trust them to handle it properly. Google+ was a closed system that you opened up; Fb is an open system that even though it has Privacy Controls – which you need a degree to work out how to set them – essentially allows them to do anything with what appears on their platform.

You take a photo – you don’t retain copyright, you assign that right to them when you publish to the platform. You can’t opt out of adverts (understandably – that’s how they make there money) – you are conned into thinking that in allowing them, you will get a better experience.

For whom? For you – no, they’re just an annoyance to me, but for others they just drive people to buy stuff they might not want/need. For them – yes, that’s how they drive income and more.

So it’s the more that’s more interesting and insidious because what they do with that information leads to targeting people with posts, hence my reference to Brexit and Trump. [I had said in my brief first reply – Cambridge Analytica, Brext and Trump.] The algorithms behind the scenes work the data and susceptible people get targeted with posts as well, not just adverts. I could go on, but as I said – it’s all about Trust, and Fb as a company is one that I just don’t trust.

Getting data from WhatsApp was something they committed at take-over they wouldn’t do. Now they are starting to do just that. Next step targeted adverts on a platform which is advert free; then “posts from others you might be interested in” – not the encrypted ones, but ones from Public Figures. Then “oh! dear” we have to drop encryption because of new privacy laws in the US. [Aside: is it a coincidence that Google, Twitter and Fb appear to be more privacy focussed since the Republicans lost control of the Senate and they just might want to be on the right side of the argument that’s going to come in the US in the next four years ].

So I always logout of Fb to stop them tracking me; I suspect that WhatsApp will have a mechanism that prevents a user from being disconnected so Fb with these new Ts&Cs will be tracking as well as getting the other personal info from users.

Please feel free to comment either on the post.