+Jaana Nystrom

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Google+ is my passion: I want to help others to get the most out of it.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Delete and download photos from Google Photos

The new Google Photos is a great way to keep your precious images safe and free up space on your mobile device or computer. I created this tutorial based on the questions from the Google Photos Help Forum and Google+ Help Community.

You'll learn how to:
  • Delete / download photos from the cloud or the back up
  • Delete / download photos from albums
  • Delete / download albums
  • Delete / download device copy from Android Camera folder
  • Delete / restore photos from Trash
  • Empty the Trash
  • Get useful tips and links

- Screenshots from Chrome desktop and Android 2013 Nexus 5, Lollipop 1.3.0

When you play around the Google Photos, you’ll see that in many places you can manage the photos you have uploaded: Either copy them to albums, delete or download them.

A word of warning!

I took a photo with my Android Nexus 5. I then went to see it in Google Photos app. I tapped the photo and tapped the trash / bin: It also disappeared from Device folders (Camera)!  So deleting a photo from the main Photos stream will delete it everywhere.

Tapping the 3-dot menu allows me to only delete the device copy from the Camera, but the safest place is to go to Device folder and delete it from there.

If you wish to delete only the cloud version of a photo, but preserve the photo in the device:
Sign out of the Photos app, delete the online copy and sign back in the Photos app.

Take a pic and test it yourself!

Delete on a desktop from the Back up & sync:

Go to https://photos.google.com/ or click on the Googlegrid top right next to your name (signed in to Google) and choose the Photos icon

To move a photo to trash you need to delete images from the Google Photos main tab where all the backed up images live.

The deleted photos will remain in the trash across all your devices until 60 days have passed or you empty the trash: After that they are irretrievable.

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Deleting many photos:
Click on a photo where you wish to start. Then hold shift, move your mouse downwards and click when you get to where you want to be.

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The screen does not scroll down automatically so to add more photos you wish to remove, you have to stop, click, scroll down, press Shift again and repeat.  You can see how many photos you have chosen from the counter on top.

Alternately you can use the Day check mark:
Hover your mouse over the Today and there appears a check box next to it. Click on that and you get all the photos chosen for you. Then scroll down to Yesterday, then the next day etc:

Changing zoom to e.g. 50% shows you more photos at once. Less scrolling.

On Android:

Go to Google Photos main tab. (The red dot means I have a notification from the Assistant)

Tap on the photo you wish to remove or long press if you wish to choose several. You can also tap one and then swipe for more.
- or long press the "Today", Yesterday and other dates as seen in the screenshot below, it selects each date's all photos. 
Then tap on the trash can icon to delete the photos and move them to trash.


Note for both Android and desktop:

There is a limit of 500 photos that can be chosen for downloading at once, so if you have more, you must download in batches.
I’ve noticed that the downloading works best with max 300-400 photos selected at one time.  There is a counter on top right that shows you how many photos you have selected.

There is no limit for deletion selection.

Delete photos only in albums or whole albums:

When you delete pics from albums, those are just removed from THAT album and not deleted from your Backup & sync (or the main “Photos” tab) on Google Photos. The pics are not deleted from your device either.  Read on!

All albums are copies, even when you upload photos and immediately create an album or place them in an existing album, those are all copies.  The backed up images are still safe even if you delete an album by mistake.  That is what the Backup & sync is for: Not to organise your photos but to keep them secure in the cloud!  The search helps you find your photos when you need them.

Removing individual images from an album

Go to Collections from the left main menu.

Click / tap on the drop down arrow next to the “Collections”, choose Albums.

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Choose the album.
When you are browsing through the photos you can remove individual photos by tapping on the 3-dot menu top right and choosing “Remove from album”.

Desktop: Choose the images you wish to remove and click on the 3-dot menu top right. Choose “Remove from album”.

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This way only the copies of your backed up photos are removed, not the originals.

Removing several images from an album or deleting the album: Same process goes for downloading photos.


Open the album.
Click on the photos you wish to remove. Again you can use the click-Shift-move mouse-click if you wish to remove more photos, instead of clicking the individual images one by one.

Then click on the menu top right and choose “Remove from album”.
You can also download photos to your computer this same way by choosing “Download”.  A zip file will be created.

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Delete or download the whole album:

Click on the 3-dot menu and choose “Delete album”.  Only the copies housed in the album are deleted, the original backup photos remain in your Google Photos library.

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Remove photos from albums on Android:

Open the album, tap the 3-dot menu.
Choose the photos you wish to remove from the album by tapping “Select”. Then remove those from album by tapping the trash can icon.  Here you can also share photos or create a new album by tapping the + icon.

In the same menu you can also choose to delete the whole album without deleting the Backup photos.


Delete device copy on Android:

If you wish to free more space on your mobile you can delete the photos from your device but leave the backup images in the cloud.

Go to the left menu and choose “Device folders”, then tap on “Camera”
Tap the top right menu and choose “Select”


Now see that the Back up & sync is unchecked.
Tap on the photos you wish to delete.
Tap on the menu top right and choose “Delete device copy”.
The photos are safe in your Google Photos Back up & sync!


Delete one image:
Tap on the 3-dot menu and choose “Delete device copy” when browsing through the photos.


Trash and how to retrieve photos from Trash

The deleted images will stay in the trash, synced across all your devices, for 60 days and then will be irretrievably lost.

Tap on the top right menu and you can restore images one by one...


… Or you can tap on the menu and choose select, then choose the pics you wish to restore. Or long press a photo and then select several.

The arrow you see on the blue background below restores your photos to your device, the trash can deletes them permanently from the trash.

Empty trash:
This frees up space on your device. You can’t cancel this and the photos are permanently deleted.

Clutching at straws?
How to recover photos on your SD card after deletion:


Download all your pictures from Google+ or Google Photos or Google Drive

Use Google Takeout for all:  You may lose Exif data, mind.

- Click "Select none" then scroll down to "Google photos"
- click on the grey arrow next to "All photo albums"
- choose either "Include all photo albums" or "Select photo albums"
- click into the box (a green check mark will appear)
- At the bottom of the page, click "Next"
- Choose how you want to get the data ("File type" and "Delivery method"), then click "Create archive"

Selecting albums you can choose which ones to download.

"Download your data" FAQ

Get started with Google Photos 

Watch what you can do:

Learn how to use Google Photos with this step-by-step guide. Some things you'll learn are:
- How to search your photos
- How to add filters
- How to restore deleted photos

Learn the basics for Google Photos:

Browse the Google Photos Help Center:

Follow the Google Photos on Google+ and get updates:

File transfer instructions from Android to computer:

Are you missing photos?

Did you delete from Google Photos backup and empty the trash?

If you are missing photos then check the following:

1. Can you see them via Picasa? https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/myphotos
2. Are they in the trash: https://photos.google.com/trash
3. If you have an Android device, go to the Device Folders menu and ensure each folder has a blue cloud icon next to it.
4. Check the Assistant for the status of your backups

What's most important: Are you signed in to the correct account?

I hope this helps! Cheers, Jaana

1 comment:

  1. I am trying to learn how to transfer photo from google photos to gravatar.com!


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