Google Photos is a great cloud service with fair prices and tons of free storage. It is packed with features and is available on any platform and operating system. However, you cannot save all of your photos in their original quality without reaching a capacity limit.
Eventually, you have to pay if you want to continue adding photos to your Google Photos folder. This is if you don't want to compromise image quality. But, if you want to free up space and add new photos, you can always delete some or all of them.
Here's how you can do it on any device you own. This tutorial will also teach you how to restore deleted photos and what you can do to avoid losing deleted photos forever.
The process for deleting your Google Photos from a computer is the same whether you're using a PC, Mac, or Chromebook. You can do this on your browser, so the steps are the same for any operating system.
- Log in to the Google Photos website with your Google account credentials.
- Select the photos you want to delete.
- If you click the Check button above the photos, all the photos in the folder are selected.
- Click the trash can (Trash) icon to delete.
- Confirm by clicking Move to Trash.
Notes that if you do this and you have synced devices, the process also deletes photos from your other devices, not just your cloud storage. To avoid this, here is what you can do.
- View the Google Photos app on your iPhone or Android device.
- Go to the Photos settings then Backup and sync.
- Disable the Backup and sync option.
This setting will desync your devices and ensure that you can free up cloud storage without deleting anything on your phone or tablet. It also works the other way around.
If you want to delete individual photos, open the photo you want to delete and click the trash can icon in the upper right corner. This action sends the images to the Trash folder.
To avoid potential issues, we recommend using Google Chrome as your browser of choice when browsing your Google Photos and making changes.
Note for Chromebook users – Since 2022, Google Photos and Google Drive no longer sync. This means that you cannot access your Google Photos from the Google Drive shortcut on your Chromebook. Thus, you need to use the browser and go to photos.google.com to delete your photos.
Selecting all your photos for deletion takes some time on mobile devices, especially when you have a large library. Here is the method you can use.
- Launch Google Photos on your smartphone.
- Tap the menu icon (three dots in the top right).
- Click Select Photos.
- Tap the photos you want to delete.
- Tap Move to Trash to confirm deletion.
- For permanent deletion, return to the Menu then select Recycle Bin.
- Tap the Trash icon.
- Select the Empty Trash option to confirm.
Many iPhone users also use Google Photos, and the reason is simple. Compared to iCloud, Google Photos offers more free storage capacity. At the same time, upgrading is also cheaper with Google storage.
If you want to free up space in your Google Photos and you're using an iPhone, the following steps apply.
- Launch the app from your iPhone.
- Press the Free up space button located under the Trash folder. This will delete all your photos.
As an alternative, manually select all the photos in your folder. Then tap the trash can icon to delete the photos.
Although this frees up space, note that you can still restore your photos from the Trash folder.
iPhone users may face some challenges. For example, deleting photos from the Google Photos app may also delete them from your iCloud storage. However, you should receive a notification asking if you agree with the action.
Here are some additional answers to common Google Photos questions that PC and mobile users have.
If you are a PC user, you must be familiar with the Recycle Bin. When you delete something, it doesn't automatically disappear. Many files and photos end up in the trash. This system is advantageous because it allows you to free up storage space but also to recover your files later.
You can access the recycle bin and restore all or only some of your photos. But be careful because the 60 day grace period is not folder wide but per image based on individual deletion date and time.
Tap an image you want to recover, then tap the Restore button. You can also hit the delete button if you want to skip the counter and destroy the photo for good right away.
Deleted Google Photos end up in the Trash. However, you cannot leave them there indefinitely. There is a default grace period before you lose your photos forever.
Google Photos keeps deleted photos in the Trash for 60 days. After the 60 days, they disappear. Of course, each image has a recovery period of 60 days since you added it to the trash. It's best to check the new indicator system to see how much time you have left to recover each frame.
At the end of these 60 days, you can no longer recover these photos. This is especially true when you sync all your devices. If you don't sync your devices, deleting something on Google Photos won't cause you to lose the photo from the device you used to take the photos.
Unless you really mind losing image quality, chances are your Google Photos storage is running out. Sooner or later, you may have to face the fact that a storage upgrade is needed. But not everyone will want to spend on it, although Google offers reasonable prices.
The good news is that you can always delete some of your old photos or bad snaps. If needed, you can delete all your photos with just a few clicks. And even delete them permanently at your leisure.
Now that you know how to free up Google Photos storage, do you think the process could be simplified? Let us know if you find Google Photos beneficial or prefer other cloud storage options. Also let us know if you experience any unexpected issues with device syncing and disappearing photos.