Save Space on Your Android Device Using Google Photos to Backup Images

Edited by Jay, Alma

Most, if not all Android-powered devices can take a high-quality photo or video. That being said, there is a price to pay when you're in the habit of snapping up pictures like your device has unlimited storage. That price, of course, is having to constantly dump photos on your device to make space for new ones. Either you're plugging your phone into your computer often, or you end up with an unhealthy collection of USB drives. Both scenarios can become tedious and even annoying. Fortunately, with the help of Google Photos, we can now backup an unlimited number of video and photos any time we're connected to the internet. For the purpose of this article, we used a Samsung Galaxy S4 to illustrate the process.

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Installing Google Photos app

  1. 1
    If your device didn't come with Google Photos pre-installed, access the Play Store.
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  2. 2
    Inside the Play Store search for "photos", then tap the first result.
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  3. 3
    On the Google Photos app page, tap the green "INSTALL" button.
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  4. 4
    Google Photos will request access to the following options on your device, tap "ACCEPT".
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  5. 5
    Once the app has installed, tap the green "OPEN" button.
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  6. 6
    The next screen is where you select which Google account to use with Photos
    .
    Choose your account, then tap "Done".
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Backing up photos and video on Google Cloud

  1. 1
    Open Google Photos
    .
    In the upper left corner tap the menu icon, then tap "Settings".
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  2. 2
    On the settings screen, tap "Backup & sync".
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  3. 3
    Once inside backup & sync, review the settings below then tap the switch on
    .
    If you're prompted to choose a Google account, tap the account you prefer to backup with.  
    1. Tap "Backup device folders" to select the folders you wish to be uploaded to your Google cloud storage. By default, only the photos stored in camera folder, are backed up.
    2. "Upload size" should be High quality (free unlimited storage).
    3. "Cellular data backup" allows you to backup and sync both video and photos, while using your device's data plan. Be careful here, uploading a lot of video and image files can eat up your monthly data very quickly.
    4. "When to back up" gives you the option to only back up while the device is charging or roaming.
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  4. 4
    On the "Assistant" screen, you can see the backup in progress
    .
    This can take up to a day, depending on your connection and how many photo/video files you've selected to backup.  
    1. If at any time you notice the backup progress stalling, check your internet connection and close and restart Google Photos.
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  5. 5
    Once the backup has finished, you'll see, Backup complete.
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Save space by deleting photos (automatic)

Before deleting photos or videos from your device, double check that they in fact uploaded to your cloud storage.

  1. 1
    Open Google Photos and tap "Albums"
    .
    Any folder that has a cloud with a line through it is NOT backed up.
     
    1. You can check to see exactly which photos were uploaded to Google cloud by visiting your Google dashboard. Scroll down to your photo stats to see exactly how many photos you've backed up in addition to their privacy status.
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  • 2
    Inside Google Photos, tap the menu icon in the upper left corner, then tap "Free up space".
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  • 3
    The app will now scan your device for video and photos that are backed up.
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  • 4
    Once the scan is complete, a message box will pop up with how many items can be deleted from your device
    .
    If you are satisfied, tap "REMOVE".
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  • Save space by deleting photos (manually)

    1. 1
      On the "Photos" screen, tap and hold any image until a checkmark appears, and select the photos you want to delete.
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    2. 2
      Tap the three dot menu in the upper right, then tap "Delete device copy".
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    Tips, Tricks and Warnings

    • Always double check that your image and video files are backed up before deleting them from your device.
    • If you have multiple folders for storing your images, add them to backup and sync.

    If you take video and photos on a regular basis, the Google Photos app is an efficient way to ensure your device always has available storage. Be sure to leave backup & sync on and to choose the high quality (unlimited storage) option during setup.

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    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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    Article Info

    Categories : General Android Mobiles & Tablets

    Recent edits by: Jay

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