Google recently released the Google Photos application, taking over from the old Google+ photo backup facility into a self contained application. Some of the advantages of the Google Photos application and service are that it’s easy to take photographs on one Android device and view them on another. This is perfect for those users with an Android smartphone and tablet; providing both are connected to the Internet, you can take an image on the smartphone and then view it inside seconds on the tablet. Furthermore, Google provide unlimited storage for photographs and videos (of up to 1080p quality) providing you use their high quality setting, otherwise each photograph uses some of your Google Drive allowance. However, Google Photos is not the only photo backup service available and it is not for everybody. One might reasonably expect that uninstalling the Google Photos application is enough to stop the device from uploading the images… but it does not.
This quirk was discovered by David Arnott, one of the editors at the Nashville Business Journal. David tried Google Photos, decided that it wasn’t for him and uninstalled it – only to discover a few days later that photographs were still being uploaded from the device into the service. It turns out that the Google Photo Backup setting is located in the Google Settings application on your Android smartphone or tablet, shown here. This setting is persistent even when the application is removed from the device and users must disable the Photograph uploading from here as well as uninstalling the application. It is logical enough given that Google Photos interconnects with Google Play Services on the device, although for other applicatons, when you remove the original application it will also remove the settings from the device. The lesson to be learned here is that if you no longer want your photographs and video uploading into the Google Photos service, you do need to disable the sync option from either the Google Photos application or from the Google Settings screen.
For this Google Settings icon, this appeared in 2013 and is connected with Google Play Services. It’s in here that you can determine how to manage your Google account and of course how your photographs are uploaded. Options include sending the data via either the mobile or cellular data network or via WiFi, with seperate controls for videos. You can also restrict uploading when the device is on charge, which is a great feature if you have a relatively slow WiFi network and do not wish to run down your smartphone battery with it uploading pictures on battery power.