Drive & Photos Syncing Is Too Confusing So Google Is Ending It

Google Photos AH NS 03

Google is making some changes to how photos and images are stored, accessed and deleted through Google Drive and Google Photos.

The company announced a number of changes today with the sum of them being a reduction in the way the two services sync with each other.

In other words, photos and images that are added to Google Photos will no longer also automatically upload to Google Drive. The opposite is equally as true.


This decoupling of the two services also applies to photo deletion in the same way. Therefore, when deleting a photo or image from Google Photos, users will now also have to manually delete the same photos and images from Drive, and vice versa.

It should also be noted that these changes are only applicable to photos and images stored in the future, as any that were shared between the two services will continue to remain accessible through both services – there’s no need for users to do anything to ensure photos and images already stored on both services remain available through both.

Similarly, Google says none of these changes will affect the current functionality of “Backup and Sync” for Windows and macOS users.


Google did not specifically state on what date the changes will take affect, but did say it will happen at some point in July.

This marks a fairly significant change from Google’s usual approach of looking to improve the synchronization between services and products, but seems to be one that the company felt was necessary.

For example, Google says it is making these changes to lessen the confusion around how photos and images are stored and accessed through the two services. Google says it determined this was “confusing” based on feedback from users and therefore is likely to be a welcomed change by those users.


Of course, this is unlikely to be an equally popular change for all users as it does in principle require users to upload all photos and images twice going forward. For those who prefer the automatic syncing between Drive and Photos, Google says it does have a solution for you to make the process a little easier once the changes take affect.

In conjunction with the changes Google is also introducing a new feature called “Upload from Drive.”

This feature works exactly as the name suggests by offering users the option to manually choose which photos and images are copied over to Photos from Drive. It is worth additionally noting that this is strictly a copying feature as any photos or images uploaded from Drive will immediately abide by the new no-sync rule.


For now, Upload from Drive has only been confirmed to be available through the web version of Photos

Regardless of whether you are in favor of the changes, all users will equally benefit from the reassurance that if you do delete a photo or image from one service, it is not deleted from the other.

This follows on from the Google Photos news last week that the Android app is the latest Google product to get the dark theme treatment.