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I was running out of storage space on my phone, mainly due to photos, so I decided to sync all my pictures and "home movies" to Google+ and then delete all the photos/movies from my phone (deleting using the "On Device" option in the Photos app main menu) to recoup space.

This process didn't require much manual labor, but it did take a very long time. Unfortunately, the result was unsatisfactory because my phone is still nearly full. Now, when I look at how my device storage is being consumed, I see almost nothing under "Pictures, videos," but instead Google+ (which is now full of photos) is using up all my phone storage space.

So, in essence (and I believe I read this somewhere but can't find the link right now), it appears that Google+ is still keeping a copy of the photos on my phone, as part of the Google+ app. This doesn't do me much good in terms of clearing space on my phone. My intention with syncing to Google+ was to remove the photos completely from my mobile device.

My questions are

  1. Is it possible to sync photos from my phone to Google+, delete "On Device" photos through the Photos app, and have those photos completely off my phone?

  2. If I move all photos from my phone to my laptop and sync from my laptop, will the Google+ app still fill up my phone? (I ask this rather than try this because there are no more photos in the Photo app on my phone and trying to recreate the sync scenario would take even more time than it took me the first time.)

  3. Is there another alternative that I am not considering? My qualifications here would be that the service would have to offer similar appealing features to Google+. Namely, unlimited (or a very large amount) of photo storage, web-viewable photo pages, and the ability to share photos with exactly whom you want to share with.

  • Regarding (3), there are thousands of backup services that are not Google+. – Matthew Read May 17 '15 at 6:40
  • Although I am most interested in the answers to #1 and #2, I have added a qualification to #3 to reduce the thousands of alternatives to hopefully only a choice few. – pjd May 17 '15 at 13:09
  • The photos G+ has on the device are just cached for improved performance. Clear the G+ apps data and if you open the gallery G+ will get new thumbnails to show. – abraham May 17 '15 at 13:11
  • Thanks for this information, @abraham. I will see if I can try this in a controlled manner because of the scary warning message you get if you try to clear an app's data. I.e., hopefully I won't lose my photos. I will report back if this works. – pjd May 17 '15 at 13:14
  • Photos backed up to plus.google.com/photos will not be effected by clearing the apps data. – abraham May 17 '15 at 13:22

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