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Prior to recent phone dying, I had found out that Google's photo backup strangely (or at least sans a setting I was missing) MOVES files off your phone that they backup. Once I realised that I excluded all new folders created from this "backup". Of course when I get a phone replacement, and choose to recover the old phone's stuff, don't expect those to be there.

So that I don't end up in the same situation again with the next phone, with Google photos backup is there any way to retain a copy of everything backed up on the phone?

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This process usually only happens when the user uses the "Free Up Space" feature. It is likely that this process was run on your old phone. For example, this could have been initiated as simply as responding to a notification. You should avoid using this feature if you want to retain the photos on your phone. The feature exists so that less space is taken up by media on people's phones (whilst, the media are still accessible in the Google Photos app, as they are instantly downloaded via the internet when the user opens a photo or video).

If you really want to store your media on your phone, after it has been taken off, consider the following (other than tapping on photos individually). You could download the media on a computer, and transfer them to your phone via a USB cable.

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  • Evidently should have mentioned, I am not a user, but 20 years in IT. No notification was selected that elected this, nor using the Files app cleanup, and I scoured the settings looking for a way to turn the default move off. I see I didn't mention, but photos are not still accessible when in a dead zone of wifi or cell data, as I sometimes am when in need of some photos. Finally, how does taking photos off to a PC, then back onto phone, solve the backup-to-google-photos-by-copying (the ideal, given it is automatic) desire?
    – user66001
    Feb 14, 2023 at 15:34

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