I've been looking all over for a proper explanation of how to delete photos from the device (nexus 5) to reclaim some space, while being sure that the pictures are still in the Google+ backup. Unfortunatley i have not found one, other than "wild claims" it works somehow, while other say it does not. Plus deleting photos via the Pictures app actually warns you (now?) that it will delete the backed up copies too. Do i have to delete them in the Gallery app?

I did delete some photos recently, and i was quite sure they ware still backed up (still showed up on the Google+ website) but looking now i see they are in the trash in the device.

Is there really no way to be able to know for sure if the pictures are backed up savely while i can delete them from the device?

Alternatively i'm also open for alternative solutions to this problem, or i just go back to the "good old copy and paste when plugging the phone".


3 Answers 3


With the latest update to Google+ something changed in the Photos app. To ensure you are deleting the right pictures take the following steps:

Go into the Photos app Click on the top left corner for the side menu Scroll down to Folders and click on it

You will be presented with the different folders on your phone. Delete everything from there and check your storage again.

  • 2
    "Folders" is called "Device" on my phone, but the rest still seems to apply. Commented Sep 15, 2014 at 7:57

I'm not a big "Cloud fan" (au contraire, I'm avoiding it wherever possible), so my suggested approach is a little different – though it should work with the cloud as well:

For a comparable task, I'm using FolderSync. It supports a load of protocols (FTP, FTPS, SFTP, WebDAV, Samba/Windows Shares) and even Cloud services (OneDrive, Copy.com, Dropbox, Dump Truck, SugarSync, Bitcasa, Ubuntu One, Box.net, LiveDrive, HiDrive, Google Docs, NetDocuments, Amazon S3). You can define "folder pairs", i.e. one local folder and one corresponding remote folder) to be synchronized. You can have that synchronisation done manually, automatically based on a schedule, or have it triggered by .

Now for our "special case": you can define how the synchronisation shall be done:

  • local <-> remote: changes are synchronized both ways
  • local -> remote: only changes on your device are transfered to the remote, not the other way around
  • local <- remote: the opposite direction

FolderSync Pairs
Folder Pairs in FolderSync (source: Google Play; click image for larger variant)

Plus you can specify what shall be done when a file no longer exists "on the other side", e.g. leave it untouched in your case.

So with a one-way sync "local → remote" and "keep option", you should have a solution to your problem. Only thing missing might be the "immediate backup" whenever a picture has been taken – but if a "delay" seems "impractical", you still can approach that via Tasker.


Ok I think I cracked the problem. To perform one way backups from your android to the cloud:

  1. Go to settings->accounts
  2. Click on your gmail address(google account)
  3. Un-click everything you do not want synced (2 way- to cloud and back).
  4. Then Open the Photos app
  5. Touch the menu button or icon and select Settings.
  6. Touch Auto Backup and switch the toggle On.

There is a feature for backing up all photos now also.

Now you can delete photos from your phone after they are backed up, and they will not come back. The deleted photos will remain on google+.

This is working on my Samsung 5

  • This seemed to work for me, when combined with disabling Google photos sync described in the answer above. Thanks! Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 22:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .