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Google Photos keeps collecting your pictures even after you delete the Android app

And here's how to stop it

If you dabbled with Google Photos when it was launched last month but decided it wasn't for you, make sure you also turn photo backup off in your Android phone's Google Settings menu, or else you'll continue uploading new pictures to the service. Nashville Business Journal writer David A. Arnott discovered the quirk when hundreds of family photos appeared on Google Photos, even when he'd deleted the pictures and uninstalled the app itself from his phone.

Rather than using its own settings menu to determine backups, Google Photos uses Android's centralized Google settings menu. If you choose to automatically upload new pictures to the cloud when installing the Google Photos app, those settings will live on even after the app is wiped from your phone. To turn it off, hit "Google Photo Backup" in your phone's menu and change the option.

Turn off photo backup in your phone's Google Settings menu

Arnott says he chose to pass on Google Photos because he was already sharing several Flickr accounts with his parents and didn't want them to have to learn new methods of accessing images, but others may choose to avoid it over questions of security. Google Photos uses supposedly "unguessable" public URLs for its images, a system that has scared some users, but one that Aravind Krishnaswamy, an engineering lead on Google Photos assures us is safe and actually "much harder to guess than your password." Still, discovering that a service you apparently rejected is somehow collating his most precious moments without his knowledge was a shock for Arnott, who writes that he rushed to his computer "in a semi-panic" to find pages of photos of his wife and daughter. Google, for its part, told him that the photo backup was "working as intended."