How to Delete Google Photos: A Simple Guide to Declutter Your Storage

Learn how to delete Google Photos efficiently! Master deleting, emptying trash, and safeguarding memories with our comprehensive guide.

Are you looking for How to Delete Google Photos? We all know how quickly our phones and computers can fill up with photos. Fortunately, Google Photos is a wonderful solution for keeping all those cherished memories safe. But as time goes on, you might find yourself needing to free up some space. Don’t worry, though – this guide is here to help!

We’ll walk you through the various methods for deleting photos from Google Photos, making it easy to tidy up your digital storage. Whether you want to remove individual photos or entire albums, we’ve got you covered. And don’t fret – we’ll explain each step clearly so you know exactly what you’re doing and any potential consequences.

So, if you’re ready to take charge of your Google Photos and reclaim some space, let’s dive in and get started!

Deletion in Google Photos

Before you start deleting photos in Google Photos, it’s important to know what happens when you press that “delete” button. Google Photos gives you two options: sending photos to the trash or permanently deleting them.

Trash vs. Permanent Deletion:

  1. Trash: When you delete a photo, it goes into the trash first. Think of it as a temporary storage area. This gives you a chance to change your mind and retrieve the photo if you need it. However, remember that photos in the trash still take up space in your Google account.
  2. Permanent Deletion: If you choose to permanently delete a photo from the trash, it’s gone forever. There’s no way to bring it back, so make sure you’re certain before you take this step.

Restoring Photos from Trash:

The good news is that you have a safety net! Deleted photos stay in the trash for 60 days, giving you time to recover them if necessary. Restoring photos from the trash is usually straightforward, although the exact steps may vary depending on your device. If you ever need to retrieve a deleted photo, you can find detailed instructions online or contact Google Photos support for assistance.

Deleting Individual Photos or Videos

Now that we’ve sorted out the different deletion methods, let’s tackle the task at hand – deleting individual photos or videos. Whether you’re on your desktop or using the mobile app, it’s a breeze:

Deleting on Desktop:

  1. Go to and sign in to your Google account.
  2. Find the photo or video you want to delete, either by browsing your library or using the search bar.
  3. Once you’ve located it, click on the photo to open it in full view.
  4. Look for the trash can icon in the top right corner.
  5. Clicking the trash can icon will bring up a confirmation message. Double-check your selection and then click “Move to trash.”

Deleting on Mobile App:

  1. Open the Google Photos app on your smartphone or tablet.
  2. Go to the “Library” tab at the bottom.
  3. Scroll through your library or use the search function to find the photo or video you want to delete.
  4. Tap and hold the photo to select it, or swipe up on the photo to reveal a menu.
  5. In the menu, find the “Move to trash” option.
  6. A confirmation pop-up will appear. Tap “Move to trash” to confirm.

Just remember, these methods only move the photos to trash, so they’re not permanently deleted yet.

Deleting Multiple Photos or Videos

Managing a large photo library often means cleaning out multiple photos at once. Google Photos makes this task easy on both desktop and mobile.

Selecting Multiple Photos:


  1. Click and Drag: Start by clicking on the first photo you want to delete. Then, hold down the Shift key and click on the last photo in your selection. This will choose all the photos in between.
  2. Ctrl+Click: Alternatively, hold down the Ctrl key (Command key on Mac) and click on each photo you want to delete. Mobile App:
  3. Tap and Hold: Tap and hold on the first photo you want to delete until a checkmark appears.
  4. Select Additional Photos: While still holding down, tap on each additional photo you want to include in your selection.

Deleting Selected Photos:

Once you’ve made your selections:


  1. Find the trash can icon in the top right corner of the screen with your chosen photos selected.
  2. Clicking this icon will move all selected photos to the trash. Mobile App:
  3. Tap the trash can icon at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Confirm the deletion by tapping “Move to trash” in the pop-up message.

Remember: These actions only move the photos to trash, not permanently delete them. They’ll still take up space until you empty the trash.

Deleting Photos from Albums

Google Photos lets you organize your pictures into albums for better organization and sharing. But remember, removing a photo from an album doesn’t delete the original. Here’s why:

Albums Reference Photos: Albums are like playlists for music. They organize existing photos in your library without duplicating them, saving space since a photo can belong to multiple albums.

Deleting from Album Doesn’t Affect Original: When you remove a photo from an album, only the reference in that album is removed. The original stays safe in your main library.

Removing Photos from Albums:

If you want to remove a photo from an album without deleting the original, follow these steps on both desktop and mobile:


  1. Open Google Photos on your computer and go to the album.
  2. Click the photo to open it.
  3. Look for the three vertical dots (…) in the top right corner and click.
  4. Choose “Remove from album” from the menu.

Mobile App:

  1. Open the Google Photos app and find the album.
  2. Tap the photo to open it.
  3. Swipe up to reveal a menu at the bottom.
  4. Tap “Remove from album.”

Remember: Removing photos from albums doesn’t delete them. For permanent deletion, follow the methods from the previous sections.

Emptying the Trash

Now that you’ve learned to delete photos and move them to the trash, let’s talk about permanently removing them. Here’s how to empty the trash on both desktop and the mobile app:

Freeing Up Storage: The trash acts as a temporary storage area, but the photos in it still occupy space in your Google account. Emptying the trash is essential to reclaim storage for new photos or files.

Permanently Deleting Photos: Emptying the trash is irreversible. Once confirmed, the photos are permanently deleted from Google Photos and cannot be recovered.

On Desktop & Mobile App:

  1. Go to the “Library” tab.
  2. Find the “Trash” option on the left sidebar (desktop) or bottom menu (mobile).
  3. You’ll see all photos in the trash.
  4. Click “Empty trash” in the top right (desktop) or bottom menu (mobile).
  5. Confirm the action, understanding it’s permanent.

Additional Considerations and Safeguards

A. Downloading Photos Before Deletion: Always download a backup before permanently deleting photos to avoid accidental loss.

B. Auto Backup Settings: Regularly review and adjust auto-backup settings to prevent unwanted clutter.


Now you’re ready to manage your Google Photos storage effectively! Utilize trash wisely and consider downloading backups for safety. With responsible photo management, you can free up space while keeping memories secure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Deleting Google Photos

Q: Will deleting a photo from an album delete it from Google Photos entirely?

A: No. Deleting a photo from an album only removes the reference to that photo within the album. The original photo remains safe in your main Google Photos library.

Q: How long do photos stay in trash before being permanently deleted?

A: Photos reside in your Google Photos trash for 60 days after deletion, giving you time to recover them if needed.

Q: Is there a way to recover photos after I empty the trash?

A: Unfortunately, once you empty the trash, the photos are permanently deleted from Google Photos and cannot be retrieved. Be confident in your decision before emptying the trash.

Q: What happens to the storage space occupied by photos in trash?

A: Photos in trash still count towards your Google account storage space. Emptying the trash frees up space for new photos or files.

Q: How can I download photos from Google Photos before deleting them?

A: Download individual photos or entire albums directly from Google Photos to save them to your device’s storage as a backup.

Q: How can I manage my auto-backup settings to avoid unwanted photos in Google Photos?

A: Regularly review and adjust auto-backup settings in the Google Photos app under “Settings” > “Backup & sync” to prevent unwanted clutter in your storage.

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