Google Photos is an incredibly useful app, especially if you’re learning to shoot on iPhone. Not only does it have some of the best organizational tools for your pictures and videos, but it also offers unlimited cloud storage for your entire photo library for free. But how can it be free? Does that mean it isn’t safe? Is Google going to use the pictures I upload? Keep reading for a deep dive into how private Google Photos really is and what steps you can take to help protect your privacy.
Is storing and sharing with Google Photos safe?
There’s an obvious concern any time you upload your pictures to a service on the internet, and you should exercise that same level of concern when you upload to Google Photos. Even though Google goes to great lengths to secure their services, there’s always a chance of vulnerability and the risk that someone could get access to your pictures and videos.
All this is to say that you should be cautious and use common sense with sensitive pics or videos before you upload them to Google Photos.
Are Google Photos private?
The simple answer is yes; by default, Google Photos is private. Everything you upload can only be seen by you. And thankfully, the only way to change one of your photos’ permissions is to log in to your account and share your photos with another user.
Can someone get access to my photos?
The only way someone can access your photos in Google Photos is if you choose to share them with that person. But keep in mind that when you share a picture with someone, Google Photos sends them a link. While it is unlikely that someone else will gain access to that link, if they do, they will also have access to your picture.
Can Google access my photos?
Yes, Google can and does access your photos. But that doesn’t mean that they’re going to use your pictures in ads for Google Photos or populate Google Image searches. According to some reports on the internet, what this access means is that Google can scan your photos for metadata to target you with advertising.
Protecting your privacy in Google Photos
Even though you might only be uploading personal pictures or family videos to Google Photos, there are some extra steps you can take to help ensure that your photo library stays private.
How to create a private album in Google Photos
The great thing about Google Photos is that by default, your entire photo library is private. Follow these steps to create an album that only you can see:
- On your iPhone, open the Google Photos app.
- Tap Album > New Album.
- Type a title for the album.
- Tap Select photos.
- Add the picture(s) or video(s) you want to that album.
- Tap Add.
You don’t need to worry about getting all of the pictures you want into that album right now. You can always add more at any time.
How to hide photos in Google Photos
While Google Photos doesn’t have a “hide” feature, you can archive pictures, which will move them from your main library into an archive. Follow these step to archive a picture on Google Photos:
- Select the photo(s) you want to archive.
- In the upper-right corner, tap the ellipses.
- Tap Archive.
How to create a shared album
In addition to creating private albums, Google Photos also lets you create shared albums with other users. In Google Photos, you can actually turn any album into a shared album:
- Open the album you want to share.
- Tap the ellipses in the top-right corner.
- Tap Options.
- Turn on Share Album.
After you turn on the option to share an album, you’ll be able to invite people and decide whether or not they can add their own pictures, like your pictures, or even leave comments.
Privacy tips for Google Photos
If you’re new to using Google Photos, all this might sound a little daunting, but as you use the app, there are a couple of privacy tips you can mind.
- Only share pictures with people you know.
- Check the Sharing settings on each album you create.
- Don’t upload pictures to Shared Albums from people you don’t know.
- Turn on Remove Geo-Location in Items Shared by Link.
- Turn off Google Location History in the Google Photos Settings.
- Occasionally check the Sharing settings on your account to keep things private.
Google Photos is a great service for your entire photo library. It’s easy to use and has some of the best tools for keeping your library organized. But like any other cloud service, you should be careful about what you sync and make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your pictures and videos safe. That said, hopefully this article gave you some things to think about and helped give you the information you need to use Google Photos securely and confidently.