Below you’ll find the instructions on how to get rid of all our photos in Google Photos on Mac, without having to delete your account or have to select images individually. The solution on Android is a bit simpler and I’ll add that too.
Have you checked to the memory status in the side menu of your Google Drive or the bottom of your Gmail? Does it look precariously high?
If it’s over 80%, you will soon (if you haven’t already) get a notice from Google urging you to upgrade the storage capacity (with all sorts of consequences if you don’t):
One of the applications that is most likely to absorb a lot of capacity is Google Photos. I foolishly allowed Google to sync my photos from my phone — even though I was perfectly content with Apple Photos — and very quickly I ran into trouble with my allowed capacity.
Then I decided I wanted to uninstall Google Photos. Only problem was, Google makes it super difficult to do. Talk about setting up hoops to jump through and screwing with the user experience. The nuclear solution is to delete the entire Google account but that’s reckless. The alternative is painfully difficult to find out about, and most of the answers you’ll find make the solution excessively tedious (like this YouTube video), where you basically need to select the photos individually and delete them singly (using the web browser). You see, Google Photos purposefully doesn’t allow for a SELECT ALL option. It would rather you bend to the inconvenience, just keep the photos and upgrade your storage capacity. They do provide you with a few tricks to identify a few big files. But that’s just a lightweight stopgap measure.
N.B. For the sake of good guidance, before proceeding, I am going to assume that you have your photos stored in a safe place elsewhere (i.e. Apple Photos, a backup hard drive or otherwise). Something else to verify is that you have unlinked your Google Photos. For this purpose, make sure to untether your Google Photos from your source so that you don’t delete from your preferred source (in my case iPhotos).
- (1) Go to Settings in your iPhone.
- Scroll down to the Google Photos app (settings)
- On the second option: Photos, click through and select NONE. I also make sure that it doesn’t connect to my contacts.
- (2) Go to the Google Photos app and click on the image in the circle on the top right and make sure to TURN OFF BACKUP.
- Then for assurance, close the Google Photos app (ie. press on it and swipe up!).
Deleting your Google Photos on Mac (and Windows)
So, here’s how you can free up space with your Google storage by selecting and deleting more easily all your photos…
Steps to select all Google photos on Windows and Mac:
- Go to Google photos on your browser (e.g. Chrome or Safari): https://photos.google.com/
- Click on the grey checkmark in the top-left corner as such (although if the images are not sorted by date, it will be a white check mark for a single photo)
- The checkmark will turn blue on the photos once you select it. In the selection above, this checkmark will highlight all the images from that particular date.
- Next, you scroll all the way down to the last photo and then, place the cursor on (don’t click) the image, press down the ‘SHIFT’ key. This will cause the proposed selection to be shaded. While holding down the SHIFT key, you then click on the last photo in the series. At this point, all the photos between the first and last will gain a blue check. If you have a huge number of images (as I do), I preferred to do this in large tranches. Essentially, I click on photos as I scroll down and make sure they are properly selected. [FYI Invariably the selection doesn’t actually stick, so I just delete the existing selection and continue on. If you’re methodical and/or you don’t have so many photos, it might all work in one go].
- In any event, you will see how many photos you’ve selected on the top left corner.
- Then click on the garbage can in the top right menu.
- Before executing the grand deletion, Google will pop up a warning (which is right):
FYI As I indicated above, you can select ‘all’ photos that are grouped by a particular date.
If you use an Android mobile device, it’s a tad easier:
- Go to Google Photos and select the first image
- Scroll down to the end to select other photos without lifting your finger
- Then delete.
The big message to Google is that by making this so difficult to do, you are showing your true colours. This really ought not to be so hard. All the Google Forums, where users were asking the same question ( ) were getting the run around from ‘official’ Google responses.