How do I remove auto backup photos from gallery?

Having too many photos cluttering up your phone’s gallery can be annoying. Especially when a lot of those photos are from auto backups that you didn’t ask for. Thankfully, it’s easy to remove auto backup photos from your gallery and free up storage space.

What are auto backup photos?

Auto backup photos are images that are automatically saved to your device’s gallery by apps and services. Some common sources of auto backup photos include:

  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp automatically saves all photos and videos sent and received within the app to your phone’s gallery.
  • Facebook: The Facebook app can be set to auto-save photos and videos posted in the app to your camera roll.
  • Instagram: By default, any photos or videos you take within the Instagram app get added to your camera roll.
  • iCloud/Google Photos: If you have iCloud Photo Library or Google Photos backup enabled, any photos taken on your phone or saved from apps get copied to your cloud storage and local gallery.

While backups can be useful in case you lose your phone, all those duplicate shots end up cluttering your photo gallery and taking up valuable storage space on your device.

Should I delete auto backup photos from my gallery?

Generally, it’s safe to remove auto backup photos from your phone’s gallery as long as the originals are backed up somewhere else, like in the app they came from or your cloud storage. Here are some things to consider:

  • Storage space: Deleting auto backups can free up a lot of storage on your phone.
  • Clutter: Your gallery will be much cleaner and organized without all the duplicates.
  • App functionality: Some apps may need access to your gallery to work properly. Check first before deleting all photos from an app.
  • Cloud backups: As long as the photos exist in the cloud or their original app, deleting gallery copies usually isn’t a risk.
  • Sentimental value: If you have edited or personalized certain auto-saved photos, you may want to keep them.

Overall, if you’re running low on space or find your gallery too cluttered, removing backed up photos can be beneficial. Just be sure your photos are actually being saved somewhere else first.

How to stop auto backup to gallery

If you don’t want an app or service to keep bombarding your gallery with photo backups, you can disable auto-saving:


  • Open WhatsApp Settings > Chats > Media auto-download > turn off.


  • Open Facebook app > tap the three-line Menu > Settings & privacy > Media and contacts > turn off “Save Photos”.


  • Open Instagram Settings > toggle off “Save Original Photos”.

iCloud Photos

  • Open iPhone Settings > [your name] > iCloud > turn off Photos.

Google Photos

  • Open Google Photos > tap your profile icon > Photos settings > toggle off back up & sync.

Disabling auto-save prevents any more unwanted backups. But it doesn’t remove the existing photos already in your gallery. To clean those up, keep reading!

Delete auto backup photos from your iPhone gallery

Here are the easiest ways to delete auto backup photos from your iPhone’s gallery so you can free up storage space:

1. Delete from the Photos app

The Photos app has built-in management tools that can identify and remove unwanted backups:

  1. Open the Photos app and tap the Albums tab.
  2. Scroll down and tap the Albums section to see special auto-generated albums.
  3. Look for any albums like “WhatsApp”, “Facebook”, “Instagram” etc. Tap to open them.
  4. Select unwanted photos/videos > Delete.

This lets you delete backups while keeping your own photos and videos intact.

2. Offload unused apps

You can also use your iPhone’s built-in Offload Unused Apps feature to remove auto backups:

  1. Go to iPhone Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
  2. Wait for it to scan your storage.
  3. Tap any app and select “Offload App” to uninstall it and all its data.

When you reinstall the app later, your shots should not be restored.

3. Clear an app’s gallery access

Another option is to manually remove an app’s access to your photos:

  1. Go to iPhone Settings > [App Name] > Photos.
  2. Tap “Disable Access to Photos” to cut off access.
  3. Return to Settings > Photos and delete any backups saved there.

Do this for each app adding unwanted photos to your gallery.

Delete auto backup photos on Android

Below are some ways to delete auto backup photos from your Android device’s gallery:

1. Use the Gallery’s cleanup tools

The Gallery app has built-in utilities to remove unwanted items:

  1. Open your Android’s Gallery app.
  2. Tap utilities icon (typically 3 horizontal lines)
  3. Tap Clean up duplicate photos or Remove similar photos.
  4. Select auto backups to delete.

2. Clear an app’s storage

You can also go into an app’s settings and clear its storage:

  1. Go to Android Settings > Apps.
  2. Select the app and tap Storage & Cache > Clear Storage.

This will delete all its files including any auto-saved photos.

3. Turn off Google Photos backup

If Google Photos is auto-saving all your device’s images, turn off its backup:

  1. Open Google Photos.
  2. Tap your profile icon.
  3. Go to Photos settings > Back up & sync and turn it off.

You can then go to your gallery and delete the Google Photos folder to remove the existing backups.

Prevent auto backup photos from coming back

After putting in the work to delete all those unwanted auto backups from your gallery, the last thing you want is for them to gradually build up again.

To prevent that from happening, here are some additional steps you can take:

  • Disable auto-saving in app settings, as explained earlier.
  • Stop unused apps from even running in the background.
  • Turn off iCloud Photo Library or Google Photos backup.
  • Use storage cleaner apps to periodically remove junk files.
  • Offload unused apps so they can’t save anything.
  • Turn on low storage warnings to be notified when space runs low.

Taking a proactive approach with app settings and your photo storage habits will ensure auto backups don’t creep back onto your phone or tablet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to delete photos that are backed up?

Generally yes, as long as the original copies of the photos continue to exist somewhere like iCloud, Google Photos, social media apps, etc. The gallery copies are essentially duplicates used for quick access, but aren’t necessarily needed.

Will deleting photos free up storage space on my phone?

Absolutely! Deleting large amounts of photos, especially duplicative auto backups, can significantly increase the available storage space on your device.

What’s the easiest way to identify auto backups?

Look for special albums in your Photos app labeled with app names like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Android also has tools in the Gallery to easily find duplicate and similar photos for deletion.

Is there a downside to removing photos from my gallery?

Only if those photos don’t exist elsewhere as backups. You may also lose convenient access to photos stored in apps if you delete the gallery copies. Some apps may also stop working correctly if they don’t have gallery access.

How do live photos work after deleting from gallery?

If you delete photos from the gallery that include live photos, the live effect will be lost even if they still exist in an app. Live photos require the pairing of a video + still image to work properly, so deleting either portion will break that effect.


Here are some key points to remember about removing auto backup photos from your device gallery:

  • Disable auto-saving in app settings first to stop backups.
  • Use your Photos app or Gallery utilities to delete unwanted items.
  • Clear app storage and turn off cloud backups like Google Photos.
  • Prevent auto-saves from returning by limiting app access and activity.
  • Free up storage space and declutter your phone in the process!

Following the tips outlined here, you can take control of your camera roll again and enjoy a gallery that only contains the photos you actually want to keep. The convenience of automatic app backups comes at the cost of duplicate photos cluttering up your precious mobile storage. But with a few adjustments, you can stop and remove the photo spam for good.