Google Photos Uses Too Much Cellular Data On Android And iOS

Google Photos Wastes Too Much Cellular Data

Google Photos is an extremely popular app designed to store, view, manage and backup your precious moments of life in image and video formats. Personally I use it on my both devices: Pixel and iPhone.

But, as you might know, images and especially videos consume a lot of storage when backed up and use a decent amount of cellular data when you view it (and even browse through the thumbnails).

When talking about the Internet at your home there is no problem here because in most cases you use unlimited plan of your wired ISP.

But how to preserve your mobile data – that is the question. I mean how to continue using your favorite app but but prevent Google Photos from using the cellular connection in vain? In this article we will give our tips to stop it.

How To Solve the Problem

Let us find out how to prevent the app from using too much data.

1. Set Up Google Photos To Backup Images And Videos Over Wi-Fi Only

Go to Google Photos settings and ensure the backup via cellular data is disabled. These are the default settings but you should check if they are still unchanged. If you need to backup your camera album rapidly you may opt to backup images over the cellular connection while videos will be uploaded over the Wi-Fi only.

disable cellular data back up Google Photos Android

Android: Tap the Sandwich icon in the app → “Settings” → “Back up & sync” → Turn off “Cellular data back up” for both Photos and Videos: 

disable cellular data back up Google Photos iOS

iOS: Sandwich icon→ “Settings” gear→ “Back up & sync” → Turn off “Use cellular data to back up photos” and the same for “…videos”: 

2. Do Not Limit The Cache Of Google Photos on iOS

GP limit cache size disabled

The smaller cache amount you use – the higher probability you will need to download your photos and videos from the Internet cloud and consequently use your cellular data. Go to app’s settings → Select “Manage device storage” → and turn off “Limit cache size”

With such a setting you will allow more cache to be stored in your device memory and consequently you will be able to browse much more content without downloading it from the Internet.

3. Adjust The Auto-Delete Setting In Google Photos App On Android

Many users select to automatically remove the items from their camera roll after 30 days. If you have enough storage on your mobile device, try to set 90 days instead of 30 or 60 to keep your content in the device’s storage as long as possible. You can do this in the Smart Storage settings:

Smart storage select time period

Radical Measure

Prevent Google Photos App To Use Cellular Data On iOS

On your iPhone, iPad or iPod: Go to “Settings” → “Cellular” → Disable Cellular Data access for Google Photos app: 

GP disable cellular data access

After this the app won’t be able to access the Internet via cellular data at all. You will see only those thumbnails and photos that have already been cached before: 

Cellular data is turned off for Google Photos

Restrict Background Data Usage on Android

On Android devices you cannot completely cut off mobile data access for Google Photos. Instead, you can restrict app’s background data. However, this often helps stop traffic wasting.

On your Android phone or tablet:

  • Open “Settings”.
  • Go to “Network & Internet”.
  • Select “Data usage”:
    Data Usage Android
  • Scroll down and select “Mobile data usage”: Mobile Data Usage Android
  • Tap on “Photos” in the list of apps that use your mobile data: Google Photos Mobile Data Usage
  • Disable the Background data toggle for the app: disable background data Google Photos Android
    After you’ve done this the app will be able to use mobile connection only if you launch it and keep active. So you’d better close it and even remove from Recent Apps.

Share your opinion concerning the issue. What do you do to prevent Google Photos from eating your cellular gigabytes?

1 thought on “Google Photos Uses Too Much Cellular Data On Android And iOS”

  1. Photo is still sometimes using all of my mobile data allowance in a couple of days 4Mb !
    and I can not see what it was doing in that time, no big photos or video that I can see being backed up. I already have all the settings you suggest.


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