Stop Google Photos From Backing Up Screenshots (Android)

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Many of us who use Google Photos on Android have noticed something unexpected: it backs up screenshots even though we set it to save only camera photos. This has happened to me with both Redmi Note and Samsung Galaxy phones, so it seems to be a common issue. This article talks about why this happens and what you can do to stop Google Photos from saving screenshots you don’t want on your Android phone.

Also see: Share Files From Android to PC Wirelessly

Stop Google Photos From Backing Up Screenshots (Android)

Why does Google Photos keep backing up screenshots?

Google Photos usually backs up photos from the DCIM folder, where camera pics are meant to be. But some Android phones save screenshots there too, often in a folder just for them. Google Photos doesn’t tell these apart from camera shots, so it backs them all up.

Why does Google Photos keep backing up screenshots

This can lead to all sorts of unwanted screenshots in your Google Photos, which might be a problem if there are things you’d rather keep private.

Solution 1: Changing the default screenshot location

One way to fix this is to change where your phone saves screenshots. Sadly, not all phones let you do this. For instance, the Redmi Note 12 won’t let you pick a different spot; screenshots go straight to the DCIM folder, and Google Photos scoops them up from there.

If you can change where screenshots are saved, move them out of the DCIM folder. You might make a new folder in your internal storage or a separate Screenshots folder somewhere else.

Changing default screenshot location Android phone

This way, Google Photos won’t automatically back them up. It’s worth a look in your phone settings or a quick online search to see if your phone has this option. If it does, this could be a neat fix.

You might also like: How to Find Someone By a Picture

What happens when you manually move the Screenshots folder?

If you try moving the Screenshots folder out of the DCIM directory by yourself, here’s what goes down:

  1. Google Photos won’t back up any new screenshots outside the DCIM folder. But, if they were already backed up before you moved them, they’ll stay in your Google Photos.
  2. Your phone will make a new “Screenshots” folder in the DCIM directory the next time you take a screenshot. So, new shots end up back in the mix for Google Photos to back up.
  3. Moving screenshots might mess with how other gallery apps on your phone show your pictures. They might not display the screenshots if they’re not in the usual spot.

This might seem like a fix for stopping existing screenshots from going to Google Photos, but it doesn’t stop new ones from ending up there, and it could make viewing them in other apps a bit tricky.

Solution 2: Manual sync and deletion using a folder synchronization app

A more hands-on approach involves a folder synchronization app. You set up a task in the app to move screenshots from the DCIM/Screenshots folder to somewhere else, like Pictures/Screenshots.

Here’s the rundown:

  1. Pick a folder synchronization app that lets you set up regular syncs. Make sure it’s a good one that gives you control over when and how folders are synced.
  2. In the app, make a sync task for the “DCIM/Screenshots” folder. Have it move files to a new spot outside the DCIM folder, like “Pictures/Screenshots”. You can set it to check for new screenshots every minute or so, to beat Google Photos to the punch.
  3. Make sure the app deletes screenshots from the DCIM folder after syncing. This stops Google Photos from backing them up.
  4. Find a balance for how often the app syncs. You want it to move screenshots quickly but not drain your battery or slow down your phone.

This method takes a bit more work to set up and keep running, but it’s a solid option if you can’t use other fixes.

Related resource: Sync Files Between Two Folders or Computers

Solution 3: Adding a .nomedia file in the Screenshots folder

Another popular trick is to use a .nomedia file. This tells apps like Google Photos to ignore whatever’s in the folder it’s in, including screenshots.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Make a blank .nomedia file using a file manager or text editor. You can also create it on your computer and then move it to your phone’s Screenshots folder.
  2. Once the file is in the Screenshots folder, Google Photos won’t see or back up new screenshots there.
  3. Keep in mind, this will also hide your screenshots from other gallery apps, not just Google Photos. So, you’ll have to use a file manager to look at them.
  4. After adding the .nomedia file, viewing your screenshots might be a bit more of a hassle if you’re used to finding them in gallery apps.

This is a pretty straightforward way to keep your screenshots private, but it does make viewing them a bit less convenient.

Manually removing screenshots from Google Photos

If you’re not up for setting things up or changing settings, you can always just delete unwanted screenshots from Google Photos yourself. It’s not a fix, but it helps clean things up.

Here’s how:

  1. Open Google Photos and search for “screenshot”. This should bring up all your screenshots.
  2. Pick the ones you want to delete. Google Photos lets you select lots of images at once, which makes this easier.
  3. Double-check your selection to make sure you’re not deleting something important.
  4. Once you’re sure, go ahead and delete them. They’ll be gone from Google Photos but still on your phone.

This method is pretty straightforward and something you can do now and then to keep your Google Photos tidy. It’s especially handy if the other solutions don’t work out for you.

Here’s what I think

For now, we’re stuck with a few workaround solutions for stopping screenshots from getting mixed up with our camera photos in Google Photos. Until there’s an update from Google Photos or Android itself that lets us pick and choose more easily, these tips might help you keep things organized.

For many, the simplest fixes might be using a .nomedia file or just cleaning out Google Photos every so often. These aren’t perfect solutions, but they’re a start, considering the limits we’re working with.

Categories: AndroidGoogleiOS

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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