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Issue 23115: Unable to disable Sync Google Photos in Ice Cream Sandwich
25 people starred this issue and may be notified of changes. Back to list
Status:  WrongForum
Owner:  ----
Closed:  Jun 2013

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Reported by, Dec 18, 2011
I've been using Android on a Nexus One then Nexus S for almost two years, and I've never used photo syncing with Picasa Web Albums.

Yesterday I received the update to Android 4.0.3 on my Nexus S, and immediately my Picasa Web Albums were added to Gallery on the phone. I went to Sync settings and ensured that Sync Google Photos was disabled (I can't remember if it was still disabled when I looked, or if it was enabled and I had to disable it).

In any case, there seems to be no getting rid of my Picasa albums now. I tried clearing data and cache for Gallery, but that doesn't help.

I found a discussion thread about the topic on a forum here:

People there have had success with disabling Gallery, removing their Google account from the phone, re-adding it, and disabling Sync Google Photos before re-enabling Gallery. I don't want to do that, since I imagine a lot of other data would be removed from my phone in the process (and hopefully restored, but I don't want to find out).

It seems that Gallery should be notified that it's no longer being sync'ed with an online source and should purge the associated albums, but I guess that's not happening.
Dec 18, 2011
Similar to here:

Having the same issue.

Previously, there were two different options:
1) Google+ Instant Upload (for photos on phone --> picasaweb)
2) Picasa Web Albums (for albums on picasaweb --> phone)

Now there is only "Google Photos" which appears to sync two ways.

Just went to ICS 4.0.3 on the Nexus S i9023 yesterday and had it download 1gb of cached photos overnight (I have *alot* of photos on PicasaWeb)

The problem now is:
* Once Picasa Web has synced, photo albums don't remove even after removing the sync relationship.
* You can only use Google+ instant upload if you're willing to let it cache thumbnails of your picasaweb library (which for me amounted to 1gb over ~11,000 files).
Dec 18, 2011
briefly chiming in here, but i for one don't want my picasa pics in my gallery either.  
Dec 21, 2011
I tried the process described at the link that comment 2 provided, and it worked. However, when I restarted my phone, the pictures came back.
Dec 30, 2011
Would really love if we option to disable Google+ photos from our phones gallery. Just makes no sense that a simple option wouldnt be readily available. I love google+ uploading and syncing the pictures that i take on my phone.. but having the option to disable it in gallery great.
Jan 12, 2012
I have exactly the same problem.
Synchronized photo from picasa are kept by google+ under:


So far the only way to avoid this synchronization seems to be to disable the "Sync Google Photos" under "Sync Settings", which has the side effect that the instant upload is not anymore available for photos and videos.

An option to avoid the DOWNLOAD of picasa albums from google+ is desperately needed !
Jan 17, 2012
I have the same issue on the Galaxy Nexus (GSM) with 4.0.3.  I don't want my Picasa photos cached and that I have also turned off Instant Upload.  I have lots of photos in Picasa as it is my primary storage location.

Not happy that it's using 1.3Gb (10%) of my SD card considering I only have 13.65Gb to start with.
Feb 20, 2012
chiming in too, hoping Google and Android really fix this clusterf* that is Picasaweb and Google Photos and Gallery. 

1. I want to use instant upload
2. I do NOT want Picasa photos to sync to ICS' gallery.

Right now, loading gallery is a royal pain. Everytime I load it, it takes about a good 60-120 seconds or longer before things appear. The synching circle displays, but the gallery is blank until it loads all the Picasa albums. Android really needs the gallery app to get a major update to play nice with Picasa, Google+, Instant upload and what you want your phone's gallery to show.
Feb 22, 2012
This solution worked for me until I started the Google+ application:

I'd like to see this fixed as well - the best would be if we could choose (maybe via labels) which picasa albums should be synced/visible on the mobile device.
Apr 12, 2012
Yeah... really a crappy way to do it, Google. Had stuff out there I forgot about and no longer want! 
Apr 19, 2012
To work around this problem you can turn off all Google photo syncing (in Google+ and ICS) and use a 3rd party app to sync your photos.  I use a combination of dropbox and dropsync to sync various files including photos, but if you're just interested in automatically uploading photos you just need dropbox.
Apr 20, 2012
I have a similar Problem and don't like the missing options here.

I have two google Accounts set up on my device.
One is my full blown Account, where everything is synced to and the other is just for some mails, where every other sync feature is turned off.

Problem now is, that especially in the gallery, it sometimes begins to import the Pictures from that second account without asking and even if the sync is actively turned off!

It always happens, when I set up an Album in the Gallery for offline Access (One, that is on my main account).
After starting to sync that Album to my phone, it starts to import all Albums from the secondary account, too.

That is clearly a bug in the way, the Gallery app accesses the Android sync feature.

Please fix that!
May 6, 2012
Major girlfriend argument after this... please sort it out! 
It's also not clear which way sync is meant to be going - it doesn't upload images to Picasa online. 

Actually just an app to get back some kind of control would be nice... such as an alternative gallery that only searches for images in 2 or 3 local locations. At the moment I have lots of leftover images on my SD card from Symbian and they are making the gallery a right mess. When I scroll though the gallery there's a load of blank images and icons...!
May 6, 2012
Gingerbread used to do this perfectly...I would have the option to nor sync
the photos, but I would still be able to upload to Picasa.
May 7, 2012
Whoever designed this ICS/Picasa/Sync screwup needs to go. 

How can you get something this basic wrong and why is it taking so long to resolve? 

Apart from how it's working now (which is overkill and wrong on all levels), all we want is the following.

1.) Photo is taken
2.) Google+ is installed so it sends the photo to google+'s instant upload.
3.) DONE!

Don't scan the phone on ROM/google+ reinstall for images and upload them again. Don't download your entire PicasaWeb to the phone. Don't do anything. Or at least give us more options!? How hard is it to add one minor little checkbox to the PicasaWeb that indicates whether you would like the album to be pushed to the phone. It should take 2 minutes! 

The only way we can get this working now is to nuke all of our albums out of PicasaWeb and manage the instant upload folder by importing it to a PC if it gets to large. (translation: PicasaWeb is going to fail because we are removing all our images from it so our phones don't get raped.)

May 7, 2012
Yes, I HAD to do the same (_SWITCH_IT_OFF_) as pointed out by the link in the 2nd comment:

It worked. However, the solution is fragile. I don't know exact steps, but somehow the sync can turn itself on again (!!!) without you knowing it.

Picasa may contain tons of photos. And you don't want to announce about their existence. So, now I HAD to set an inconvenient unlock scheme on my phone JUST IN CASE this sync turns on again and I share my phone to someone for a minute.

This is COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE: Google Photo sync is now turned off entirely while Dropbox is on and works perfectly.

As it is already clear from the previous posts, the fact that ALL your photos end up on your phone is lazy-thought brutal feature nobody get excited about.

OPTIONS for users:
1. Upload (no download) only newly created photos.
2. Wanna sync (upload & download) Picasa albums? Create a SEPARATE Picasa application. Potential options in SEPARATE Picasa application can be immense including per album syncing. It may sync only albums in PUBLIC access by default.

May 13, 2012
Look at it this way.

1. You take a picture. Picture is in your gallery.
2. You edit the picture. Duplicate (edited) picture is placed in a folder called Edited
3. You share the picture to a G+ in a status update. The picture is in Picasa.web
4. Picasa force syncs itself, and you have the picture placed in a folder called Posts

Isn't this a little ridiculous guys? 
This is literally killing my recent motivation to start using G+ because I love sharing images. I don't want a handful of copies everywhere.
May 18, 2012
Where am I supposed to see photos uploaded from phone? 
I have sync Google Photos enabled, the last sync date changes whenever a picture is taken, but there are no photos on
May 26, 2012
I can say only what a mess,  i tried following setup.
Picasa on mac synced with Google+/Picasa web albums
Then logical next step would be to sync Instant upload to Picasa on Mac and that works so i can move my photos from Desktop as well to specific albums , manage etc.

But Instant upload on Google + sucks, for some reason it works one time, but then it stops working as soon as i delete photos from local android camera library  for example. Any new photo will not be synced Online and i have to press Upload manually button and then it starts working but if i delete from camera library then its off again.

Come on Google , this is embarrassing!
May 29, 2012
same issues , i update my HTC Sensation XL to Ice Cream. 
i have same problem ! really we don't like it ! it uplode allll my photo to G+ !? 
any solution for this !
May 29, 2012
in researching at Google :

Settings>Accounts and Sync

Tap Activate auto-sync
Tap your Google Account
then uncheck Sync Picasa Web Albums
back Tap Activate auto-sync for uncheck.
Jun 12, 2012
Guys who have this problem of synced photos in gallery.. clear the Google plus data and cache, problem solved.. it worked for me..also force atop after that.. 
Jul 16, 2012
This fixed it for me:

Settings>Accounts>Google>(Account Name)>Google Photos - Uncheck Sync Box
Settings>Apps>All>Gallery - Clear Data
Settings>Apps>All>Google+ - Clear Data

Aug 14, 2012
I had G+ installed, and when swapping SD cards for development, it began crashing - so I uninstalled it.

I had G+ set to NOT instant upload.
After uninstalling G+, my phone decided to Sync all my photos - every photo on my phone was uploaded.  This is a HUGE privacy concern.
I cannot stop it from Syncing.  I have rebooted.  I enabled Sync (global), unchecked photos, hit cancel sync - it still won't stop.

Besides the blaring privacy concern here, it is also eating my battery.  I used up 50% battery in just over an hour, without touching my phone!

This really needs to be fixed, immediately!

Running 4.0.4
Aug 14, 2012
I had G+ installed, and when swapping SD cards for development, it began crashing - so I uninstalled it.

I had G+ set to NOT instant upload.
After uninstalling G+, my phone decided to Sync all my photos - every photo on my phone was uploaded.  This is a HUGE privacy concern.
I cannot stop it from Syncing.  I have rebooted.  I enabled Sync (global), unchecked photos, hit cancel sync - it still won't stop.

Besides the blaring privacy concern here, it is also eating my battery.  I used up 50% battery in just over an hour, without touching my phone!

This really needs to be fixed, immediately!

Running 4.0.4
Aug 21, 2012
This may not be relevant to everyone, but this issue is no longer present in 4.1.1.
Aug 21, 2012
I have 4.1.1 and the issue is still there
Aug 21, 2012
I have Google Photos sync disabled, and I used Google+ heavily (although
instant upload is off). My gallery still doesn't show the picasa photos.
Aug 23, 2012
I can concur, my galaxy nexus updated to Jelly Bean does not have this problem anymore.
Aug 26, 2012
I have two of the exact phones running the same ICS 4.0.3. 

One of the them shows and sync's pictures down from Picasa, only one way... and shows the option for for syncing pictures in settings.

The other phone does NOT sync and does NOT even show the option in settings to sync with picasa...  

Two diffrent issues on two diffrent phones...  Samsung S2 ICS.    

WHY? and what can i do???  

Dec 2, 2012
First Enable Auto-Sync, then you will be able to see Check boxes to select/deselect what items to select. 

1. Setttings-> Accounts and Sync->Auto-Sync = ON
2. Then goto your Google account, you should see check boxes to enable and disable items to sync

- I feel some UI bug here.

Dec 27, 2012
All you have to do is go to your Android phone, Settings, Accounts & Sync, under your Gmail Account, un-check all the options for sync-ing. Then you can remove the Picasa Account.  Then re-check all the sync-ing functions under your G-mail Account.  Everything then works fine.  Nothing is lost.  You can still use the Instant Upload feature, you'll just have to use the Google+ app to view your photos rather than the Gallery for photos uploaded to Picasa:)
Jan 11, 2013
Thanks to johnsciz I can view my pictures again. Thanks much john !

Feb 11, 2013
Hey johnsciz i done with it but when again adding google account its display all picasa photos again :(
Mar 4, 2013
After hours on the phone with Verizon trying to figure out why my data allowance was mysteriously reaching it's limit within days of the billing period, I almost wanted to throw my new Samsung Galaxy Nexus out the window. No one could figure it out. Then I began to realize that these "data bursts" coincided with any activity involving downloading my photos on my phone to Picasa. I did think it weird that all of my Picasa web albums were on my new phone, but what did I know? This is what has been using up my data allowance, so I eliminated Google+, and turned off the Google sync in the Gallery. Then I went to my Picasa web albums and painstakingly removed every album. That finally removed these albums from my Gallery! Now I will make sure that I have completely signed out of both the Picasa web album, and the Picasa folders. What a mess, and I still am not sure how to take a photo on my phone, and upload to my Picasa folders (NOY the Web Albums), and then delete from my phone. I miss my Blackberry...:(
Mar 4, 2013
There are apps what can upload to Picasa and let you can control what and when to upload.

Mar 4, 2013
Jun 15, 2013
This report applies to a mobile Google application or service, and the issue tracker where you reported it specializes in issues within the Open Source source code of the Android platform.

We are not able to provide support for Google products in this issue tracker. Please use the Google Support site for help at or report this issue in the most appropriate Google Product Forum at!forum/en/ and especially in!forum/mobile

Status: WrongForum
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