After the Material redesign, major improvements in the machine-learning department, and the decision to leave the free unlimited storage behind (for better or worse), Photos are probably the most improved Google app, along with the Assistant. But, the interface and other bells and whistles won’t do you any good if the elementary purpose is failing you. When the Google Photos app is not showing all photos, for example.
Here’s what you need to do to get back all your photos on Android.
Table of contents:
- Clear Google Photos cached data
- Choose what folders you want to backup
- Check the Archive and Trash Bin
- Move folders containing photos to internal memory
- Use your PC to re-upload photos
- Uninstall updates
Why are photos missing from Google Photos?
If you can’t see all your photos in Google Photos, try one of these steps:
- Ensure that you are connected to Wi-Fi or Mobile data because, for photos to load, you’ll need a network connection.
- After that, make sure that all folders you want to back up and sync are on the list in Google Photos > Account > Photos settings > Back up & Sync.
- Look in the Archive and Trash Bin for deleted photos.
- Clear local data to reset the app or uninstall updates.
- Re-upload photos.
1. Clear the data from the app
Even though there were major issues with missing photos, pilled-up data, and minor bugs are the most common reasons for this issue nowadays. And, with an app like Photos, you don’t need all that cached data at all.
The app might load faster, but nothing of importance is lost if you delete it. Furthermore, that should resolve the issue at hand and show all photos you already have in Google Photos for Web.
Here’s how to clear the cached data in the Photos app:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Apps (Application Manager).
- Find and open Photos.
- Open Storage.
- Clear Data.
2. Choose what folders you want to backup
In usual circumstances, Google Photos will locate the folders containing photos and ask you whether you want to back them up or skip them. Chances are that you’ve skipped a folder and thus, the app won’t upload them.
Also, even if you’ve already set the folder and uploaded a few photos, there’s a chance that something changed and thus, the folder isn’t backing up anymore. This can be regulated with ease, by simply re-assigning the device folders in the Photos app.
Follow these steps to choose which folders Google Photos should backup:
- Open the Google Photos app.
- Tap on the Account menu and select Photos settings.
- Tap Back up & sync.
- Choose Back up device folders.
- Toggle On all folders you want to back up.
3. Check the Archive and Trash Bin
Now, what if you’ve already successfully uploaded photos, but they’re nowhere to be found? Our best guess is to check both Archive and Trash Bin. Besides identifying faces and reordering the photos, Google Photos Assistant can suggest archiving photos.
Now, don’t worry, they are safe from any harm in the Archive. On the other hand, if you’ve deleted them, you have only up to 60 days to restore them. After that, they’re gone for good, so have that in mind.
To access the Archive and Trash Bit, just open the app and tap on the hamburger menu. There you should find both options.
4. Move folders containing photos to internal memory
I store all camera photos on external memory. But that’s a built-in app. Other apps and services hardly allow changing the folder in which they store photos. Now, there’s a good reason for that. Most handsets require special permissions to access the SD card. And that, in this scenario, poses a difficulty for Google Photos.
Some users’ reports state that Google Photos can’t even locate the folder. And for that reason, we suggest moving the folder from the SD card to the internal storage. You can do it with the built-in file explorer (Files or My Files) which comes pre-installed on the device.
Here’s how to do it:
- Open the Files app.
- Access the SD and tap and hold on to the folder you want to move.
- Choose Move from the available options.
- Get back to internal memory and just tap Move to paste the folder there.
- Open the Photos and navigate to Settings > Back up & sync > Back up device folders.
- Toggle on the newly-transferred folder and wait for the photos to upload.
5. Use your PC to re-upload photos
Finally, the only remaining solution we can suggest is re-uploading photos to Google Photos for the Web via PC. Now, what you’ll need to do primarily is to transfer photos to your PC. Afterward, you shouldn’t have a hard time dragging them to Google Photos.
Follow the steps we enlisted below:
- Transfer your photos to a PC.
- Open a web browser and navigate to Google Photos. Log in with your Google Account if prompted.
- Select all photos and drag and drop them into a web browser.
- Wait for the upload to finish.
- Clear cache and data on your handset, open Photos, and tweak settings to your preferences.
- The troublesome photos should appear now.
After that, repeat the steps from the first solution and reset cached data in the Photos app. The missing photos should appear the next time you open the Photos app.
6. Uninstall updates
An alternative is to try and reset the app differently. This time, instead of clearing the data from the app, try uninstalling its updates and restoring it to factory settings.
Here’s how to uninstall updates on Google Photos:
- Navigate again to Settings > Apps > All apps > Photos.
- Tap on the 3-dots menu.
- Tap Uninstall updates.
- Confirm and restart your device.
- Configure Google Photos once again and look for improvements.
Editor’s note: This article was initially published in December 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.