There are lots of ways to back up your phone or tablet’s camera roll, regardless of which type of smartphone you own. Apps from Google, Microsoft, Dropbox and others can automatically make copies of each photo you take so they’re safely backed up. (See our best cloud storage services comparison.) Not everyone wants this, and here’s how to stop Google Photos from uploading your images.

By default, the Google Photos app won’t upload any images, so if your photos are popping up as animations in email alerts, it’s most probably because you agreed to let the app do this without realising it.

Fortunately, it’s easy to turn off backup and sync. Simply launch the Google Photos app on your device. Then, tap the menu icon in the top-left corner (three horizontal bars) and then tap Settings.

How to stop Google Photos backing up your images

You should see Back up & sync at the top of the list. Tap on it and then tap the toggle to disable the service.

That’s all you need to do, but there are other options which you might prefer to choose before disabling backup completely. If the problem is that Google Photos is using up all your mobile data, use the toggles to stop it from uploading photos and / or videos via cellular data.

If the problem is that you’re running out of space in your Google Drive, change the Upload size from ‘Original’ to ‘High quality’ since the latter doesn’t count against your Google storage.

Back on the main Settings screen you can disable the Assistant which suggests the animations and automatically edited movies we alluded to earlier.

There’s also an option here to prevent location information being shared when you send a photo’s link to someone. This prevents them from seeing where the photo was taken. By default this option is turned off.

See also: Google Photos vs Apple iCloud Photo Library