BlogHow to Turn Off Google Photos Sync

I still have an unlimited mobile data plan and don’t pay much attention to my bandwidth usage, but I decided to take a closer look the other day after receiving a bandwidth limit notification on my Galaxy Nexus (there’s a default limit of 2GB, I believe, which I’ve changed to 4GB in order to avoid the notices).

To my surprise, the Gallery application was using a lot of bandwidth, second only to Pandora and above other frequently used apps like Browser and Google Play Store. What was going on? Why was the Gallery app using so much bandwidth?

Initially, I freaked out a bit. I thought my Gallery was syncing all my photos somewhere online that I wasn’t aware of. I envisioned all my private photos sitting in a Google Plus gallery, perplexed professional contacts staring at video game screenshots and awkward family photos. Not good.

Luckily, that wasn’t the case. I checked Google Plus and Picasa Web Albums and found nothing out of the ordinary. None of my private pictures were online. Good. But what about the bandwidth usage?

Upon further examination, I found that a few images on my Picasa Web Albums were also on my phone. They were images I had used on Blogger, another Google service.

And there was the problem: Google Photo Sync.

How to Turn off Google Photo Sync

To stop the Gallery app from using so much bandwidth, you need to turn off Google Photo sync.

  1. Open the Gallery app on your droid
  2. Click the menu drop down in the upper right hand corner (on the Galaxy Nexus, anyways; may be different for other devices) and select “settings”
  3. Under “account settings” you will need to click where it says “Google photos sync is ON”
  4. Once you select that, click on your email account on the next screen
  5. From there, you’ll be presented with all of the sync settings for your account. Scroll down to “Sync Google Photos” and remove the check
  6. Repeat these steps for any other Google account you have setup on your phone. When you go back to your Gallery settings you should see “Google photos sync is OFF”

That should solve excessive bandwidth usage from the Gallery app. It goes without saying that if you are sending a lot of pictures or otherwise using data from the Gallery app, this isn’t going to completely eliminate your data usage. I don’t use the Gallery that often, so I knew the data being used was coming from something automated.

Other Potential Gallery Data Culprits

Some more research uncovered a couple additional things that will cause the Gallery app to consume data. The first is Google Plus instant upload. To turn that off, open your Google Plus app, go to settings, and tick off “Instant Upload.”

The second is streaming videos from the default Gallery Player. If you’re streaming movies from websites that use the player on your device – unlike YouTube, which would play in the browser or in its own app – then this data usage will show under the Gallery app.


    • Hi Mike,

      The Gallery App also is the default video player on your device. If you’re downloading and/or streaming a lot of videos from the web, and they’re being played in your Gallery App, that is likely the cause of the data usage.

      Hope that helps.

      Thanks for stopping by!


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