Google’s Jelly Bean version of their Android operating system has a habit of grabbing your photographs from linked accounts such as Google, Facebook, Dropbox, etc and displaying them in your devices Gallery. If you want all your photos to hand then that’s great, however internet forums are full of frustrated Android users struggling to delete unwanted photos and albums, as they do tend to clutter up your Gallery.
Google, Picasa, Facebook and Dropbox are among the services which Jellybean takes your photos from and displays them in the Gallery of your Android device. If you’re careful and lucky when linking these accounts to your device, you can uncheck the option of syncing photos. Quite often though, the photos start to sync as default and only stop once you uncheck the option of automatic photo sync.
I originally wrote this article in April 2013 – yesterday, 5 months since I posted the article, I become the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S4 and there is a very simple solution on this device which may also apply to other devices running on more recent versions of Jelly Bean: go to your gallery; press the menu button; select “content to display”; uncheck any unwanted accounts syncing to your gallery. If only it was as easy as that when I was dicking around with my Galaxy Note, my Galaxy Camera and my wife’s Galaxy S3 earlier this year… then I wouldn’t have had to write the following article.
When I set up my technophobic wife’s Samsung Galaxy S3 and linked her Facebook account to the phone, Jelly Bean trawled her Facebook account and placed all her albums and photos in her phones gallery. Every time she accessed her Gallery to browse recently taken photos she was faced with hundreds of old Facebook photos. On my Samsung Galaxy Camera, I linked my Dropbox account… which contains over 8000 photos. Without realising what was happening, I was bemused as the device ran painfully slow for the next few hours as Jelly Bean tried to fill my Gallery with the entire contents of my Dropbox account! The same thing happened again recently when my Samsung Note upgraded its operating system from ICS to JB.
One of the more confusing things faced by Android users who suffer unwanted synchronisation of their photos with the Gallery of their Android device is the sudden appearance of Picasa albums. Picasa is a Google service which many users have been previously unaware of, if you have stored photos on Google Drive or have posted photos to Google Plus then Google creates Picasa albums on your behalf and stores the photos there.
To stop unwanted photos from syncing and to physically remove unwanted photos from your Android device, you’ll need to first turn off the Photo syncing service that is causing you the problem.
STEP 1: Go to Settings >> Accounts and Sync >> click on the account causing you the problem (Google, Facebook, Dropbox, etc) >> now uncheck any option that offers to Sync photos.
If you have a Google account linked with the phone, make sure you uncheck the options for both “Sync Google Photos” AND “Sync Picasa Web Albums”.
Stopping the sync will stop any new photos from syncing to your device, but won’t do anything for the photos already synced…
STEP 2: Go to Settings >> Application manager >> All >> click on “Gallery” and then click on “Force Stop” and then click on “Clear Cache” and “Clear Data”
This should solve it… however, sometimes the photos still appear! Before you throw your Android device out of the window in frustration – try this:
Android keeps a small thumbnail image of each photo you save; this is for faster working of the gallery application. Even when you delete the images and clear the cache, the thumbnails sometimes still appear in your gallery and give the impression the photos are still there.
These thumbnails are often stored on your device in a folder such as SDcard\DCIM\.thumbnails – also search for folders named after specific services causing you the problem such as Facebook, Dropbox etc. Once you find the offending thumbnails, delete them and follow the steps of clearing the cache again. There should be no trace of these photos on your devices gallery.
An alternative way of finding these thumbnails (and maybe easier as it’s less fiddly) is to connect your device to your PC/Laptop and use this to search your devices folders for the thumbnails. If you can’t find the thumbnails by trawling your devices file folders, then try searching “**.jpg” or “**.gif” or “**.png” to display all files of this type.
I resolved this problem on a few devices now, there seems to be no standard way which is guaranteed to work and involves some trial and error – I have found it to be as simple as deleting the thumbnails and clearing the Gallery cache, to deactivating apps altogether and clearing Gallery data. Sometimes i’ve had to clear Gallery cache before and after finding and deleting the offending thumbnails.
Has this guide worked for you and resolved any problems you was having? If you found this guide helpful or if you have other useful tips which could help other users accomplish removing unwanted photographs and/or albums – then i’d really appreciated if you left comments in the “Leave a Reply” section below.
**UPDATE - 5 June 2013** when my Samsung Galaxy Note upgraded to Jelly Bean from ICS, I found that all the thumbnails of my unwanted Dropbox photos were stored in a folder called “cloudagent”. I deleted the thumbnails, cleared the Gallery cache… but the photos reappeared in the “cloudagent” folder again. I found the Cloud Agent app via the Applications Manager menu and deactivated it, as it seemed to be constantly syncing with Dropbox and causing the thumbnails to reappear in the cloudagent folder. I then deleted the thumbnails from the cloudagent folder (again!), cleared the Gallery cache (again!) … and finally everything all seems to be in order. Deactivate the Cloud Agent app at your own risk, it doesn’t seem to have had an adverse affect on any of my apps or services but it may affect yours.
**UPDATE - 3 September 2013** if none of the above advice works (or any other advice left in the comments below) then how about doing away with your standard Android Gallery altogether….?? Have a look in Google Play at other gallery apps, there are some good ones – check the feedback and try something different. I recommend Quickpic.