Google Photos prepares disabling backups for messaging apps due to COVID-19, video autoplay settings, and setting a profile photo

Google Photos prepares disabling backups for messaging apps due to COVID-19, video autoplay settings, and setting a profile photo

Google Photos is one of the most convenient apps for managing images and galleries. Besides letting you gather all of your images from different devices in one place, Photos also uses Google’s machine learning insights to suggest which pictures can be deleted to free up space on local as well as cloud storage. Now, Google might be working on two new features; one to restrict help unwanted media from crowding up your Google Drive storage, and another to prevent motion photos and videos from auto-playing.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.

Temporarily Disabling Media Backups

Media from messaging apps like WhatsApp can take up a lot of storage on your phone as well as on cloud storage if you’ve enabled automatic back and sync on Google Photos. With Google Photos version 4.53, the company is testing the ability to automatically disable backup and sync for media in folders linked to messaging apps. In a teardown of the said version of the app, we found the following reference to the feature:

<string name="photos_backup_settings_disablefolderbackup_promo_message">"People are sharing more photos &amp; videos than ever, due to COVID-19. In an effort to conserve internet resources, backup &amp; sync has been turned off for messaging apps. &lt;a href=help:>Learn more&lt;/a>You can change this any time in Settings."</string>

As per the description of the feature, its intent is to limit internet usage as many people are sharing more photos on messaging apps than usual while staying at home due to COVID-19. Users will be able to reactivate the automatic backup and syncing of folders for messaging apps if they wish to in Settings.

Control Video Autoplay

Besides this, some more additions in the app’s code point towards an option to disable autoplay for motion photos and videos when you’re scrolling through the main timeline in the app. The autoplay feature was added to the app last year in July but may have not received well by users.

The following strings hint that users will soon be able to selectively choose which items to autoplay and which ones to not:

<string name="photos_photoadapteritem_videoplayerbehavior_settings_impl_motion_photos_toggle_title">Motion photos</string>
<string name="photos_photoadapteritem_videoplayerbehavior_settings_impl_page_description">Choose what items will automatically play in your photo grid. Recommended for a more seamless experience in the app.</string>
<string name="photos_photoadapteritem_videoplayerbehavior_settings_impl_subtitle">Manage automatic playback in your photo grid</string>
<string name="photos_photoadapteritem_videoplayerbehavior_settings_impl_title">Photo grid playback</string>
<string name="photos_photoadapteritem_videoplayerbehavior_settings_impl_videos_toggle_title">Videos</string>

Setting a Google Account Profile Photo

Lastly, you might soon be able to set your Google profile picture from within the Photos app. Renowned reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong discovered and demoed the feature, as can be seen below in her tweet.

Google Photos
Google Photos
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free