Google Photos Is Corrupting Images Uploaded Over Five Years Ago

Google Photos is corrupting some older images stored on the service dating from 2013 to 2015, according to reports from users.

The issue was spotted by Artem Russakovskii from Android Police on Monday after users took to the Google Support forums and Reddit to complain about the problem.

Many Google Photos users reported seeing artifacts in old backed-up images over the weekend. The issue seems to affect photos uploaded over five years ago, adding lines, dots of missing pixels, deep cracks, and what looks like water stains not present on the original uploads. The example below reveals the extent of damage seen on older images.

Users reported the artifacts on images across all platforms including Google Photos for Android, iOS, and the web. It looks like many photographs affected were uploaded between 2013 and 2015, with some of the reports specifying the timeframe from May 2013 to May 2015.

According to those affected, the corruption persists when downloading the image. This apparently applies to both individual downloads and when using Google Takeout. The original copies of pictures do not appear to be impacted, but the edited ones are what appear in the Google Photos apps.

Although it does not seem that all Google Photos users have experienced this problem, the issue does seem to have impacted a sizeable number with several individuals expressing their frustration.

“I cannot express how depressing this is right now,” wrote KerryC in a Google Support forum. “I tried google’s takeout to download all my photos, the issue extends there as well.”

A Solution

According to Android Police, there is a way to fix corrupted images on Google Photos. While the issues were resolved automatically for some users, others were able to get rid of the artifacts by clearing the cache of the Photos app and opening the affected images again to see error-free versions.

Therefore, it appears that Google still has the original images on its servers and there were simply some issues in the transfer process from the servers to the Google Photos app, with individual pixels not arriving on phones and the Google Photos web app for some users.

Earlier today, Russakovskii confirmed that Google had confirmed an upcoming update to resolve the corruption issue on Google Photos: “We’re aware of the issue and are rolling out a fix. The original photos are not impacted.”

The incident serves as a reminder that Google Photos should not be the only place used to back up priceless digital photographs. There are several photo storage backup strategies out there and there is certainly no “one size fits all” solution to cater to every photographer’s needs.

PetaPixel have reviewed some of the best ways to backup images as well as the leading cloud storage platforms for photographers in 2022.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.