Update (January 06):

Google has officially confirmed that with the client’s latest version 3.39 it’s now possible to exclude Apple Photos Library metadata from syncing. Here’s how you can do it:

In the “My Computer” section of the Backup and Sync Preferences, click Change. Select Back up photos and videos, and uncheck Back up Apple Photos Library metadata. When unchecked, only photo files from your library are backed up. When checked, your entire Apple Photos Library is synced to Google Drive

Original story:

Google Photos users who switched to the new Backup and Sync client application on their Mac systems are reporting that the application is backing up unwanted stuff on the cloud. Specifically, users say files like thumbnails, facetiles, and other garbage stuff is showing up in their Google Photos library.

A quick look at the official Photos forum reveals that a lot of users have experienced this problem, severely hampering their Photos app experience and understandably making them upset and angry. Many of those affected say they never faced such an issue with the older Google Photos client application (that was retired in favor of Backup and Sync).

One of the Community Specialist recently replied on a thread discussing this issue, saying the most recent version of the Backup and Sync app should not behave this way. Here’s what they exactly said:

The most recent version should not upload thumbnails from within the Mac photos library. New uploads with the new version of the client should not be added to photos. (Note they will still appear in Drive). These thumbnails do not show up in Google Photos app, though the regular master photo does.

They suggested users to perform the following steps to resolve the issue:


However, if user comments following this update are to go by, there’s no relief. Basically, some of those who tested the latest Backup and Sync version said the problem is still there.

If you’re also facing this issue, and wondering how to delete the useless stuff (thumbnails, facetiles, and more) from your Photos cloud storage, a user suggested doing this:

To make it easier to delete all the incorrectly-imported photos, you can visit: https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_?referrer=BAS&pli=1
That will order the photos as they were imported from Backup and Sync.

And for those wondering if there’s a temporary workaround for the main issue, there are a handful, thankfully. First is:


The second one requires a bit of command line knowledge. See screenshot below:

Lastly, someone also posted a link to a script hosted on GitHub, which presumably deletes thumbnails. You can access the script by heading here. At this point, we cannot confirm if any of the aforementioned workarounds successfully resolve the problem, but there should be no harm giving them a try.

Officially, Google hasn’t said anything on this issue. So it’s difficult to say whether or not company is even aware of the problem, let along working on the fix.

PS: This is not the only issue plaguing Backup and Sync – head here to take a look at the ones we’ve already covered.

Source 1 | Source 2

Dr. Aparajita Sharma
1227 Posts

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.

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