Breaking: Google's Backup and Sync client for Photos/Drive gets ability to exclude screenshots and RAW files (but it's faulty) [updated]

Update (November 21):

Backup and Sync is finally going to get the ability to exclude any type of files. For more info head here


Original story below:

Google’s Backup and Sync client for the company’s Photos and Drive services had several issues since launch. A new update (version 3.36) was pushed out recently, that fixed a couple of major problems, including ‘macOS High Sierra compatibility’ and ‘folder duplication’ issues.

And now, we can confirm that the updated client application has also got a couple of features that users have been asking for long. The features in question include the ability to exclude screenshots and RAW files from uploading/backing up.

A new ‘Change’ option has been added in Backup and Sync’s Preferences menu (towards bottom-right of the area where you choose folders to backup).


Clicking this new option brings up a pop-up window where you can enable/disable backup for screenshots and RAW files.


While that’s certainly good news, especially if unwanted screenshots on Google Photos were troubling you, it wasn’t all rosy when we tried testing these new features. Firstly, the new ‘Change’ option is only available on Backup and Sync client downloaded from Google Photos’ website (yes, Backup and Sync is different for Photos and Drive – read more about it here).

To backup this claim of ours, we have screenshots of both clients. Here’s the latest Backup and Sync client downloaded from Google Photos’ website (which we have already seen above):


As you can see, it contains the new ‘Change’ option. And here’s the client application downloaded from Google Drive’s website:


No ‘Change’ option here. We also confirmed that version of both client applications is same.

Following is for Backup and Sync from Google Drive’s website:


And following is for the client application downloaded from Google Photos’ website:


So if you need these new features, you need to download the Google Photos’ variant of Backup and Sync.

Moving on, while the ability to exclude RAW files is working fine, we can’t say the same for screenshots. We tried backing up screenshots taken from an iPhone 6S, Nexus 5, Windows 10, and Ubuntu 16.04, and in 99% of the cases the application uploaded them despite ‘Back up screenshots’ option being turned off.

A random screenshot, however, was stopped by the application, so we have no clue as to how this feature is working, or more precisely, how Backup and Sync decides what is a screenshot and what is not. The following capture shows screenshots that we tested, and you can see that only one (with red cross) was excluded from being uploaded, while all others successfully backed up.


To conclude, these new additions have brought along more questions than answers. We hope Google will take notice of the problems we described here, and fix them soon. Meanwhile, let us know your experience with these new features. Are they working for you?

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

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.