Google Photos backup and multiple phones


Well-known member
May 16, 2010
Visit site
Hey all, I was previously using the older Google Photos app (the one integrated with Google+) to automatically backup my photos at night. About 5 months ago, I got a replacement phone from Verizon, and ended up not setting up the uploads for a while, and then I just forgot about it. I just downloaded the new Photos app, however I have a question.

I've been on an annoying journey with Verizon going through 4 replacement phones in 5 months. It's such a pain to keep re-downloading all my apps and trying to setup the phone how it was before. I'm currently waiting on my 5th phone to arrive. So the question is, I have pictures on my phone from previous devices years ago that were already uploaded to Google. However, every time I get a "new" phone, it tends to name the pictures weirdly, sometimes resulting in multiple pictures with the same file name. So, does Google recognize say a different file size or date the picture was taken? Or will it see multiple file names and only upload them once? I just wanted to see if anyone knew this before attempting to start uploading my photos again, as I really don't have time to go through photo by photo to see if it was actually uploaded.

Or is there another alternative? I've done some light reading on apps that automatically upload pictures, and as quality is my main concern, it seems that Google and Flickr are the only two free services that don't compress the pictures being uploaded. I really love Google's integration, so I would like to stay with that if possible. But Just want to make sure I'm not going to have an organizational mess on my hands by switching phones all the time.


Well-known member
Jul 4, 2013
Visit site
Sorry to hear you've been having such a bad time with your phones! Google Photo inherits the name of the image files that were created locally on a device. The photos are named locally on your device, rather than by Google (unless the image originated in Google, like a Google Photos Assistant created "automagical" image). Devices could use different naming systems, but from what I've seen the rule of thumb is numbers and a date in the file name.

It is possible you could encounter duplicates, and eventually different photos with basically duplicate file names. However, the image can't be named exactly the same thing in the same folder so a number should be appended automatically like image "12.34.08052015(1)" This naming system would allow duplicate images, but not names to be created in Google Photos. The latest Photos app is supposed to identify duplicate images and offer to delete them, but I haven't personally verified this: Google photos app removes duplicate photos to free space - Business Insider

The back up and restoration process has become simplified with utilizing the "Back up my data" feature tied to my primary Gmail account. I like it because it saves the app data so you can get back to "your spot" when you restore on the same or replacement device, and removes the necessity of third party back up software in everyday situations. One thing to be careful of with the latest post G+ Photos update is the option to back up "unlimited" storage does compress the file size, although it's still pretty high quality. For the highest quality no-extra-cost cloud back ups you'll want to continue utilizing your Drive storage which is limited at 15GB by default, or go with Flickr, which has also made big improvements recently and offers a lot of free photo storage.

Forum statistics

Latest member