Update, September 26, 2022 5:14 PM EST: A Google spokesperson has reached out to 9to5Google to confirm that your photos are safe on their servers and that the artifacting issue is being looked into. Again, the issue seems to have originated with the transfer of images from the Google Photos cloud to your local device’s cache and in no way affects the original safe on Google’s end.
You love Google Photos, right? I sure do. It’s been a reliable way to store all of my family pictures both new and ancient for years, and as a Google expert in stores, I often helped hundreds, if not thousands, of customers import all of their life’s memories into the company’s service with the understanding that it was the future.
Now, I’ve seen some weird stuff in the past with Photos, like other people’s images showing up in my library, and even a few black and white pictures of a haunted house (yes, this was weird as hell). However, never in my digital life have I ever seen Google Photos screw up my data. Of all things, it’s been solid and trustworthy even when Google as a company has not been.
Just recently, several users on the Google Support forum and on Reddit have pointed out that some of their older photos that were uploaded between May 2013 and May 2015 have been corrupted with strange artifacts such as pixelation. You can see an example of this below – the areas around where light flows have been globbed together and almost look like an outline.
If this has happened to your precious memories, I have some good news for you – they’re not actually corrupted. In fact, all you’ll need to do is to go to your phone’s settings, tap “Apps”, find Google Photos and clear its cache. Apparently, what’s going on is that the images are preserved perfectly on Google’s end and were simply transferred to your local device cache to be displayed improperly.
While Photos has been amazing for millions of people to free up space on their phones while capturing life as it happens, I recommend still backing them up to a local hard drive or solid state drive. Heck, even a little thumb drive that you place them on means that you’re in complete control of your data, and you can get a copy of your photos via Google Takeout whenever you’d like. I would suggest performing a backup every six months or so to ensure that you have peace of mind!