Google Photos now saves your original photo inside the edited version: no more duplicates

by: Kris CarlonMarch 29, 2016

Google Photos non-destructive editing

The Google Photos update to v1.17 on Android automatically saves a copy of your original photo, even if you’ve edited and saved it, without duplicating it. This means that no matter what you do to your image, including excessive cropping or going crazy with filters, you can always get the original image back, just as it was the day you took it.

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After you’ve got the update, when you edit an image and tap the Save button, you’ll see a popup saying Photos no longer saves a copy of your photo, but that you can undo edits in future. This way you can save an edited image as usual but without creating a duplicate in your album. If you ever want to go back to the original, just open the photo, open it for editing, tap the overflow menu and hit Undo edits.

Google Photos undo edits

Non-destructive editing is an elegant solution to the “doubling up” Photos used to do – keeping the original and adding a new edited version to your library. Photos now keeps the original file “inside” the edited version, kind of like how you can endlessly undo changes in Photoshop to return to the original image. The reduction of duplicates will please some and undoubtedly irritate others, as a return to the original means you’ll now lose your edited version.


Do you prefer this self-contained method to image duplication?

  • Rohit Raja


  • Armand Bernard

    Finally! For some reason the web version of Photos had this feature from the get-go, but it wasn’t in the app.
    I personally much prefer this solution, as it means if you realise later that you boosted the “pop” setting too much later on when you look at it on a different screen, you can adjust or undo those changes, without having loads of copies of the same photo.

    • Jason Brian Chapa

      Yass!! I’m so glad the mobile behavior now matches the web behavior.

  • If you copy the edited photo, can you restore the copy to an unedited state?

  • Bradley Uffner

    I hope it still gives you the option to duplicate. Sometimes I crop a photo for a specific purpose, but actually want it as a separate copy.

    • MAS Googler

      you might need to download the edited version, or make a copy first which you can then edit while having the original separate

  • rickneworleansla

    This is a much better solution. If I need to keep the edited version I can always download it then revert back to the original.

  • Sherpa

    I actually prefer this method. It keeps the album clean. This is one feature I like about iOS’ Photos apps.

  • dimitris aspetakis

    It would be even better if Google did something with snapseed edited photos.