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Android 12 could finally fix a Google Photos backup issue on some phones

Android 12 could finally bring an end to unwanted screenshot backups.

Published onMay 20, 2021

Android 12 logo on Google Pixel 3 2
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Android 12 could fix an annoying issue with using Google Photos on Samsung, Xiaomi, and some other phones.
  • Google could restrict screenshot storage in the DCIM folder at an OS level.
  • This would give users more control over backing up unwanted screenshots on Google Photos.

Google Photos will soon end its free unlimited backup option for your high-quality images. Since you’ll only have 15GB of free storage starting June, you probably don’t want to fill it up with junk such as screenshots. That’s exactly what Android phones from Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, and realme do. They store your screenshots in the DCIM folder of your phone’s internal storage, so when services like Google Photos, Dropbox, or others backup images on your phone,  screenshots also get picked up. This could finally change with Android 12.

Ideally, the screenshots you take should reside under the Screenshots subfolder of the Pictures folder of your phone. However, Samsung and the other aforementioned OEMs always store screenshots under the DCIM directory which is meant for the photos and videos you’ve recorded.

According to XDA Developers, Google might restrict saving screenshots in the DCIM folder on Android 12. A source told the publication that Google has proposed a revision to its Compatibility Definition Document (CDD). It defines the conditions a device must meet in order to ship with Google apps. The changes, which aren’t set in stone just yet, propose that screenshots and screen recordings must not be stored in DCIM, Pictures, Videos, or a custom directory. Instead, they must reside within the dedicated Screenshots folder.

If the revision comes into effect, it would make screenshot backups on Google Photos more predictable and give users more control over deleting them all from one place instead of hunting for screenshots to delete in the DCIM folder before backing up images. However, it’s not certain that Google will enforce these suggested changes in the final version of Android 12. The company could very well drop the requirement as it did for virtual A/B partitions on Android 11.

Also read: All the Android 12 confirmed and rumored features you need to know about

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