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November 15, 2016

OMG! What Did I Just Upload?

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am


You thought it would be cute. Your significant other was signing in the shower, so you held the phone up over the curtain and snapped a picture.

The results were hilarious! And you looked at the photo. Your significant other looked at it. And then you both noticed, well, nudity — private stuff. Time to delete the picture.

“Is it really gone?”

Of course not!

As too many celebrities have discovered, an image you snap on your mobile device isn’t necessarily confined to its case. Most mobile technology, Android included, automatically backs up images to cloud storage. Even deleting the local copy of the image may not remove it from the Internet.

Generally speaking, anything uploaded isn’t immediately posted to Facebook or shared on your LinkedIn profile. No, the images are private, but they’re still out there. Anyone who has your password can see them, which is yet another reason to use strong passwords and to change them frequently.

For those panic-induced moments after you snap the photo or record the video, I recommend the following course to ensure that the electronic evidence is entirely evicted:

1. Remove the image.

Open Photos app and delete the image. If the Photos app lacks automatic backup of images (which is the default), then you might be done. But then again, you might not.

2. In the Photos app, check the Trash.

Tap the Side Menu icon and choose Trash. If you see the image, long-press it and tap the Delete (trash) icon. This step permanently removes the image with no possibility of resurrection.

3. On a Samsung device, visit the Gallery and confirm that the image is gone.

It should be deleted, but check the Uploads folder for the image. You might find another copy there. Worse, that copy might be undeletable. In that case, you must open the Files app and visit the /DCIM/Camera folder to ensure that the image is really gone. If not, use the Files app to remove it.

4. If you use Dropbox, and you have automatic photo backup, open the Dropbox app and check the Camera Uploads folder.

If you see a copy of the image in that folder, long-press to select it. Tap the Action Overflow and choose Delete. Tap the DELETE button to confirm.

But you’re not done!

Visit on a computer and click the Deleted Files link. Select the file you thought was gone and choose Delete Permanently. Click the Delete Permanently button to confirm.

5. As long as you’re using a computer, visit and check your online Photos to ensure that a copy of the image doesn’t exist on that site as well.

You shouldn’t find one if you removed the photo from the Photos app.

Now if you’d rather not endure these steps, I have a simple trick: Take all the weird and kinky photos you like, but first place the phone or tablet into Airplane Mode. Then have at it. When you’re done or feeling remorse, delete the images as described in Steps 1 and 2. Then you can disable Airplane Mode and nothing is uploaded to the Internet.

Or — here’s a thought — just be smart and don’t use a mobile device to take such photos. That’s probably the best advice.

Update September 15, 2017. The folks at Cloudwards would like me to refer to you to their page on uploading to Google Drive. If I post this item here, then they’ll stop bugging me about sharing the link.

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