Frequently Asked Question: FAQ:

How do I prevent my photos from being backed up overseas?

Other FAQs

Backups are usually an excellent idea, but with regulations saying that patient data should not exit the country, and with security breaches in the past, using Apple and Googles backup services is ill-advised. Apple had a series of high profile cases of unauthorised access to photos stored on iCloud a few years back.

We recommend using a dedicated app like PicSafe where photos never enter your device photo gallery. If you're using the default camera app (or the camera built in to messaging apps), the only way you can comply with privacy regulations is to make sure that backups are turned off. Using PicSafe, therefore, means you can retain the convenience of using iCloud Photo Library or Google Photos for your personal photos.

If you don't want to use PicSafe, you will need to turn off the auto backup services and remove existing offending photos.

Remove all future photos from being backed up

iOS

To turn off auto backup to iCloud:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on your name.
  3. Tap on the iCloud row.
  4. Tap on the Photos row.
  5. Make sure that the iCloud Photo Library switch is off.

Please note, there are many version of iOS. The instructions may vary slightly between versions of iOS. The instructions above, and throughout this article are for iOS 10.3.

Please also note, you should always keep your phone up-to-date with the latest operating system as it has the most recent security measures.

Android

To turn off auto backup to Google Photos:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the menu icon (three horizontal bars) in the top left.
  3. Tap the Settings row.
  4. Tap the Back up & sync row.
  5. Turn the Back up & sync switch off.

Please note, there are many versions of Android in use. The instructions may vary slightly between versions of Android. The instructions above, and throughout this article are for Android 7 (Nougat).

Please also note, you should always keep your phone up-to-date with the latest operating system as it has the most recent security measures. With Android, this can be problematic. Device owners are often at the mercy of when their mobile operator passes on an update provided by Google. Traditionally, the operators are very slow to implement updates.

Remove some existing photos from being backed up

Whether you use PicSafe or turn off auto backup services, you will want to remove existing offending images. To delete photos off your phone is, unfortunately, not as easy as you might think.

iOS

To delete any existing offending images:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the Photos tab.
  3. Navigate to and tap on a photo you want to delete or tap Select and then tap on one or more photos.
  4. Tap the trash can icon.
  5. Tap Delete Photo(s). Doing this places the photos in the “Recently Deleted” album, where they remain for up to 40 days.
  6. Tap on the Albums tab.
  7. Scroll down to and tap on the Recently Deleted folder.
  8. Tap the Select button and select all the photos you want to remove permanently.
  9. Tap the Delete button.
  10. Tap the Delete Photo(s) button.
Android

To delete any existing offending images:

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Tap the Photos tab.
  3. Touch and hold a photo you want to remove. Select any other items you also want to remove.
  4. Tap the trash can icon In the action bar at the top.
  5. Tap the Move to trash button. Doing this places the photos in the “Trash”, where they remain for 60 days.
  6. Tap the menu icon (three horizontal bars) in the top left.
  7. Tap the Trash row.
  8. Tap the menu button (three dots) in the top right.
  9. Select Empty trash.

Unfortunately, on Android, messages and photos are not permanently deleted. When files are “deleted” on Android, really all that happens is the operating system labels the disk space that stores the file as free space. The data is still there, and off-the-shelf data recovery tools can easily recover it. What do we do about this? There are numerous free apps in the Google Play Store, such as Secure Eraser, that will allow you to delete these files properly. Tools like this write over the so-called free space with random data. You should probably install and use a tool like this to remove all "deleted" data.

Remove all existing photos from your phone and from being backed up

If you feel your photo collection to too far gone and you want to remove all photos from your phone, you can do the following.

iOS

To remove all photos from your phone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on your name.
  3. Tap on the iCloud row.
  4. Tap on the Manage Storage row.
  5. Tap on the Photos row.
  6. Tap the Disable & Delete button.
Android

To delete all photos from your phone:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap Storage & USB under the Device category.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the list and tap the Explore option.
  • Navigate to the bottom where you will find the photo album. You can usually find the photos in the DCIM or Pictures folder. It is different for different devices.
  • Tap and hold the folder you wish to remove.
  • Select Delete.

Note, the built-in file manager is only available on Android 6.0 and above. If you are using an earlier version, you will have to go to the Google Play Store App and download a file explorer. Open the File Manager app and then jump to step 4 above.

Unfortunately, on Android, messages and photos are not permanently deleted. When files are “deleted” on Android, really all that happens is the operating system labels the disk space that stores the file as free space. The data is still there, and off-the-shelf data recovery tools can easily recover it. What do we do about this? There are numerous free apps in the Google Play Store, such as Secure Eraser, that will allow you to delete these files properly. Tools like this write over the so-called free space with random data. You should probably install and use a tool like this to remove all "deleted" data.