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Why do my photos keep being deleted from my device without me doing so? (But stay in Google Photos)
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Good afternoon everyone. 

Lately I've noticed something happening a lot to me where photos that I have downloaded to my (Android) phone (or even took with my phone) end up being removed from my device, but stay in Google Photos.

This occurs without ANY input from me; that is to say I am not purposely deleting these at all. An unusual pattern I've noticed as well is that it seems to occur to the SAME photos each time (or newer ones for the first time). As well, this occasionally removes entire albums/folders from my Google Photos app on my phone. 

For example, I downloaded a bunch of pictures, put them into a device album/folder (Utilizing the App option in the "..." in the top right called "Move to Folder", then "New Folder") called "D&D Characters", and then today noticed that the entire album/folder was gone, and the photos were gone from my device. They still existed, however, under the "Photos" tab in the bottom-left of the App.

Being curious and wanting to investigate, if I opened the photo and selected "Info" under the "..." options in the top-right of the photo, the usual file path of "/storage/emulated/0/Pictures/D&D Characters/1419834706685.jpg" was replaced simply with the file's name "1419834706685.jpg", but no file-path to indicate it was on my phone any longer - the photo only existed on the Google Photos back-up/cloud/sync. 

In further noting, any photos that had the file-path gone, I could click "Save to Device" in the top-right options menu, and it changed the Info to include the file-path again, and I could then move it to an album/folder on my device again. I have done this SEVERAL times before with many of the same photos, and it ends up downloading them to a "Downloads" album/folder in the Google Photos app, and I have to RE-organize into the albums/folders they were in (For clarification, I do NOT mean I am moving them while hooking my phone up to my computer. I don't do any organization on my computer file Explorer, on my Google Account on my PC, or outside of the Google Photos app on my phone). But then a while later (I don't know the exact timing), the photo will once again be removed from my device and stay saved in Google Photos. 

I have NEVER clicked the "Free Up Space" option, to clarify as well. 

I KNOW others have experienced this before, and I have noticed threads from last year, or further back experiencing almost the EXACT same issue. There's generally no true answer to why this occurs, if there's a proper fix, and in many cases an expert responds, says they'll follow up, and then goes permanently silent. 

I want to fix this issue on my phone so I don't have to continually scroll through 100+ photos and click "Save to Device" every week or two. Can anyone with Google give a full answer to this issue and address it? I've seen a few instances where people say "It's impossible to create folders using Google Photos", but if that's the case, why would the option be CALLED "Move to Folder" ?

Anyway, that's my current issue, problem, rant, what-have-you. Looking for answers and any assistance is GREATLY appreciated. Thank you!
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Hello there, depending on your phone model, you might have a smart storage feature that auto deletes photos after they've been backed up. This setting is usually under Settings > Storage > Smart Storage.
 
If you don't want it, you can turn it off or you can set it to only delete photos that are too old.
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Darn, I thought we were onto something. I checked but it appears the option to delete photos/videos over 90 days old is off. 

Thank you for the idea though. Would have been awesome if that were the case. For reference as well, sometimes this happens to very new photos. For example the D&D photos I mentioned are only from a week or two back, but they disappear as well.
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PeteranDi - I'm not moving it to another device. I'm storing them on my phone, which is generally where I download them. I use Google Photos on my phone to manage my pictures, videos, gifs, and photos. 

I organize them into albums/folders, but I've not been moving them to any other devices.
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@Peter no worries.
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Thanks Austin, you explained the behaviour on my device as well. Except that when I download pictures I tell the download manager to put them in a specific folder straight away. They are not moved there later. Same result - they disappear.
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