Android, unlike iOS, never gave me the impression of user protection first. The openness of the file system, the ability to download software from anywhere, and the ease of obtaining root rights only reinforced my belief that they did not bother much about security. But over time, Google began to pay more and more attention to this aspect, gradually strengthening the protective mechanisms of the operating system. The only pity is that sometimes it hurts users.
The Scoped Storage mechanism, which appeared in Android 11 and was intended to prevent applications from accessing each other’s data, went sideways for the owners of non-pixel devices. The first to sound the alarm was Google Photos users, who found that after the update, all the convenience of Google’s cloud service had come to naught.
Due to system limitations, the application has become much more difficult to use. The procedures for deleting and editing pictures from the smartphone’s memory began to require additional confirmation, and synchronization began to work intermittently.
What Scoped Storage Does?
To make your claims clearer, take a look at these screenshots. The first pair is the usual “Google Photos” interface, which we are all used to for a long time, and how you usually delete pictures.
And here is already shown deleting pictures in Google Photos on Android 11. The service requires additional confirmation of the action because it cannot directly access the standard Gallery application and delete a photo.
Due to the operation of the Scoped Storage mechanism, the smartphone must obtain permission from the user to perform this kind of manipulation, because the second application is involved in the case. And since Google restricts them to interact with each other’s data, the deletion essentially has to be done twice.
Why Photos Won’t Sync on Android
But this insanity does not end there. Due to Scoped Storage, “Google Photos” stopped syncing changes between devices normally. If you entered the service from a computer or another smartphone on an older version of Android and deleted photos, videos, or edited something in them, the changes will not be applied automatically. For this to happen, you will need to take an Android 11 smartphone, open Google Photos on it, and open a special dialog box that appears there.
There you will see a notification that automatic syncing is disabled. To re-enable it, you will need to check the changes made from the other device and either confirm their application or discard them. Sounds cool because Google cares about our safety. But think for yourself: now you are deprived of the opportunity to conveniently use a service that used to just work, and now requires confirmation of each step. That is, automation, as you know, in the end.
Is it correct? It’s hard to say for sure. On the one hand, Google seems to be trying to improve the security of devices running Android, preventing unauthorized applications from obtaining data from others. But, on the other hand, everything was done so clumsy that now it does not provide any convenience, but, on the contrary, interferes. Therefore, I would prefer to be able to disable this mechanism, rather than be guilty of using it all the time.