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Google Photos is not detecting faces? Check these 5 solutions

google photos face recognition not working

There are a few worthy alternatives when it comes to photo cloud storage and management but some features we get with Google Photos are really hard to find elsewhere. Face grouping is one of those features that make your life so much easier and your navigation through the vast photo library a much better experience. Sadly, it’s not available everywhere and, sometimes, even if it’s available it doesn’t work as intended. Some users report that Google Photos is not detecting faces anymore on Android. And we have a few solutions to recommend below.

Why is Google Photos Face grouping not working?

You can get Google Photos to recognize a person in your photo library by enabling the Face grouping feature. Have in mind that this is a lengthy process and it can take up to a couple of weeks for Google Photos to process and arrange everything. After that, the only thing remaining is to access People (or People & Pets) from the Search bar and assign names to grouped faces.

However, if the feature doesn’t work, you might need to enable it with a VPN, troubleshoot possible app issues, put all photos in an album, or disable/re-enable it. Learn more about it below.

1. Check Google Photos settings

Usually, if you change devices and sign in with the same Google Account, everything should move over. Google Photos is a cloud-based service. However, some users report that the issues with Face Grouping started after they either changed the device or when they switched from Original to Storage saver update quality.

We suggest navigating into settings to see if Face Grouping is enabled. If that’s the case, you might need to wait for some time for the algorithm to do its job. Also, if you’re missing certain people, make sure that you haven’t hidden them earlier.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Google Photos.
  2. Tap on the account icon at the top right corner and open Photos settings.
  3. Open Group similar faces.
  4. Enable Face grouping.Google Photos is not detecting faces
  5. Now, get back and open Search.
  6. Next to People (or People & Pets), select View all.
  7. Click on the 3-dots menu in the Search bar and open Hide & show people.
  8. Tap on photos of hidden faces to un-hide people.

In addition, if you can’t seem to enable Face grouping or don’t see the option at all, there’s a workaround. As you probably know, Face grouping in Google Photos is not available in all countries. If you want to enable it in an unsupported region, you can do it by following the first VPN-related step in this article.

2. Add photos to an album

Many users managed to force Google Photos to recognize, tag, and start grouping faces with a workaround. Reportedly, if you place all your photos in a single album, this will trigger the Face grouping feature. Once you get all the face tags, you can remove photos and delete the album. Although, we recommend keeping it and adding new images every time you upload them to the cloud.

If this didn’t work and Google Photos is still not detecting faces, try clearing the cache from the app.

3. Clear cache from Google Photos

If the issues persist, try clearing the cache from the Google Photos app on Android. This is a long-shot solution since we are inclined to believe that this is a server-side issue and doesn’t have much to do with the apps or devices you use to access Google Photos. Still, you can give it a shot because there’s a slight chance that face recognition is working but the results are not visible in the app.

Here’s how to clear the cache from Google Photos on Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Open Photos.
  4. Tap Storage.
  5. Clear the cache, restart your device, and check for improvements.Google Photos is not detecting faces

4. Uninstall updates from Google Photos

As an alternative to the previous solution, you can try uninstalling Google Photos or, in most cases, uninstalling updates from the app. This will reset the app and it will force it to re-sync the library. Hopefully, once it does, you’ll see face groups again.

Here’s how to uninstall updates from Google Photos:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Select Photos.
  4. Tap on the 3-dots menu and Uninstall updates.
  5. Alternatively, find Google Photos in Play Store and tap Uninstall. Open the Play Store once again and update/install Google Photos.
  6. After that, sign in with your Google account in Google Photos, choose your preferred options, and wait for the library to sync.

5. Disable and re-enable Face grouping if Google Photos is not detecting faces

Finally, we can only recommend disabling and re-enabling the option. Have in mind that there are no guarantees nor this is a definitive solution. For some, Google Photos Face grouping got back to normal, for others this did nothing.

However, patience here is essential. You need to wait for some time before the algorithm kickstarts Face grouping. We’re talking about services used by millions on daily basis and it can take some time for changes to be made.

You can always check for faces in Search > People & Pets. To disable Face grouping, open Photos > Account pic > Photos settings > Group similar faces. Once there, disable Face grouping, clear the app cache, and re-enable it afterward. Hopefully, after some time, Google Photos will start detecting faces again.

Some users go as far as to suggest downloading all photos and re-upload them on a brand new Google Account. We’re not dismissing this but it’s a boring task that will take a lot of time and effort and, still, you can’t be sure that it’ll work.

Also, if the Google Photos face recognition is not working after all those steps, we suggest reporting the problem to Google. You can do that in the Google Photos app, under Help & feedback.

And, on that note, we can conclude this article. If you have some alternative solutions that we missed mentioning, share them in the comments section below. Thank you for reading and have a nice day.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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