It's been nearly a year since Google Photos added a Memories section at the top of your gallery to showcase photos you've taken around the same time but in previous years. During its launch, Google promised that to avoid painful moments, you'd be able to hide people, pets, dates, and more from showing up there, but those settings were very limited at the beginning. It isn't until the recent Photos interface update that more controls were added, and only recently, did the option to hide specific dates show up. In this tutorial, we'll look at all the different ways — new and old — you can hide and disable these highlights in the Photos app.
Hide AI-generated creations
To access the Memories section's settings in Photos, you need to open the app, tap your display image in the top right, then go to Photos settings > Memories. Once there, you can see all the different controls over content types.
The first one I'll address is under the Advanced section. It lets you hide AI-generated creations from your memories. Those include animations, color pops, collages, and stylized photos. That ensures highlights will only include pics you've snapped and uploaded to the service, and not the countless creations that get automatically made from them.
Hide people and pets
Moving on to your photos, the option you're most likely interested in is the ability to hide specific people and pets. Be it a person you're no longer in touch with, a pet who's currently bouncing and napping in a better place, or a dead relative/friend whose memory is still too raw, the reasons are many, but the execution is the same. Choose Hide people & pets in Memories' settings, and you'll be able to quickly tap to hide any face. Keep in mind, though, that this applies to creations and search too and not just the Memories section.
In the first screenshot below, toward the middle, you'll see that I've hidden Nala, a dog I was fostering. That means pics of Nala will no longer show up in Memories, but also her face won't be accessible from the People & Pets section in the Search tab, searching for her name won't yield results, and Photos won't suggest any new creations with her in them. Her snaps will still be in my gallery and any albums I added them to, though, but they won't pop up inadvertently in other places.
In the second screenshot, you can see that Photos had already automatically hidden plenty of faces it didn't deem important enough for me. Those are either statues, faces from posters, or even passersby or nearby people that got inadvertently snapped when I was taking a photo of something or someone else. Obviously I don't want to see those in my highlights, but in case you want to re-enable one of them that's special to you, you can scroll down through all the faces and find them towards the bottom.
Hide specific dates
Besides hiding faces, you can completely bury memories from specific dates. In that same Memories section in settings, tap Hide dates > Add dates. You can pick several timespans, going from a single day to multiple months or even years.
Images taken during any day that falls within those exclusions won't show up in your highlights. For example, after hiding pics from August 2016, 2019, and 2020, the Memories section in Photos only shows me pics from two (2018), three (2017), and five (2015) years ago.
Disable some or all Memories
There's one more section in the Memories settings page called Featured memories. Opening it lets you pick which kinds of souvenirs you'd like to see: those from previous years, recent moments, or themed images for specific people, places, and things. You can turn off each of these individually, but toggling them all has the side effect of entirely disabling the Memories section in Photos. If you'd prefer not to be reminded of anything unless you actively browse your photo library, this is the option for you.
With these simple settings, you should be able to control what Photos surfaces for your recollection, and stop the app from reigniting any unnecessary woes or bad souvenirs. Hopefully places and things will be added to the exclusions soon, to allow us to disable pics associated with specific locations, items, foods, and more.
- Nick Cipriani