Google Photos launched in 2015 with unlimited backup at a reduced but good enough quality for most users. The company announced today that it’s ending this practice next year, though existing uploads will not be affected.
Starting on June 1, 2021, new photo and video uploads will count towards the 15GB of free storage included with every Google Account. This change is meant to keep pace with the growing amount of data being created. Google Photos has over a billion users today with 4 trillion uploaded photos/videos, and 28 billion added weekly.
Google is quick to specify that existing photos and videos uploaded in “High quality” — where images bigger than 16 megapixels and clips over 1080p are shrunk down — before that date will not count towards the storage limit. Photos will keep offering this compressed backup option moving forward as a way to let people maximize their storage capacity.
This means that photos and videos backed up before June 1, 2021 will still be considered free and exempt from the storage limit. You can verify your backup quality at any time in the Photos app by going to back up & sync in Settings.
Additionally, the company says that “over 80 percent of you should still be able to store roughly three more years worth of memories with your free 15 GB of storage.” Meanwhile, Google is building two tools to manage storage.
Google Photos has a new “personalized estimate” for how long it could take to max out storage that takes into account backup frequency. Next year, another utility inside Photos will highlight dark or blurry photos and large videos that you might want to delete to conserve space.
Those that have uploaded in “Original quality” will not be impacted by these changes. Meanwhile, Pixel phones (1-5) uploading in High quality will be exempted.
Google is pushing users to its One subscription service for extra storage and other perks, like a VPN. Plans start at $1.99/month for 100GB, $2.99 (200GB), $9.99 (2TB) and beyond. The three entry tiers have annual payment options: $19.99, $29.99, and $99.99, respectively.
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