Google Photos may cost more now, but it still remains one of the best backup services out there for clearing storage on your phone and backing up your photos and videos to the cloud. Now, the Google Files app can automatically delete media from Pixel smartphones that has already been backed up with a feature called “Smart Storage.”

Rolling out now to Pixel phones through the Files by Google app, “Smart Storage” accomplishes a pretty simple task. When activated, the feature will automatically delete photos and videos stored locally on your phone if they’ve already been backed up to Google Photos.

These files are deleted entirely from your phone when this feature is used, but not immediately after they’ve been backed up. Rather, the feature will wait 60 days after the photo/video is taken and uploaded to Google Photos. Notably, too, this feature is turned off by default.

Permanently delete media backed up to Google Photos that’s been on your device for 60 days.

Media automatically deleted will only be available in Google Photos in your chosen quality.

Importantly, this feature only appears to be available on Pixel phones at the moment, as we’re not seeing the feature on Samsung devices using the Files by Google app, but we’re observing it widely rolling out on Pixel devices. It’s unclear if the feature will be made available to other Android phones in time, but it may be early days at this point. Google links to a support page that is not yet live. We’re also seeing evidence that this might be an Android 12-reliant feature.

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Ben Schoon

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