Heads up: Google’s unlimited uploads for high-quality photos is ending on June 1st, 2021. That means you only have a few weeks left to back up as many pictures as you can on the service before the new free storage limit kicks in.
After June 1st, any new photos or videos uploaded to Google Photos will count toward the same free 15 GB of storage that all Google Accounts divide across Photos, Gmail, and Drive. If you need more space, you’ll need to buy additional storage
“This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage,” Google Photos VP Shimrit Ben-Yair wrote in the original announcement. “And, as always, we uphold our commitment to not use information in Google Photos for advertising purposes. We know this is a big shift and may come as a surprise, so we wanted to let you know well in advance and give you resources to make this easier.”
If you already have way more than 15 GB of “high quality” photos (i.e. compressed photos weighing in at 16 MB or less) stored on Google Photos, don’t worry: that data won’t be counted toward your free storage after this upcoming change.
What’s more, anything uploaded before June 1st will be grandfathered in as well, so if you use Google Photos as a free backup of non-full-res photos, now’s the time to upload to your heart’s content without denting your quota or wallet.
The Verge notes that Pixel smartphone owners who have enjoyed unlimited original quality photo storage with Google will also be impacted — photos uploaded from those phones after June 1st will only be stored for free in the lower “high quality” and not full res.
It remains to be seen whether Amazon makes any changes in the area of unlimited photo storage as well in response to rising storage demand. The company originally launched free photo storage (including raw photos) for an ultra-affordable $12 a year back in 2015, but it killed off that plan the following year in favor of having unlimited photo storage bundled as a Prime benefit. Amazon Prime members (and now even family members) continue to enjoy free unlimited full-res photo storage and 5GB of space for videos.
Image credits: Header illustration based on stock photo licensed from Depositphotos