Google Photos adds a storage management tool ahead of unlimited backup changes
That dreaded day is about to arrive. Unlimited backup storage for Google Photos will be gone soon. Google has offered users free, high-quality backups for all photos and videos for probably as long as we can remember. And that was precisely one of the biggest selling points of the platform. Google even went so far as to offer free backups for full quality pictures rather than just high-quality ones as a perk for Pixel owners back when the first Google Pixel smartphones came out. Now, though, while you can still use Google Photos for free, you’ll be limited to however many pictures can fit in the 15 GB that is offered to all Google accounts for free, and if you need more than that, you’ll have to pay.
Google Photos is, however, adding tools to help free users have an easier time with that 15 GB of storage, or even for those paying for more storage. Google is adding a new storage management tool that can help you keep a check on your Google Photos storage and get rid of pictures that you might not want to keep. The app will analyze your pictures looking for things like blurry photos, screenshots, and large videos that you might not want to keep in the cloud. Then, it will give you the option to review and delete these pictures so that they don’t count against your Google account’s storage.
Google would also like to remind you of some other things they’re doing to make the transition easier. Pictures that you upload to Google Photos from today before June 1st will not count against your Google Storage even after that date and will still enjoy the unlimited benefit: it will only apply to new pictures you upload to the platform. After the changes come into effect, users will also get features like an estimate on how much will you be able to fit in your storage, easy options for getting more storage (the 100 GB tier costs $1.99 a month), and the “High quality” category will be renamed to “Storage saver” to differentiate it from full quality pictures, which already count against your phone’s storage.
If you have a Google Pixel phone, you might have better luck with unlimited backups. Users of all Pixel phones from the Pixel 5 down to the original 2016 Google Pixel will still get unlimited high-quality backups, and if you were promised unlimited, original-quality backups when you bought your phone (a benefit Google doesn’t offer anymore with new Pixel phones), Google will honor that as well. The original Google Pixels will get unlimited, original-quality backups indefinitely, the Pixel 2 lineup got them up until January 16th, 2021 (and they’ll still get unlimited storage saver backups indefinitely), and the Pixel 3 lineup gets them up until January 1st, 2022, after which you’ll only get unlimited storage saver backups going forward.
We’re bummed to see Google end unlimited backups, but these changes do go a long way towards providing greener pastures for free users that plan to keep using Google Photos.