What will you do once Google Photos ends unlimited backups?

What will you do once Google Photos ends unlimited backups?

Google Photos has been one of Google’s most popular services as it lets users back up their photos online for free. But starting next month, Google will no longer offer free unlimited backups to users – other than those who already own a Pixel smartphone. Instead, the company will count photo uploads against their Google Account storage quota and will require users buy a Google One subscription to continue backing up past the 15GB free storage limit. The change was announced in November last year so we’ve known about it for quite a while, but with the policy change set to go into effect soon, we wanted to know what you plan to do?


Google Photos lets you upload photos to the cloud and access them on any operating system, and this is the primary reason it became so popular right after its launch. In the past, only photos uploaded in “Original Quality” counted against Google’s storage quota, but photos uploaded in “High Quality” were free and unlimited.

The original Pixel phones came with support for unlimited uploads in Original Quality and subsequent Pixel devices until the Pixel 4 came with 3 years of free Original Quality uploads. With this policy change, only current Pixel phones will have free and unlimited storage for High Quality photos. Unfortunately, Google will not offer free unlimited storage to future Pixel phones, so even future Pixel users will have to either pay for Google One or look for alternatives.

Thankfully, the rule only applies to photos that you upload to Google Photos after May 31st. So if you do not wish to pay, you should upload your photos right away.

Once this limit is enforced, there are a few options. The most straightforward option is to buy a Google One subscription that starts at $1.99 a month for 100GB or upload your photos to another cloud storage service like Amazon Photos. You can also choose to backup to local storage devices such as hard drives or external SSDs, or get a NAS to avoid having to manually connect an external drive every time you want access to those photos.

How will you back up your photos in the future? Will you stick with Google Photos or will you move to another service or local storage? Let us know in the comments below. 

About author

Tushar Mehta
Tushar Mehta

I am a Senior Editor at XDA. I have been reviewing gadgets for over five years and gained experience by working for prominent tech publications in India before joining XDA. I enjoy fiddling with all smart objects and my love for software customization dates back to the Symbian S60 days. I like to devote my spare time idealizing the romantic union of technology and philosophy or spacing out on Pink Floyd. You may email me at [email protected]

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