Google Photos ‘Unlimited’ Storage Reportedly Being Capped

Google Photos ‘Unlimited’ Storage Reportedly Being Capped

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When Google Photos was announced, many of us thought very highly of the idea. It seemed like Google had taken what they learned from G+ Photos and added some extra touches to polish the experience, making it something that more people were likely to actually utilize. Now however, the much-lauded ‘Unlimited Storage’ element may not be quite what it seemed. Here’s what we can gather so far…


Reports have come in from multiple G+ and Reddit users who have attempted to back up a large number of photos (roughly 20,000) via the nominally unlimited ‘High Quality’ option, describing a sudden inexplicable barrier stopping them from uploading any more. This barrier is presumably a data, not a file number cap, as the number of photos uploaded seems to change from person to person, meaning that at the moment we cannot define what the exact limit is. The barrier can then be lifted by purchasing more Drive storage from Google, but of course this merely extends the limit, meaning that continuing to upload will run the risk of being halted once more. This cap can be recreated, and so far we haven’t heard of anyone backing up similar numbers of photos via this method without hitting it.


Of course Google Photos is free, so it’s not unreasonable to expect a limited amount of cloud space, but having advertised the service as unlimited, Google really needs to clarify exactly what that entails. Nothing jumps out in the terms and conditions regarding this cap, and Google hasn’t responded to explain or even acknowledge it yet, so there is definitely a lack of communication here, assuming they were aware of it beforehand. This is the key, as it is likely that this is just a bug; a limit leftover or copied from a previous service. This would explain the lack of word from Google, although if true, it is quite an oversight on their part. One other interesting theory is that an unspecified cap prevents those wishing to abuse this service from overloading Google’s servers, whilst leaving the vast majority of users unaffected. We’ve reached out to Google but haven’t yet received a response, as we’re particularly interested in their Fair Usage Policy, which is a monthly limit, similar to other advertised ‘unlimited’ policies. This is where we need your help!


Have you run in to this storage cap? Can you tell how many photos you uploaded, how much space you were limited at, and at what quality you upload them? This problem is unlikely to affect many users, as uploading 20,000 photos is not a common practise, but it is still something that should be highlighted. Reports across the internet are invariably confused, and we at XDA try to only post what we know and avoid scaremongering, so reliable data is key here.


We spoke to a Google spokesperson who has confirmed that the issue has since been resolved. All users should be free to continue uploading their photos again.

Lend us a hand and post your experiences in the comments below!