The Pixel 4 does not come with free original quality Google Photos storage
The headlining feature of the Pixel series has always been the camera. While other aspects have failed to match the competition, camera performance has always been a compelling reason to buy the phones. Google has always offered 3 years of free, original quality Google Photos storage to Pixel owners to fully take advantage of the cameras. Unfortunately, it looks like that offer will not be continued with the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL.
The unlimited “original quality” Google Photos storage offer started with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL. With the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google clarified the details of the offer and said the free storage lasts for 3 years. The offer was then carried on with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL last year. This year, it looks like Google has put the Pixel 4 on the same playing field as every other Android device.
No 3 free years of unlimited Photos storage in OG quality. Just cleared app data and didn’t get any message on it.
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) October 15, 2019
Our Editor in Chief, Mishaal Rahman, is at the Made by Google event and he’s spending time with the Pixel 4. He noticed that the 3 years of free original quality Google Photos storage is not present on the device. You get free high-quality storage, but not original quality. Every Android device gets the high-quality option, but the free original-quality storage offer was unique to the Pixel series. This is confirmed in the fine print on the Pixel 4 Google Store page as well:
Google Photos offers free unlimited online storage for all photos and videos uploaded in high quality. Photos and videos uploaded in high quality may be compressed or resized. Requires Google Account. Data rates may apply. g.co/help/photostorage
This is a pretty big bummer for Pixel fans. The free original-quality storage offer was a really nice incentive to buy a Pixel. You always knew your photos would be saved in their highest possible quality. If you would like to continue backing up photos in their original quality, you will need to pay for a Google One subscription (which Google is including a free 3-month trial).