Google Photos Is Killing One Of Its Best Features Starting On June 1st, 2021
Chucking images up into the cloud is perhaps the easiest way to store the massive number of photos that we take with our smartphones. Making it even more enticing was Google’s offer of “unlimited high-quality storage for free” through Google Photos. This meant that anyone could keep whatever images they wanted with no storage limit penalty. However, starting June 1st, 2021, Google is ending this offer and counting uploads toward the Google One limit of 15GB total.
Google Photos' free high-quality uploads has been a nice feature for anyone that has used the service on an Android or iOS device. Pixel 5 and earlier devices will still have the unlimited high-quality images perk, so you will not have to worry there. For everyone else, however, Google’s support page about the new storage policy says the following:
Starting June 1st, 2021, High quality and Express quality content will count towards your Google Account storage. Once you reach your storage limit, you can either subscribe to Google One (where available) for additional storage or delete content in order to continue with the free storage option in Photos.If you were someone who put everything into Google Photos, you don't have to panic right now. First, “High quality and Express quality photos and videos backed up before June 1st, 2021 won’t count against your Google Account storage." Second, Google will not just go deleting photos that go over the limit once these changes go into effect. Google writes that after June 1st, 2021, “If you're over quota for 24 months, your content may be impacted,” so you have time to get your storage situation squared away. Most people, as Google explains, will not even really come close to the 15GB limit. If you do get close, though, you can pay just $1.99/mo for the 100GB Google One plan.
It certainly stinks that the unlimited high-quality storage for photos feature is going away, but at least Google is not charging exorbitant prices for storing photos with Google One. If you end up taking enough photos to fill up 15GB of storage, you can likely afford the $1.99/mo fee. Alternatively, you could get a Pixel 4a for $9/month and get unlimited high-quality uploads that way. Whichever way you slice it, though, Google Photos unlimited high-quality image uploads will soon be a thing of the past.