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Google Photos to discontinue unlimited storage from June 2021; here’s all you need to know

Starting June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account

November 12, 2020 / 10:50 PM IST

Announcing updates to its storage policy in a blog post by Vice President Shimrit Ben-Yair on November 11, Google Photos said it is discontinuing unlimited free storage for users from June 1, 2021.

“Starting June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member. Your Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail and Photos,” Ben-Yair wrote in the blog.

Acknowledging that many use the product to “store memories”, the change he said, will allow to “keep pace with demand for storage… meet needs over the long haul… build Google Photos for the future and uphold commitment to not use information for advertising purposes.”

So, here’s all you need to know:

>> Existing High quality photos and videos are exempt from this change: Any existing high quality photos or videos uploaded before June 1, 2021 will be considered free and will not count toward the 15 GB of free storage limit.

For this, users can verify backup quality at any time in the Photos app by going to back up & sync in Settings.

>> Changes do not affect photos and videos back up: If you back up your photos and videos in Original quality, these changes do not affect you. As always, your Original quality photos and videos will continue to count toward your 15 GB of free storage across your Google Account.

>> Users on Pixel 1-5 devices not impacted: If you have a Pixel 1-5, photos uploaded from that device won’t be impacted. Photos and videos uploaded in High quality from that device will continue to be exempt from this change, even after June 1, 2021.

>> There’s no action you need to take today: This change does not take effect for another six months, so you don’t need to do anything right now. And once this change does take effect on June 1, 2021, over 80 percent of you should still be able to store roughly three more years’ worth of memories with your free 15 GB of storage. As your storage nears 15 GB, we will notify you in the app and follow up by email.

>> Understand and manage your quota: To understand how this impacts you, you can see a personalized estimate for how long your storage may last. This estimate takes into account how frequently you back up photos, videos and other content to your Google Account.

>> Free tool manager: In June 2021, you’ll be able to access a new free tool in the Photos app to manage your backed up photos and videos. This tool will help you review the memories you want to keep while also surfacing shots you might prefer to delete, like dark or blurry photos or large videos.

>> What to do if you want more storage? Pay up: If you decide you want more space, you can always expand your storage through Google One. Plans start at $1.99 per month in the United States for 100 GB of storage and include additional member benefits like access to Google experts, shared family plans and more.

It has been over five years since Google Photos launched. Since then, the app hosts more than 4 trillion photos, while 28 billion photos and videos are uploaded to it for storage each week.

Jocelyn Fernandes
first published: Nov 12, 2020 11:10 am