After announcing changes to its Photos High-quality storage policy in November 2020, Google is now clarifying what will happen to your present and future photos as of June 1, 2021. Google has introduced a new “Storage saver” tier for allocating your photos against your storage quota, as well as a “Review and delete” tool, ahead of these changes in its storage policy.
What is Google Photos Storage Saver?
The “Storage Saver” tier is just rebranded “High quality” storage, which we’ve been utilizing to back up our photos on Google Photos. Google will stop offering free High Quality uploads on June 1st, 2021, which is what prompted the renaming.
The name change from “High Quality” to “Storage Saver” is intended to make consumers aware that using the “High Quality” option for photo backups actually results in compressed, lower-quality photographs. While you will be able to upload your images in either “Original quality” or “Storage Saver” mode, both will use up your Google account’s 15GB free storage limit.
Is Storage Saver the same as High Quality?
Yes, absolutely. The quality of photographs and videos will stay the same under Storage Saver as it was under High Quality, as previously stated.
Aside from the name, Google hasn’t made any technical modifications to Storage Saver’s backup quality. If you choose “Storage Saver,” your images will be compressed and shrunk to 16 megapixels, and videos over 1080p will be downsized to 1080p resolution.
Despite the fact that images backed up using the “Storage Saver” tier take up less space than photographs backed up using the “Original quality” tier, they will still count against your storage allowance. All current “High quality” or “Storage Saver” photos submitted before June 1, 2021, however, will not count against the quota and will continue to be backed up for free. The images you upload after this date will take up space on your Google account storage.
Reduce Storage with “Review and delete” tool
Google has released a new “Review and delete” tool that allows you to identify and eliminate Blurry photographs, Screenshots, and Large photographs and movies from your picture library. All photographs and movies that count toward your Google Account storage will appear when you select one of these options.
You can then select pictures and videos that you no longer want to keep on Google Photos’ cloud and delete them from your account to reclaim some space going forward.
What happens to “High quality” uploads on non-Google phones?
- All of your “High quality” and “Original quality” images stored up after June 1, 2021, will go against the 15GB limit of your free Google account if you’re using a smartphone that isn’t built by Google. While images in Original quality have always counted toward your Google Account storage quota, Google will now start counting photographs in High and Express quality.All of your High quality and Express quality images backed up before June 1, 2021, however, will remain free of charge and will not count towards your Google Account storage.Check out these hints to figure out which photos and backups are included in your Google Account storage:
Original quality photos and videos backed up before and after June 1, 2021, WILL take up space on your Google Account storage.
- High quality (Storage Saver) and Express quality photos and videos backed up before June 1, 2021, WILL NOT count toward your Google Account storage.
- High quality (Storage Saver) backups after June 1, 2021, WILL count toward your Google Account storage.
All non-Google phone users on both Android and iOS will be subject to the aforesaid set of rules. This means that if you possess a handset from Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi, Huawei, or another manufacturer, your images will count against your Google Account storage, even if they’re backed up under the new “Storage Saver” tier.
Google says that it will continue to notify users who are nearing their account’s 15GB limit and also offers this tool to show you an estimate of how long your current storage will last and how much storage you currently have unused. If that doesn’t satiny you, you can use the “Review and delete” tool that we explained above.
I have “X” GB of photos backed up. Would it count towards the 15GB limit?
Yes and no.
If you use this tool to check your current Google Photographs storage, you’ll be able to see how much space your photos and videos take up. Let’s assume Google Photos is currently taking up 3GB of your 15GB of Google storage. This 3GB is taken up by photographs and movies that weren’t compressed using the “High quality (Storage Saver)” or “Express quality” tiers, but were instead backed up in “Original quality.”
All of your photographs and videos from the “High quality (Storage Saver)” category will be lost in this 3GB of storage. In fact, until June 1, 2021, you can upload items in “High quality” to store as many photos and movies as possible without them counting against your storage allowance.
Google will only begin counting freshly uploaded content of any quality toward your account storage on June 1, 2021.
Yes, the “X” GB of photos and movies that are already occupying space on your Google account will continue to count toward the 15GB limit. But, no, all of your other “High quality” and “Express quality” files stored before June 1, 2021 will be there for free, taking up none of your 15GB..
What kind of “free” storage do you get for your Google Pixel?
For non-Google smartphones, we’ve already ruled out any form of free or unlimited backup alternatives, but what about backups if you own a Google Pixel device? Until the Pixel 5, all Google Pixel phones will offer free limitless storage for photographs and videos backed up directly from the phone. The backup quality and quota will vary depending on the Pixel device you own.
Pixel 3a/XL, Pixel 4/XL, Pixel 4A/5G, and Pixel 5
- Unlimited and free uploads in the “High quality (Storage Saver)” tier.
- Content backed up in “Original quality” will count towards storage.
- Unlimited and free uploads in “Original quality” through January 31, 2022, and existing photos will remain in “Original quality” forever.
- After January 31, 2022, you get to save photos and videos at “High quality (Storage Saver)” for free.
- After January 31, 2022, “Original quality” backups will count toward your Google account storage.
- Unlimited and free uploads in “Original quality” through January 16, 2021, and existing photos will remain in “Original quality” forever.
- After January 16, 2021, you can save photos and videos at “High quality (Storage Saver)” for free.
- After January 16, 2021, backups in “Original quality” will take up space on your Google account storage.
- Unlimited and free uploads in “Original quality” forever.
- Can NOT upload in “High quality” tier.
Should you expect free and unlimited “High quality” uploads on future Pixels?
The free limitless “High quality” (or “Original quality” for some Pixel models) uploads offered for recent Pixel phones do not imply that you should buy the next generation of Pixel phones, which could arrive later this year. Google previously told The Verge that future Pixels will not include unlimited photo storage for free. So, the only option to keep enjoying free and unlimited “High quality” uploads is to get your hands on a Pixel 5 or a device that supports free uploads earlier.
That’s all there is to know about Google Photos Storage Saver and the alterations it makes to your smartphone’s “High quality” uploads.