Google won't offer free unlimited photo backups after June 1st

Igor Bonifacic
·Contributing Writer

Google plans to discontinue one of the best perks of Google Photos. Starting on June 1st, 2021, any new “high quality” photos or videos you upload to the service will count against a shared 15GB cap that will include your Google Workspace documents, slides and spreadsheets. Once you passed that cap, you’ll need to pay for Google One storage.

Any “high quality” photos and videos you upload before June 1st won’t count against the cap, giving you some time to decide if you want to continue using the service. Moreover, Pixel owners won’t have to worry about buying additional storage, as they’ll be exempt from the cap.

In Photos, “high quality” photos and videos are images and clips the service has compressed to make them take up less space. You can also upload content without compressing it, but that has always counted against your storage cap and will continue to do so. Since the release of Photos back in 2015, one of the best aspects of the service has been the fact you’ve been able to upload your memories without worrying about having to delete anything.

Google Photos management tool
Google Photos management tool

According to Google, the change of policy “allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage.” To prepare people for the change, Google plans to introduce a new tool that it says will help Photos users more easily manage their backed-up content. The feature will surface photos that are blurry or dark and suggest you delete them to save space. The price of Google One isn’t changing. As before, $2 per month gets you access to 100GB of storage. What’s more, Google says it expects over 80 percent Photos users won’t have to worry about the new cap for another three years.

In a way, Photos always seemed too good to be true, and it was only a matter of time before the company started to look for more ways to monetize the service. Just last week, the company introduced a premium editing feature within Photos that’s only available to Google One subscribers, and a recent APK teardown suggests even more paid features are on the way.