Today, Google Photos VP Shimrit Ben-Yair announced the end of Google Photos’ unlimited photo storage policy. The plan already came with significant caveats: Unlimited storage was for the tier Google considers “High Quality,” which only includes compressed media, capped at 16 megapixels for photos and 1080p for videos. Uncompressed or higher resolution photos and videos saved in original quality count towards the user’s Google Drive account limit of 15 GiB.
From June 2021, high-quality photos and videos will also count towards a user’s Google Drive storage capacity. That said, if you already have a terabyte of high-quality photos and videos stored in Photos, don’t panic: the policy change will affect new ones only photos and videos taken or saved after June 2021. Media already stored in Google Photos will be covered by the exception and will not be affected by the new policy change.
The original quality, again, either uncompressed or a resolution greater than 16mp still image/1080p video, is also unaffected, as those files were already subject to the user’s Google Drive quota. Any additional capacity purchased through a Google One membership also applies to media storage. If you rent 100 GiB of capacity at Google One’s $2/month or $20/year plans, that capacity also applies to your Google Photos data.
Finally, users of Pixel smartphones also get a benefit: high-quality media uploaded from Pixel phones, first through fifth generation, will continue to enjoy free unlimited storage even after June 2021.
If you’re not sure how long your available storage space will last, you can get an estimate at https://photos.google.com/storage. That page uses the rate at which a Google account has stored data, including Drive, Gmail, and Photos, and projects the date when that account hits capacity limits.
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