Google has announced that after five years of unlimited free high-quality photo backups it will start charging for storage after a 15 GB limit has been used. The change to the policy will start on June 1st, 2021. According to Google, its users have already uploaded over 4 trillion photos to Google Photos and every week users add another 28 billion new photos. According to the article: “Today, more than 4 trillion photos are stored in Google Photos, and every week 28 billion new photos and videos are uploaded.”
End of Free Google Photos Storage
After the June 1st date, any photos you upload to Google Photos will count toward your overall storage limits. The limit is 15 GB for the free tier of Google Drive and that is shared by other Google services including Gmail, Docs, and Photos.
There are a few exemptions to take note of here. Existing photos or videos uploaded before the June 1st, 2021 date won’t count toward the 15 GB of free storage. That means they are grandfathered in and won’t count toward your storage. Also, it means you still have time to enjoy the unlimited “High” quality photo storage until that date. Only photos uploaded after June 1st will begin counting against the cap.
Any photos or videos you’ve uploaded in High quality before June 1, 2021 will not count toward your 15GB of free storage. This means that photos and videos backed up before June 1, 2021 will still be considered free and exempt from the storage limit.
Also, Google Pixel 5 and earlier are exempt from the new change. That means if you own a Pixel 2-5 you will still have unlimited storage for your “High” quality photos. However, photos uploaded at “Original” quality will still count against your free 15 GB of storage.
This is what Google says according to its help page:
If you have a Pixel 5 device or earlier, your current backup quality options and benefits remain unchanged. Uploads in High quality from your Pixel 2-5 devices will continue to receive unlimited free storage.
If you want to keep uploading photos at “High” quality after your 15 GBs has been reached, you will need to purchase a Google One storage plan. Or you can look into other photo storage options like Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Photos, Dropbox, and other online storage options.