In a blog post, Google has announced that it is halting unlimited storage for High Quality photos starting June 1, 2021. Any High Quality photos uploaded after that will be subject to the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google account, with additional storage coming at a fee.
Uploading full-resolution images have always counted against personal storage on Google, but any images that were uploaded and subjected to Google’s compression were able to be stored without limit. From now until June of next year, that will remain the case. But after June 1, any new photos and videos uploaded will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage purchased as a Google One member. Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail, and Photos.
“This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage,” Shimrit Ben-Yair, Vice President of Google Photos writes. “And, as always, we uphold our commitment to not use information in Google Photos for advertising purposes. We know this is a big shift and may come as a surprise, so we wanted to let you know well in advance and give you resources to make this easier.”
Ben-Yair made sure to clarify that any photos uploaded in High Quality before June 1, 2021 will not count towards the free 15 GB of storage, and that means that photos and videos backed up before that date will still be considered free and exempt from the storage limit.
If you have a Pixel smartphone (versions 1 through 5), photos uploaded from that device will also not be impacted by this change.
“In June 2021, you’ll be able to access a new free tool in the Photos app to easily manage your backed up photos and videos,” Ben-Yair continues. “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.”
Google has been making significant changes both publicly and behind the scenes as it transitions all of its services to Google One. Specifically with Google Photos, it has been reported that many new editing features are soon to be locked behind a paywall.
If you want to increase your Google storage, Google says that you can do so at any time and plans start at $1.99 through Google One.