Six months ago, Google had announced a policy change for Google Photos that starting June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member. Every user’s Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail and Photos. There will no longer be unlimited free storage for photos at High Quality resolution, which has been the case for the past 6 years.
Existing High quality photos and videos are exempt from this change. 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. You can verify your backup quality at any time in the Photos app by going to back up & sync in Settings.
Google have also created a personalized estimate of how long your storage may last which takes into account how frequently you back up photos, videos and other content to your Google Account. Google estimates that more than 80 percent of users should still be able to store roughly three more years of memories in High quality with the free 15GB of storage. The average smartphone picture is around 2MB to 6 MB, depending on the phone you’re using. With the allocated storage, that’s more than 3,000 photos, without counting the videos which of course take up more storage. As the storage nears its limit, users will be notified in the app and follow up by email. If you don’t see an estimate, you may not have uploaded many photos and videos to Google Photos, you may be close to your storage limit or your account is provided through work, school, family or another group.
For users who would want to keep using Photos for free, Google are starting to roll out a tool in the Photos app to help you easily manage the photos and videos you’ve backed up that count toward your storage quota. The storage management tool surfaces photos or videos you might want to delete — like blurry photos, screenshots and large videos. Keeping in mind that emails in Gmail and Google Drive files count to the same total, cutting clutter across all services can help free up space for your pictures and videos.
In the Google Photos storage management page, there are five categories for easy “Review & Delete”: Large photos & videos, Blurry photos, Dark photos, Other apps and Screenshots. You can click on any section to review what photos are included and you can choose to delete them from your library.
Google are also renaming the High quality storage tier to Storage saver, while photos and videos will continue to be stored at the same quality. Users can choose the storage option that works best for them, whether that’s storing more photos and videos with Storage saver or backing them up in the same resolution that you took them with Original quality.
If you have exhausted your 15 GB free storage, you can purchase additional storage to continue backing up content through Google One. Plans start at KES 200 per month for 100 GB of storage. Users looking to opt for yearly plans, they start at KES 2100 per year for 100 GB of storage. Both monthly and annual plans have a maximum of 2 TB of storage and include additional member benefits like access to Google experts, shared family plans and more.
For users who own Google Pixel devices, they are exempt from this change, even after June 1st.