It came as a big surprise when Google announced yesterday that it will no longer offer unlimited free storage for high quality photos in Google Photos. Beginning June 1, 2021, users will instead get just 15GB of free storage that comes with every Google Account.
The silver lining of yesterday’s news is that existing Pixel devices are exempt from these new policy changes. That means if you have a Pixel 5 or older, you can continue to get unlimited free storage for high quality photos. It’s a great perk for Google’s phones, and a reason to choose a Pixel device over a competitor.
However, that perk apparently won’t be offered with future Pixel devices. According to Android Central, when the next Google smartphone is released, uploaded photos will count towards the same 15GB quota that comes free with every Google Account. After that, you’ll seemingly be required to pay for a Google One subscription, which starts at $1.99 for 100GB. If you pay for a 2TB plan, which is $9.99 per month, you’ll get extras like a VPN and even advanced editing features in Google Photos.
If the report is true, it’s a huge disappointment, because having unlimited free high quality photo storage is a fantastic perk. You would think Google would use that as a selling point for future Pixel devices, but that’s apparently not the case. In yesterday’s announcement, Google didn’t mention any plans for future Pixel phones, so we’re still holding out hope unlimited free photo backups will continue to be a perk.
If you own a Pixel 5 or earlier, you have more reason than ever to withhold from upgrading. If you don’t own a Pixel device, the policy changes will go into effect beginning June 1, 2021. According to Google, most Photos users should have roughly three more years worth of free high quality photo backup. But as we learned, it won’t just be photos that count toward your 15GB allotment, but files and documents, too, so the free storage might go quicker than you think.
A spokesperson for Google has confirmed to AndroidPolice that future Pixel smartphones won’t have free, unlimited high quality picture backups in Google Photos.