Google Photos is getting massive change, and that is in regard to the storage policy. The cloud storage service offered a free unlimited storage option to users for their high-quality photos to date. Starting June 1, the practice will no longer be followed, as Google will begin charging its customers for this storage.
Google Photos has enjoyed a user base of more than a billion users for quite some time now. Android smartphone users have largely utilised the service, who always found it convenient to upload their photos and videos on the service, even more easily through routine sync.
Such users will now have to be a bit more vigilant towards their uploads, thanks to the new policies of Google Photos. So, what are these changes that are coming into effect, how will they affect your existing data, what are the options you have going forward, we will try to answer all these questions here.
What is changing with Google Photos?
Google Photos allows you to upload images and videos in three quality formats - High quality, Original quality and Express quality. The last option is available only in select regions.
To date, Google has allowed free unlimited storage for High-quality images and videos to Photos. In contrast, media files uploaded in Original quality count towards the free storage limit of 15GB, shared across Photos, Gmail, and Drive.
Starting June 1, Google will count all the uploaded media files, irrespective of their upload quality, towards this 15GB storage limit. In case you reach your storage limit, you will have to delete some of your unused data or purchase more storage under the Google One plan to continue using the services.
What will happen to the files already stored in Google Photos?
Google says that the High quality and Express quality photos, and videos backed up on Photos before June 1, 2021, will not count towards the 15GB Google Account storage.
This means these files can still be accessed post-June 1. Users will have their 15GB storage limit judged based on their other media file uploads (Original quality) before June 1 and all uploads post-June 1.
What will happen to files you back up from June 1 onwards?
All the media files uploaded to Photos starting June 1 will count towards the 15GB storage limit. Once the limit is reached, users can review and delete some of their data to make space or buy additional storage as part of a Google One plan.
Note that this 15GB limit constitutes all your data with Google across services like Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos.
What happens to your photos if your Google Photos storage is full?
If your Google Storage is found to be full after June 1, you will not be able to back up any additional photos and videos. The existing data, however, will remain unaffected for over 24 months.
Google says that your content may be impacted if your account is found to be over quota for more than 24 months. Over quota here means that you have used up more storage than the 15GB limit.
How to change phone settings to stop automatic uploads to Google Photos?
- Open the Photos app on your smartphone
- Find Photos Settings under the three-dot menu on the top left, or in some versions, under your profile badge on the top right.
- Open Backup & sync
- Toggle the Backup & sync Off if it is On
What if you want to buy more storage?
You can easily buy more storage through any of the Google One plans. At present, Google offers six storage plans for a total of 100GB, 200GB, 2TB, 10TB, 20TB and 30TB storage space across Photos, Gmail and Drive.
These plans can be opted for through monthly recurring payments. The 100GB plans, for instance, is available for Rs 130 per months. Similarly, the 200GB plan costs Rs 210 per month, increasing all the way up to Rs 9750 per month for the 30TB plan.
Some of the plans also have an option of annual payments, which cuts down the payment of two months as a discount. The 200GB plan, for example, is available for Rs 2100 for a full year.
What are the alternatives?
There are several cloud storage services similar to those of Google. One of these is Apple One, which also bundles several services like Apple Music, Apple TV+ and more.
Some others include Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, Amazon Photos and many more. Most of these offer cloud storage at a similar price point as Google.
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