Google to end free unlimited storage for photos

Google will begin charging users to store their photos on the cloud if these photos exceed 15GB.

This change will begin on 1 June 2021, and photos that are uploaded to the Google Photos cloud storage service before this date will not be counted towards the 15GB limit.

Google currently caps stored photos that are of “original quality”, but from June next year, it will also do this for those images and videos which are automatically compressed to improve storage efficiency.

“This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage,” said Google Photos VP Shimrit Ben-Yair.

“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.”

Google said that Pixel smartphone users will not be affected by this upcoming change.

How to prepare

To help users determine how the change will affect them, Google has a webpage which provides an estimate of how long your free storage will last.

This will take into account how frequently you back up content to your Google Account.

Google said it will release a new tool in June 2021 to allow users to manage their backed up photos and videos easily.

“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,” said Ben-Yair.

Users who need more storage can purchase this directly from Google through its One membership.

Pricing for this Google One cloud storage is as follows:

  • 15GB – Free
  • 100GB – R29 per month or R290 per year.
  • 200GB – R39 per month or R390 per year.
  • 2TB – R159 per month or R1,599 per year.

The paid packages also include access to Google experts, options to add your family, and extra member benefits.

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Google to end free unlimited storage for photos