Google Photos will stop offering free unlimited backup next year

Since its launch in 2015, Google Photos has offered free, unlimited backup of high-quality images. That’ll change next year.

Starting June 1, 2021, any new photos or videos you upload to Google Photos will count toward the free 15GB of storage included with your Google Account. If you’ve bought additional storage with Google One, your uploaded High quality images will count toward that storage.

Any photos or videos you’ve uploaded to Google Photos with the High quality setting before June 1, 2021 will not count toward your 15GB. So any images or videos you’ve already got in Google Photos will be exempt from this new policy.

Google also notes that if you’ve got a Pixel phone, including any model from the first Pixel to the new Pixel 5, photos uploaded from that device won’t be impacted by this change. Any photos and videos uploaded in high quality from your Pixel phone will continue to be exempt from this policy change even after June 1, 2021 rolls around.

This policy change does not have any effect on photos and videos uploaded at the Original quality setting. Those images and videos have always counted toward your 15GB of free storage and they’ll continue to do so.

“This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage,” Google says of this Photos change. “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 adds that more than 80% of users should be able to store 3 years’ worth of photos with their free 15GB once this new policy takes effect. Still, this is a big change after Google Photos has been offering free unlimited storage of High quality photos for more than 5 years. And while it’s good that images and videos stored before June 1 won’t count toward your 15GB, some folks may still begin looking for a new online photo storage solution when Google Photos’ new policy takes effect.

Do you use Google Photos to back up your images and videos?

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