Back in November 2020, Google announced that starting from June 1, 2021, it is changing its storage policies. A significant modification included the term that the company is ending free, unlimited high-quality backups for new photos on non-Pixel phones. Today, this change kicks into effect.
The 15GB of free storage capacity that you get when you sign up for a Google account includes data from Drive, Gmail, and Photos. It is important to note that your existing high-quality Photos backups do not count towards this limit, and that the change applies to new uploads of this configuration only. The change in policy aligns with a similar modification that was made to users that backed up ‘Original quality’ images.
While the announcement covers only non-Pixel devices for now, there are rumors that the limit will eventually apply to Pixel phones too. Google had previously claimed that the 15GB limit is sufficient for “80 percent” of users to store "three more years worth of memories". It is likely that the Mountain View firm is pushing customers towards its Google One plans which start at $1.99/month for 100GB of storage, and even offer a VPN on higher tiers.
Moving forward, unless users purchase more storage, they will eventually be affected by the combined storage policies and backup limitations. Google plans to begin notifying customers who are approaching the 15GB limit and will also release a new tool that will help users manage photos and delete unwanted, blurred, or dark images by automatically categorizing them.
In the meantime, our readers can view our handy guide about how to free up storage space on your Google account, which also includes a nifty utility that estimates how long your free storage may last based on your current usage.