Google is getting rid of free, unlimited high-quality Photos backups next year

Google today announced some changes that it is bringing to the storage policies tied to Photos. The company is doing away with the free unlimited high-quality backups for Photos users, which means that once users hit the 15GB Drive cap, they will need to purchase a storage plan to backup more photos.

The change goes into effect starting June 1, 2021, meaning that any photos uploaded in high-quality till that date will be exempt from the limit, and can be uploaded free of cost. The firm also notes that the 15GB storage allowance includes data from Drive, Gmail, and Photos. The change in policy aligns with the change that was made to users that backed up ‘Original quality’ images. Additionally, the search giant notes that Pixel users will not be affected by this change and can continue to upload backups in ‘High quality’.

The firm adds that it will begin notifying users as they begin to reach their 15GB storage limit. It also urges users to view a personalized estimate here of how long users’ storage may last depending on usage stats. This will help users plan an upgrade to their storage limit. The company will also introduce a “new tool in the Photos app” in June 2021 that will help users manage photos and delete unwanted images such as blurred or dark images by automatically categorizing them.

The change is undoubtedly to encourage more users to upgrade to Google One plans and monetize the Photos backup feature. Google One also includes a new VPN offering for the higher tiers and offers free phone backups. The entry-level tier starts at $1.99 per month for 100GB of storage. Users that rely heavily on free Photos backups have little more than six months before the policies change

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