Google Photos to END free unlimited storage next year

Google Photos users will no more have free unlimited storage after June 1, 2021. The company has updated the Google Photos storage policy and decided to end its free service of unlimited storage. Google acknowledged that its photo services are the home of memories for many users for the past five years, and changing this policy is a “big shift.”

“We don’t take this decision lightly, and we acknowledge that this is a big shift, so wanted to let you know well in advance and give you resources to help you navigate this change.”

According to a Google blog post, if some of the users are inactive for two years (24 months), Google can remove the content. In the same way, if you exceed your storage limit for two years, Google can delete your content from Gmail, Drive, and Photos.

To understand how this update impacts users and what should be your strategy, Google has also brought estimation tools where users can see a personalized estimate for how long their storage may last.

From June 2021, users will be able to use a new free Google Photos software feature to control your backup photos and videos easily. This tool will help users in reviewing their memories if they want to retain all or not. The tool will also be scanning pictures that you would want to delete forever, such as dark, distorted, blurry images or large videos.

As per Google’s blog post, over 4 trillion images are presently stored in Google Photos, and 28 billion new photos and videos are uploaded every other week.

Beginning from June 1, 2021, all new images and videos users uploaded by users will add up in a free but limited 15 GB of storage. Otherwise, for unlimited storage, users need to purchase a Google One plan.

Google One pricing plans are the same. It begins at $1.99 / month for 100 GB and continues through 200 GB ($2.99 / month), 2 TB ($9.99 / month) and up to 30 TB ($149.99 / month).


The already existing High-Quality photos and videos are exempt from this change. This could well mean that photos and videos backed up before June 1, 2021, will still be considered secure and free from the new storage limit update. You can check your backup quality at any time in the Google Photos app by back up & sync in Settings.

If you have a Google Pixel phone (Pixel 1 to Pixel 5), this update will not affect the images posted from that phone. Pixel phones will continue to get unlimited free storage for their photos and videos, even after June 1, 2021. The first-gen Pixel phone will get original quality images for a lifetime. Other Pixel phones will continue to get unlimited free storage on Google Photos through their defined time.

It is indeed a huge shift and comes as a surprise for many. It is still not clear why Google is bringing this change nevertheless as the blog post is evidently telling that because so many users depend on Google Photos to preserve their memories, hence it’s crucial for Google that its service would not just remain a great product, but that it should continue to fulfill your needs over the long run. In a bid to accomplish these futuristic aims, the company is adjusting its unlimited high-quality storage policy.

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