With so much technology at our fingertips, we definitely take for granted all the perks and benefits that we enjoy thanks to the efforts of Google. For younger millennials who started getting proper access to the internet in the 90s, their Gmail accounts were one of the first things they ever created. A lot of cool things have happened since then and many platforms, as well as features, have become obsolete to the point of having their own museums, but Google is one of the bigwigs that has stayed consistent. Not only has this tech giant pioneered a lot of the advancements that we now take for granted, but they have also done so almost democratically, giving to us a lot of features for free that would have otherwise been expensive and inaccessible otherwise.
Google Photos is one of the best cloud storage services out there. Apple is only now offering the Memories feature with their Photos application while Google has been at it for years. There is a certain fondness and sense of joy that comes with reliving memories that have been securely backed in a reliable cloud storage service. So if you are noticing changes in the storage situation and concerned about what’s up, here’s everything you need to know about Google Photo’s storage limit in 2021 and if you need to increase it, then how to go about it.
What is the Google Photos storage limit in 2021?
According to a new Google Policy, there will be a 15 GB cap on a user’s Google Photos storage from June 2021. So any new photos or videos that the user wants to back up will reduce the amount of space available Google Account Storage. Basically, any photos and videos that you wish to back up will consume space that was previously free and unlimited.
As part of this policy, Google also renamed the category of images that will be stored in Google Photos.
While this does not change the fact that images and videos will be backed up regardless of their quality, it changes how much space they will consume as we have elaborated in the later section. Images that previously fell in the High Quality tier will now be called Storage Saver.
It is worth noting that Google resizes an image to 16 MP if they are larger unless you change the settings of the image to reflect otherwise. The same logic applies to videos which are automatically saved at 1080p resolution unless prompted otherwise This renaming of the tier will help the user to understand what Google does to every image as well as video to optimize space in Google Photos.
Why did Google update its Storage policy?
While Google has not directly stated why the tech giant is restricting the kind of storage space that used to be available for free. One can only assume that Google needs to generate income and monetize from pre-existing features that millions of users are using. Besides, more users and organizations keep signing up for Google services every day so it’s not viable for Google to give out free cloud storage. Considering the millions of users that Google will onboard in the future and the infrastructural spending that will definitely come, it’s kind of fair that Google wants to charge a minor fee in exchange for its reliable cloud storage.
In any case, Google is not leaving its users high and dry either. Users have been given 15 GB of storage to ensure that they don’t face any transition pains that are bound to happen if one is a shutterbug.
How to check if you need more storage for your Google Photos
Google has made provisions to ensure that a user can easily find out how much storage space they have. One can check their personal estimate tracker for information regarding how much storage is being consumed and how much is left. Based on your usage, Google also estimates how many months/years worth of storage will be available depending on your past and current usage of the cloud storage service. Here’s how to find how much storage is left in your Google Photos.
Go to photos.google.com and click the Settings icon on the top-right portion of the page. If you aren’t logged in then you may have to complete the login process before you get to this page.
Once you’re in the Settings, click the Manage Storage option that will appear right at the beginning.
You will now be able to see how your 15 GB is divided across Google Drive storage including Photos.
Open the Photos app on your phone tap your profile icon on the top-right portion of the screen.
From the menu that opens, tap the Manage your Google Account option.
Scroll down till you arrive at the Account Storage option. Here, tap the Manage Storage option.
You can check the allocation of space on Google for all your file and photos.
What will happen to photos uploaded before the policy update?
According to Google, all photos that you have saved in High Quality or Storage saver before June 1 will qualify for free storage. This means that photos and videos that belong to this category will not consume any of the 15 GB quota that has been allocated to your Google account so these photos and videos are exempt from the conditions of the policy. However, do keep in mind that photos of all sizes and resolutions will count as consuming storage after June 1. So whether you’ve set the image quality at Storage Saver or Original, it’s going to consume space.
How to increase your Google Photos storage?
Paid plans are the most reliable way to increase your Google Photos storage. There are two categories of storage that you can explore. The first one is Google One which is for personal Google Accounts. The least expensive plan will cost you $19.99 per year or $1.99 per month, switching to this plan will give you access to 100 GB Google Cloud Storage. If your needs are minimal and you’re looking for an upgrade that will sustain you for a few years, this plan will be worth it. Google also offers 200 GB and 2 TB space every month at $29.99 and $99.99 per year respectively. You can decide your storage priorities by checking your storage needs as we showed you in the earlier section of this article.
Alternatively, if you use Google for work, then you may need to communicate with the administrator regarding an upgrade. Google Workspace is priced differently than Google One and most organizations use a Workspace plan. In the Business Starter edition, you will get 30 GB of cloud storage for $6 per month. If you need more storage, then plans are also available at $12 per month for 2 TB cloud storage and $18 per month for 5TB cloud storage. It’s very likely that your administrator will upgrade you according to your storage needs as long as you communicate with them.
If you don’t want to get a paid plan, then the best thing you can do is keep all your images set on Storage Saver, since they consume as little as 16 MB space, you will be able to sustain a lot of your Google Photos storage using this method.
How does the policy affect Pixel users?
The rules are slightly altered depending on the version of Pixel that you are using. The original 2016 Pixel is completely exempt from the rules of the policy so if you have the first generation Pixel then you don’t have to worry about this policy at all. Whether you’re storing the image and videos in their Original quality or Storage saver quality, there is not 15 GB cap that you need to worry about.
For Pixels version 2, 3a, 4, 4a and 5, Google has stated that all images whether in Storage Saver or Original quality that were backed up before the 15 GB clause was introduced will be considered exempt from the policy. However, after June 1, any images that haven’t been saved in the Storage Saver format will consume your Google Account Storage.
The rules are a little different for the Pixel 3 for which Google has reserved unlimited free storage till January 31, 2022. So the rules that apply to the other pixels have been postponed for this one by an extra year, however, after the deadline has passed, the same rules that apply to the other Pixels will apply to the Pixel 3 as well.
Why purchasing a Pixel phone make so much sense?
A Pixel purchase is a very personal decision based on your own preference and budget. But in terms of how the policy affects Pixel phones, this whole deal may be more value-for-money than it appears.
If you’re fine with the Storage Saver format for uploads and how Google’s drivers intelligently edit and take photos, then you may just find that getting a Pixel might not be such a bad thing. It all depends on how much penny-pinching you want to do.
We do think using a Pixel phone is an even better choice now as you get free uploads as long as you choose the Storage Saver option (not Original quality). Think about it, it’s worth it as you get a really good camera, timely Android version updates for 3 years, great UI, no-bloatware, etc. without needing to spend on Google One/Photos if you are content with Storage Saver option — which is practically easy, as you are able to upload everything you got in reduced quality but also have fun with them down the years with suggested memories, collages, cinema effects, etc. that Google Photos app keeps throwing to you.
But know that Pixels are exempt only if you are willing to save your images in the Storage Saver format which may not be the case if you are an avid photographer or prefer to retain the original size of the images. Keep in mind that images in their original size will take up your cloud storage, for which you will have no choice but to purchase additional storage space if you want to retain everything on Google Cloud.
That’s everything there is to know about the Google Photos storage limit in 2021 and how to increase it. We hope you found this article helpful!