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(Pocket-lint) - Google Photos will no longer offer unlimited free photo backups starting next year. 

For five years, it didn't count "high quality" photo against your Google Account storage allotment. That is about to change, as any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or additional storage purchased with Google One.

Google already counts “original quality” photos against your cap; it's just dropping unlimited backups for high-quality photos and videos that Google Photos has compressed for maximum efficiency. Keep in mind your Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail, and Photos. 

The change goes into effect on 1 June 2021. Google said all the photos and documents backed up before that date will not count against the 15GB cap - only photos uploaded after will be counted. So, for the first time, you may begin to worry about how much Google Account/Google One storage you have left. The only workaround is if you buy a Pixel phone, as Pixel owners will still be able to upload high-quality (not original) photos that won't count against their cap.

Originally, Pixel owners got unlimited free backups of original quality photos. 

Google will send alerts when you begin to approach your 15GB cap. Google is also introducing new storage management tools in Google Photos, making it easier for you to find and delete photos such as screenshots. Google is going to suggest a Google One storage tier, too, based on your average uploads over time.
Google One starts at $1.99 per month for 100GB and goes all the way up to 30TB for $149.99 per month. You can learn more about Google One in our guide here. We also have a Google Photos tips and tricks guide here.

There are other Google Account policy changes happening now, too, like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Jamboard files all now counting against your account's storage cap. Google is also now deleting data from inactive Google Accounts that haven’t been signed in to for at least two years.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman.
  • Source: Updating Google Photos’ storage policy to build for the future - blog.google
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