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Google Photos is ending free unlimited storage on June 1st, 2021

Published Nov 11th, 2020 5:54PM EST
Google Photos unlimited storage ending
Image: Google

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  • Google Photos is killing free unlimited storage for photos and videos on June 1st, 2021.
  • Any photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos after June 1st, 2021 will count against the 15GB of free storage that comes with every new Google account.
  • Pixel owners can still upload high quality photos and videos for free after June 1st.

From email to search and just about everything else we do online, Google is involved. The same is true of photo and video storage, mostly because, ever since its debut in 2015, Google Photos has offered unlimited storage for all our homemade media. But at long last, Google will finally end this popular policy next summer.

On Wednesday, Google announced that any new photos or videos users upload to the platform after June 1st, 2021 will count towards the 15GB of free storage that comes included with every Google account. This is the same storage that’s shared across Gmail and Drive, which means that if you’ve already used up a chunk of your free storage, you’ll have even less available to use for photos and videos starting next summer.

“This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage,” Shimrit Ben-Yair, Vice President of Google Photos, explains in a Google blog post. “And, as always, we uphold our commitment to not use information in Google Photos for advertising purposes. We know this is a big shift and may come as a surprise, so we wanted to let you know well in advance and give you resources to make this easier.”

Once again, it is worth emphasizing that any photos or videos that you backup to Google Photos before June 1st will not count towards your storage limits. If you like using Google Photos and plan to continue using it into next year, you might want to think about uploading everything you have yet to upload within the next seven months. Also, be sure to verify that you are backing them up in “High quality,” or they will count against your free storage. Check your backup quality in the Photos app on your phone by going to Back up & sync in Settings.

For those of you who own a Pixel phone (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5), any photos uploaded from that device will not be affected by this change. All of your High quality photos and videos will continue to be free from storage limits for the foreseeable future, even after the policy changes for everyone else on June 1st, 2021.

“This change does not take effect for another six months, so you don’t need to do anything right now,” Shimrit Ben-Yair adds in the same blog. “And once this change does take effect on June 1, 2021, over 80 percent of you should still be able to store roughly three more years worth of memories with your free 15 GB of storage. As your storage nears 15 GB, we will notify you in the app and follow up by email.”

If you upload a ton of photos and videos to Google Photos every year, and don’t plan on letting this change stop you from doing so, you might want to start looking into Google One. Storage plans start at $1.99/month for 100GB, and you’ll also get access to rewards and benefits, including the ability to add family members.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.