Google’s Unlimited Photo Storage Ends Today

The long running free photo storage ends today, leaving users with a 15GB cap – although Google will sell you more storage.
Jack Turner

Originally announced in November last year, the day is finally here – you can no longer store an unlimited amount of photos with Google.

From today, any snaps you take will count towards your 15GB data cap with Google storage. This means that fervent photographers might have to start paying to keep their image libraries up to date.

As luck would have it, Google will sell you that extra storage, from the low cost of $2 per month. But, this isn't your only option.

Google's Free Photo Storage Ends

It's not like Google didn't give us any warning. Back in November the company announced its plans via a blog post, stating that it was changing the way in which photo storage would be handed in the future. It also included a few stats which might explain its reticence at allowing users to upload their photos for free, forever.

According to Google, more than 4 trillion photos are stored in Google Photos, with 28 billion photos and videos joining them every week. Needless to say, that's a lot of storage. It's also a lot of opportunities to sell customers a little extra.

‘Starting June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member.' – Google blog post

From today, any photos or videos that you take will contribute towards the standard 15GB Google storage. This storage is shared with other services linked to your Google account, which means you could end up juggling space between photos, documents and presentations, and any hefty emails with large attachments in your Gmail inbox.

Solving the Google Space Limit Issue

There's a few important caveats to note before you start deleting your old photos.

  • Images taken on a Google Pixel phone don't count towards the 15GB limit.
  • Photos or videos uploaded in high quality before today also don't count.
  • Google's recently announced tools can help you remove poor or unwanted photos.

This last tool could be useful for those who need a temporary reprieve from a close approaching 15GB limit. It allows the user to easily remove unwanted photos in bulk, with options to remove blurry photos, or screenshots. This means you can easily remove those poorly shot photos of your brunch, or screenshots of the subway timetable. After all, you probably won't need those again.

Your other option, and possibly the one that Google would most like you to opt for, is to buy more storage.

Paying for More Cloud Storage

It's no surprise that alongside the announcement of the hard data cap for photos last November, Google also reminded us that it was possible to buy more storage. In fact, take a look in the photos app of your Android device, under Manage Storage – you'll see the option right there.

Google will charge you $2 a month for 100GB additional storage, which is going to take even the most avid snapper a long time to fill up.

If that's not enough, you can pay $3 for 200GB, $10 for 2TB, and $100 for 10TB. There are also discounts for those that choose to pay annually. Sign up for the extra storage with a Google One account, and you'll get a few more benefits, such as discounts on the Google store and the ability to invite family members.

However, Google isn't the only storage option in town. If you're already an Amazon Prime member, for example, you could just store your photos with its unlimited photo storage, plus 5GB video storage.

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Jack is the Content Manager for Tech.co. He has been writing about a broad variety of technology subjects for over a decade, both in print and online, including laptops and tablets, gaming, and tech scams. As well as years of experience reviewing the latest tech devices, Jack has also conducted investigative research into a number of tech-related issues, including privacy and fraud.

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