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Google Photos to end free unlimited storage in 2021

Google Photos to end free unlimited storage in 2021
Google Photos to end free unlimited storage in 2021
Google Photos is putting a limit on uploads next year (Shutterstock)

Google has announced it will be ending unlimited free storage on Google Photos next year.

From June 2021, any photos or videos you upload to the service will count against the 15GB storage limit that Google gives each account holder.

Any photos uploaded before June 1, 2021 will continue to be hosted as normal.

The reason for the change is pretty simple: people upload a lot of photos to Google’s servers and the tech giant doesn’t reckon you should get it for free.

According to the company, more than 4 trillion photos are stored in Google Photos, and every week 28 billion new photos and videos are uploaded.

‘Your Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail and Photos. This change also allows us to keep pace with the growing demand for storage,’ explained Shimrit Ben-Yair, vice president for Google Photos at Google.

‘And, as always, we uphold our commitment to not use information in Google Photos for advertising purposes,’ he continued.

‘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.’

If you’re someone that shoots a lot of video or takes a lot of pictures, you’re going to hit that 15GB storage limit pretty quickly. So it may be wise to invest in an external drive before June next year. Or be prepared to pay Google for more cloud storage space.

Do I need to back up my Google Photos?

Taking Photo with Smartphone of tasty meal for social media before eating it
It’s always a good idea to back up your photos (Credits: Getty Images)

Backing up photos saved on the cloud is always a good idea. If possible, keep them offline on an external hard drive. Or, alternatively, saved on your computer.

However, Google has made clear that all existing photos and videos on Google Photos will remain there even after the unlimited storage comes to an end.

‘Any photos or videos you’ve uploaded in High quality before June 1, 2021 will not count toward your 15GB of free storage,’ Ben-Yair said.

‘This means that photos and videos backed up before June 1, 2021 will still be considered free and exempt from the storage limit.’

He added: ‘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.’