A lot of people are going to have to make a hard decision later this summer when Google removes support for unlimited storage from Google Photos, but current Pixel owners aren’t one of them.
With the upcoming change to Google Photos, anyone with more than 15GB of photos or videos will be forced to move their data elsewhere or pay Google for additional storage space. However, in a recent update on Twitter, the project manager for Google Photos, Raja Ayygari, posted an update announcing that HQ uploads (pictures under 16-MP) from “Pixels 2-5 will continue to be free and unlimited after June 1st.”
In essence, that would mean anyone who owns a Pixel phone right now (along with Pixel 1 owners) would get to retain unlimited photo storage for the remaining life of their device. Unfortunately, it seems this luxury will not extend to future devices, so anyone planning on buying a Pixel 5a or later won’t be so lucky.
While the extension of unlimited storage in Google Photos for Pixel owners might seem like a small change, it’s a nice concession for people who bought homegrown Google phones, as unlimited photo storage was one of the original perks of those devices.
Meanwhile, for non-Pixel owners who will need to upgrade, Google recently added some extra editing features to Google Photos for people who pay for more storage space via Google One, which includes Portrait Blur, Portrait Lighting, dynamic suggestions, and more.
Oh, and in case you decide to get tricky and try to fool Google into giving you free photo storage by buying an old Pixel and adding it to your account, that won’t work either as Ayyagari noted that “uploads from other devices, including future Pixels, will count towards your Google account storage.”
Furthermore, judging by the language in Ayyagari’s tweet, it doesn’t seem like this bonus will ever return, so while the perk was nice for a time, everything good has to come to an end eventually.
[Update 3/16/21] Updated the story with additional info from Ayyagari who confirmed that Pixel 1 owners will also continue to receive free unlimited HQ picture storage in Google Photos.