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We're about a week away from Google Photos turning off its most popular and unique selling point. Almost every user will soon lose out on unlimited backups and will either need to use up their existing cloud storage space or pay up for extra. As we approach this big change, there are a few smaller changes to look out for.
If you need a refresher, photo and video backups made in high (slightly compressed) or express (compressed to 3MP) quality will begin to count against account storage starting June 1 — that means anything that has already been backed up is safe. Every user has 15GB of free space shared between Photos, Google Drive, and Gmail. If you're bumping on that ceiling, you'll need to pay for a Google One subscription to get more room.
Owners of the earlier Pixel phones have gotten original quality backups for free, but their ranks are slowly shrinking. Pixel 2 devices lost that amenity this past January while the Pixel 3 series will reach the end of the line next January. Those with the original Pixel and Pixel XL are the only ones to keep that perk in perpetuity given their phones' ability to upload all that media. We're not sure we can advise digging through eBay to get your hands on one, though.
The Google Photos app will be updated with a few pertinent changes as part of this transition. The "high quality" storage tier branding gets traded out for "storage saver," though the actual compression will not change.
To make it easier to free up space, Google is also rolling out a new storage management tool within the app that sorts photos and videos into certain categories like "Large photos & videos" and "Blurry photos" — unfortunately, no duplicate remover yet. You can find it by tapping the profile picture and opening Account storage. Here you'll also see a countdown clock (also available right now on the web) estimating how long your current storage will last based on how often and how much you back up.
These and a whole bunch of other features have kept Google Photos a standout option for cloud storage for most customers (including us here at Android Police).
Storage management tool is rolling out
The new storage management tool is rolling out earlier than expected. You can find it by tapping the profile picture within the app and opening Account storage.