Welcome to Product Support, a column devoted to helping you get the most out of the stuff you already use.
Google Photos is one of the most popular cloud-based photo storage services for both Android and iPhone users — in large part, because for the last five years, it offered free unlimited photo storage, which was more than its competitors like iCloud or Dropbox. But now, Google has walked back that feature.
As of June 1, Google has officially ended its free unlimited storage plan and now capped it at 15GB — but it only effects new photos and videos. If you uploaded your photos and videos to Google Photos before June 1, they do not count against your 15GB limit of free storage.
This 15GB of free storage that Google Photos offers is still more than the 5GB of free storage that iCloud Photos offers, and significantly more than the 2GB of free storage that Dropbox offers. But if you exceed it, you'll have to start thinking about upgrading to Google's One plan, which start at $2/month for 100 GB of storage.
If you plan to keep using Google Photos, a good thing to do is disable auto backup, so your limit doesn't get filled with random stuff.
How to turn off auto backup in Google Photos:
- Open the Google Photos app on your smartphone.
- Select your account profile (located in the top-right corner).
- Select Google Photo settings.
- Select Back up & sync.
- Toggle the slider off for Back up & sync.
You can also adjust the quality of the photos and videos that back up to Google Photos so that they don't take up as much space and thus you can get more out of your 15GB of free storage.
To do this, just follow the above steps to get to the 'Back up & sync' page in Settings > select 'Upload Size' > and make sure 'High Quality' is selected (which is a reduced size to the original photo or video).