Google Photos Loses Its Free Storage: What You Need to Know

The Google Photos app icon on the home screen of a smartphone.
Primakov /

Google Photos stood out by offering free and unlimited storage of “high quality” photos. It goes away. From June 1, 2021, Google Photos will no longer offer free unlimited storage. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s changing: no more free unlimited storage

Google Photos only offered unlimited free storage for photos and videos saved in “high quality,” which it defines as 16 megapixels for 1080p resolution photos and videos. If you choose to download photos and videos in high quality (instead of the original quality), Google allows you to download an unlimited number.

As of June 1, 2021, Google Photos will lose its free and unlimited storage space for “high quality” photos and videos. After this date, any photos you upload will count towards your Google Account storage limit. This limit is 15 GB and is shared between services such as Google Photos, Google Drive, and Gmail.

If you need more storage space for your photos, you’ll need to pay for a Google One storage plan.

Here’s the good news: Any existing photos you’ve already imported are copyrighted and won’t count toward your storage. Only new photos that you upload to Google Photos after this date will count towards the storage limit.

How to get more storage for your photos

Google Drive on a smartphone and laptop
Nopparat Khokthong /

If you like Google Photos, you can still use it. 15GB of free storage is more than many other services offer, so it’s still not a bad deal. For example, Apple only offers 5 GB of free storage with iCloud.

If you plan to continue using Google Photos, you can control how much space you’ve used and how much you have available on the Google One Storage website. Google also has a Storage management page this will help you free up storage space in your Google account.

You can also purchase more storage through Google one. Plans start at $ 1.99 per month for 100GB of storage.

How to download all your Google photos

You might like to leave Google Photos behind. You can download an archive of all the photos and videos you’ve ever uploaded to Google Photos from the Google Takeout website. (Google Takeout also allows you to download other data stored in your Google Account.)

You can then upload the photos to any other photo service you want to use or keep your photos on your own devices. Make sure to back up your photos and have multiple copies if you choose to store them yourself!

Alternatives to Google Photos

A person taking a photo with an iPhone
Kicking Studio /

Google Photos isn’t the only game in town. Now that it will no longer offer unlimited storage, that might not be the best option for many people who were already using it.

  • ICloud Photos: If you are using an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other Apple devices, you may want to use Apple’s iCloud Photos. If you take photos with your iPhone, it integrates perfectly with no third-party apps required. iCloud Photos has more limited free storage – just 5GB free – but you can get 50GB of storage for $ 0.99 per month. You can even buy 200GB of storage for $ 2.99 per month and share it with your whole family. (The 50 GB plan cannot be shared.) You can also pay for iCloud storage as part of a Apple One subscription plan.
  • Amazon photos: If you already pay for Amazon Prime, Amazon offers free and unlimited storage of full resolution photos. Amazon isn’t the first service many people think of when it comes to photo storage, but it’s a good option.
  • Microsoft OneDrive: The OneDrive app can automatically upload photos and videos from your phone to your OneDrive storage. OneDrive is built into Windows 10 and available on other platforms. If you pay for Microsoft 365, you have 1TB OneDrive storage space to store all these photos.
  • Dropbox: If you already use and pay for Dropbox, you can upload your photos to Dropbox instead of Google Photos. Like other services, the Dropbox app can automatically upload photos from your phone. However, Dropbox only offers 2 GB of free space and only offers more expensive storage plans starting at $ 9.99 per month. Dropbox probably isn’t the best choice, unless you’ve already invested in it.

Google Photos is still a great photo storage solution, especially if you use Android devices and other Google services. But it’s not free for everyone anymore, and it’s a big change.

If you are an iPhone user who uses Google Photos instead of iCloud Photos because Google Photos is free, maybe it’s time to consider a change.

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