Big Changes Are Coming to Your Google Photos Account

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If you realize how valuable the storage capacity is on your phone or computer, you know that Google’s announcement — that it will soon impose data limits on its popular accounts — is big news. 

In a blog post, Google Photos said, “Starting June 1, 2021, any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member. Your Google Account storage is shared across Drive, Gmail and Photos.”

In this article, I’ll tell you what the Google Photos announcement means for your storage needs. I’ll also list some cloud storage solutions that could help you save space on your devices.

Google Photos Storage Limit: What You Need To Know

First off, let’s understand what Google is saying about new storage limits: The company is ending its policy of free unlimited uploads.

Any new photos and videos you add from June 1 onward will count against your 15GBs of free storage. The good news is that any content already stored on your Drive, Gmail and Photos accounts will be unaffected.

Money expert Clark Howard says this is a good opportunity to upload your images and videos to Google Photos if you haven’t already. “I find very few iPhone users know about or use Google Photos and pay Apple a fortune for photo storage,” he says.

Once you exceed your 15GBs of free storage, you may be tempted to buy a Google One subscription plan, which starts at 100GBs of cloud storage for $1.99 a month.

But Team Clark doesn’t want you to pay for cloud storage if you don’t have to. Read on to see how you can save money.

4 Free or Cheap Photo Storage Solutions

If you covet free cloud storage as much as I do, you may be contemplating your next move. Your first priority may be to save as much cloud storage space as you can.

Here are some ways you can maximize your storage across your Google accounts.


1. Save Lower Quality Photos by Going “High”

Google Photos typically saves your content in its original quality, which keeps it at maximum resolution. But a simple change can pay off.

Instead of original quality, click on the “High quality” option to save space. High-quality photos and videos use less storage space than original quality. Unless you’re a photographer or use your content for media-related work like films and TV, the difference to the naked eye is small.

To change your images to high quality, go to Google Photos and click on Settings in the top right corner (look for the gearbox icon).

Google Photos high quality storage button

2. Delete Old Files You No Longer Need

There’s an easy way to find and delete large attachments from Gmail account.

In the Gmail search bar, type “attachment larger:5M” to see items that are larger than 5 megabytes. You can change the number down to 1 and search for large files to delete until you free up significant space.

3. Move Photos to an External Hard Drive

Clark says that, because so many companies are increasingly looking at cloud storage as a profit center, storing your photos on some form of local media, either a hard drive or zip drive, just makes sense.

I recently purchased this SanDisk flash drive with 254GBs for my Macbook Pro and it works great.

“You can even use it as a primary or secondary backup for your pictures,” Clark says.

4. Try Another Free/Cheap Storage Service

Google’s announcement may prompt you to seek out a cloud competitor to store your data.

Dropbox (2GBs free) and OneDrive (5GBs free) are two well-known cloud services, but there are more to choose from. Here are some top cloud storage services.


Final Thoughts

Remember, if you have a lot of storage space available in your Google account, Clark wants you to take advantage of the 15GBs of free storage before the limits kick in.

And look for ways to save storage space on your devices. If you have the app for Google Photos (or a competitor) on your mobile phone, you can set it to upload photos from your iPhone or Android device into the cloud.

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