Image: GettyImages/10’000 Hours

Google Photos is a popular service for people looking to back up their camera rolls and other media assets. However, a Google Photos storage deadline is quickly approaching with financial and backup considerations to note. In this post, we will explain what the looming Google Photos deadline means for users, how to check storage space and more.

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First and foremost, the date to keep in mind is June 1. On this date, “any new photos and videos you upload will count toward the free 15 GB of storage that comes with every Google Account or the additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member,” said Shimrit Ben-Yair, vice president of Google Photos in a November blog post about the policy update. This includes storage across Photos, Gmail and Drive.

In the post, Ben-Yair said these changes would allow the company to “keep pace with the growing” storage demands and uphold the company’s commitment to not using “information in Google Photos for advertising purposes.”

“We know this is a big shift and may come as a surprise, so we wanted to let you know well in advance and give you resources to make this easier,” Ben-Yair continued.

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What does it mean for existing photos?

It’s important to note that media backed up prior to June 1 is still “considered free and exempt from the storage limit,” according to the post, and existing high-quality photos and videos uploaded prior to the deadline do not count toward the storage limit.

The latest policy updates will not impact original quality photo and video backups and these media will “continue to count toward your 15 GB of free storage across your Google Account,” per the post; these changes will not affect photos uploaded from Pixel models 1 through 5.

High-quality photo and video uploads from these devices will “continue to be exempt from this change, even after June 1, 2021,” Ben-Yair said.

How do I know if my photos are uploaded in high quality?

To check whether your photos have been uploaded in high-quality open Photos and then select Settings and then click Backup And Sync.

Stats for perspective

When the Google blog post outlining these changes was originally published last year, Ben-Yair estimated that more than 80% of people would still have the ability to use their free 15 GB to store “roughly three more years worth of memories” after the June 1 deadline, adding that the company will send an app notification as well as a follow-up email as people approach this storage limit.

Data usage quote and new tools

To provide a more accurate estimate on a user-by-user basis, the post says people can access a usage quota that accounts for storage backup frequency and, starting in June, the company will unveil a new Google Photos tool to help people manage stored photos and videos, as well as “surfacing” some media people might want to delete such as blurry or dark media.

In the post, Ben-Yair reminds people that they can expand their storage via Google One with monthly plans starting at $1.99 (U.S. customers).