One of the big attractions of signing up for a Google account has been the unlimited free photo storage. This has been a huge benefit as people find their smartphones filling up with images and videos.
In the digital age, it seems benefits often come with a downside. For example, smartphones now take much higher quality images than they did when the first iPhone was released back in 2007. Today, you can take HD panoramic videos and images that are studio quality.
But those higher resolution images also mean larger file sizes and it doesn’t take too many vacations and selfies to fill up the storage space on a smartphone.
Cloud storage can get expensive, and you end up being locked into a monthly subscription. One missed payment and you could lose priceless treasures.
Google has been a popular option because it offered unlimited space for cloud image storage for free. Cloud storage is a particularly helpful option when going through a new device setup because it allows a place to offload photos and other files while moving between devices.
But now the free ride is over. Google ended its unlimited photo storage policy on June 1, 2021, for Google Photos.
What does this mean for your images? We’ll go through the details on the policy change below.
What Is Changing with Google Photos?
As of 6/1/2021, any new photos and videos that you upload into Google Photos will count towards your free 15GB of Google storage space.
When you sign up for an account, Google gives you 15GB of free cloud storage space. Previously, Gmail email messages, Google Drive files, and any files you have stored in other apps like Google Sheets or Docs would count towards that 15GB of space. Google Photos was exempt.
This is no longer the case, and now as you add photos and videos to Google Photos, those will also be included in your overall storage space limit.
What’s Going to Happen to My Google-Stored Photos?
Your images stored in Google Photos are safe for the time being. Google is only going to count new photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos against your 15GB total.
However, if you find that you are already close to your storage limit, then you may need to delete some files to make space for new photos and videos.
What About Pixel Photos?
If you use a Pixel smartphone 1-5, then you do not need to worry about losing the ability to store your photos. Google is exempting Pixel photos and video uploads from the storage limitations.
How Much Does More Google Storage Cost?
If you find you’re now unable to upload your photos and videos because of the new Google policy, you can purchase additional storage space. Current pricing is as follows:
- 100GB: $1.99/month or $19.99/year
- 200GB: $2.99/month or $29.99/year
- 2TB: $9.99/month or $99.99/year
What Other Free Storage Options Are There?
If you’d rather not pay for storage, there are a few other options. These accounts do have storage limits, but they could give you a place to upload and share photos and videos while you’re coming up with a single permanent solution.
Other free storage options for your photos and videos:
- Dropbox: 2GB of free storage
- iCloud: 5GB of free storage
- OneDrive: 5GB of free storage
- MediaFire: 10GB of free storage
What Is Another Good Option for Cloud/Video Storage?
As you can see from Google’s policy change, if you rely on free cloud storage, then the rules can change at any time. You could end up having to move files or having them deleted due to an automatic retention policy limit.
One way that you can enjoy as much space as you want and control your own data storage is by using a network-attached storage device (NAS).
A NAS is a small hard drive that is attached to your home network, and it allows you to store files, images, videos, and backups locally. You can also make them cloud accessible, so you have the convenience of accessing your photos from anywhere.
NAS is designed to be easy to set up and use and it comes with software that can enable things like video streaming, so you can make digital downloads available to watch anywhere.
You also control the security and don’t have to worry about your files being deleted suddenly or unexpectedly running out of space because of a policy change by a software vendor.
These types of storage devices have come down in price, making them very affordable for home users.
Get More Details on Network-Attached Storage Options for Your Photos & Other Files
Two River Computer can help your Fair Haven, NJ family review your options when it comes to permanent and secure solutions for your photo, video, and file storage.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 732-747-0020 or reach us online.