While the Google Photos app has been a fantastic way to back up photos – on Android and iOS – for years now, the version reserved for most Pixel phones has offered an added bonus: unlimited uploads at original quality.
The perk has been a selling point for smartphone photographers, lured by the excellent cameras and backstage wizardry on the Made by Google handsets. Now Google is apparently taking it away.
Android Police noted the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL product page notes buyers will benefit from “unlimited storage in high quality on Google Photos.” A key word change, from “original” with the Pixel 3, to “high” this time around.
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If that wasn’t enough to confirm, its absence, that all important fine print does the rest. It reads:
Google Photos offers free unlimited online storage for all photos and videos uploaded in high quality. Photos and videos uploaded in high quality may be compressed or resized. Requires Google Account. Data rates may apply.
Android Police also makes the important distinction that Google didn’t offer this for the Pixel 3a range either, but those phones started at around half the price of the £629 Google Pixel 4.
While unlimited uploads at high quality is nothing to be sniffed at (unless you’re more concerned with the machine learning stuff Google loves having your photos to enhance), it seems unreasonable the company is now drawing the line.
The Pixel 4 still has the 12-megapixel main camera, but is now joined by a 16-megapixel telephoto lens. It’s not as if the company has added an SLR-sized sensor that would boost the file sizes too much is it? Of course, storage at original quality will be available via Google’s own cloud storage platform, Google One. So therein lies the reason.
The Pixel 4 and 4 XL phones might end up being the camera kings once again, but serious photographers might think twice now their free full-res photo storage is being taken away.