26 January 2021
Google has made an official announcement that Google Photos free unlimited storage will not be available starting June 1st, 2021. It means any photo or video that you will upload on the app after the deadline will count against your available cloud storage space. This is applicable to both free 15GB space as well as paid Google One users.
Free unlimited storage has been one of the best Google Photos features since its inception in 2015. Even though it is available only for photos and videos uploaded in "High" quality and not in the original quality, it has still managed to attract users in huge numbers. This is the reason Google has over 4 trillion photos stored on its servers with 28 billion new photos and videos getting uploaded each week.
In order to keep up with the demand and to be able to provide its services to users for a longer period of time, Google says to have taken the decision to change its policies for free storage space. It should be noted this policy change will not affect Pixel users at all. So if you own any Pixel device including the original Pixel, you will continue to have access to free unlimited storage.
Since the deadline is still about six months away, Google Photos users do not need to do anything straight away. They can keep using the service as it is at least until June 1st. There is even a handy tool that will help you get an estimated idea of how long your available storage space will take to exhaust completely. Google will also send you alerts as you will get closer to reaching the limit.
Once you hit the 15GB free storage space limit, you will either have to delete unwanted photos/videos or purchase additional space via one of the Google One cloud storage plans. In June 2021, Google will release another tool within the Photos app that will suggest photos and videos worth deletion like shots that are blurry or were shot in a dark environment.