Google Photos storage change: Pixel phones 1-5 exempt?

Months ago I, like the millions of Google Photos users, received an email stating that Google Photos will be changing their storage policy and that any new high-res photos added will count against your Google storage and signing up for one of their plans would allow for more storage. To which I thought, “boo!!!”. (I know their cheapest plan is not that expensive, but I would have missed the unlimited free storage for sure!)

I got looking into it further though, and I read that Pixel modes 1-5 are exempt and will continue to have the ability to save high-res photos without counting towards your free 15GB of storage. Am I understanding this correctly and does this exemption include the Pixel 3a? If so, I am overjoyed!

I know it’s a silly question since this article does say Pixel models 1-5 but since I don’t have the 3, but the 3a, I just wanted to make sure they are including the “a” models as well.

Here’s the link to the article (from Google):

From Choose the upload size of your photos & videos:

Photos and videos uploaded in High quality from Pixel 3a-5 are free and unlimited. Photos and videos uploaded in Original quality will count towards your Google Account storage.

Policies for other Pixel phones can also be found on the help page linked above. I have the cheapest Google One storage plan (100 GB for $1.99/mo shared among 3 of us in the family). At our current usage rate, we should be good for 4 more years worth of storage.


Great. Thanks for the info. Yes you do get a lot of storage for $1.99 a month and I probably would have done that, but I’m glad I don’t need to worry about it!

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Ok thank you for that info. I wasn’t aware of that. It’s all a bit confusing to me. I checked and I’ve always been set to back up high-res photos so I’m sad that I didn’t take advantage of the unlimited original resolution backup sooner. They didn’t make it super clear, at least, not in my opinion. I was under the impression that all phones fell under their general rules at first.

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New update from Google on this (Updating Google Photos’ storage policy to build for the future):

If you back up your photos and videos in Original quality, these changes do not affect you. As always, your Original quality photos and videos will continue to count toward your 15 GB of free storage across your Google Account.

If you have a Pixel 1-5, photos uploaded from that device won’t be impacted. Photos and videos uploaded in High quality from that device will continue to be exempt from this change, even after June 1, 2021.

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