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Google Photos storage-saving web tool could go mobile (APK teardown)

It's unknown when the setting could arrive.

Published onApril 9, 2024

Google Photos app with photo stack edited
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
  • An APK teardown of the latest version of Google Photos suggests Android users will be able to compress already-stored media.
  • Backups that are compressed will be saved in a permanently reduced size, and compressions can only be done once per day.
  • The option to compress full-resolution photos and videos was previously only available on the web.

If you take pictures or record videos frequently, you’ll likely find yourself running up against Google Photos’ free 15GB storage limit sooner rather than later. While you have the option to buy extra space, the tech firm also offers a free alternative that compresses backed up photos and videos, reducing their size. This feature was only available on the web, but it looks like it could be coming to Android as well.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

In the latest version of the Google Photos app, we have spotted strings of code that appear to reference Google Photos’s Storage saver setting. This setting allows the user to choose the backup quality of their photos and videos. If the setting is picked, the file is saved in a permanently reduced size to save on storage space.

<string name="photos_cloudstorage_ui_compressiondialog_compress_button">Yes, compress</string>
<string name="photos_cloudstorage_ui_compressiondialog_message">Your eligible photos & videos will be permanently backed up in a reduced size. This step can’t be reversed.</string>
<string name="photos_cloudstorage_ui_compressiondialog_success_toast_text">Compressing your existing photos & videos. This may take a couple of days.</string>
<string name="photos_cloudstorage_ui_compressiondialog_title">Compressing photos & videos can’t be undone</string>

While this feature is available on the web, adding this option on Android would be a first. It also appears to work the same way as it does for the web, which means you’ll only be able to perform a compression once each day, and compressed media cannot be restored to the original quality. In other words, use this tool with caution.

You can find all of the existing details on how this works in the web app on Google’s support page. It is likely these instructions will be the same or very similar for Android, if and when this feature rolls out.

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