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Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Google Photos could implement a new “Storage Saver” quality option in a future update.
  • The option will allow future Pixel users unlimited and free backups but at a reduced quality.
  • A Google spokesperson clarified that there are no changes to what the company previously announced.

Update: May 6, 2021 at 5:33 p.m. ET: A Google spokesperson reached out to Android Authority to clarify that future Pixel phones will not, in fact, get a new “reduced quality” storage option in Google Photos. The full quote can be found below:

There are no changes to what we previously announced regarding Google Photos storage for Pixel devices. We are exploring new names for our Photos backup options and have no plans to introduce additional storage options.


Original article: May 6, 2021 at 5:14 a.m. ET: Unlimited image backups on Google Photos are drawing to a close next month. The change means that image storage will count towards that 15GB free cloud storage reserve regardless of quality. This isn’t really a problem for current Pixel users, as they receive unlimited backups for life. But a new APK teardown suggests that future Pixel users may be in for a slight change.

Per XDA‘s findings, Google Photos version 5.4.1 could feature a “Storage Saver” option that would allow future Pixel users access to unlimited storage but at a “slightly reduced quality.”

Considering that Pixel users currently receive lifetime high-quality backups suggest this could be a rebranded high-quality setting. However, the description in the app’s code string is interesting. It suggests there’s a chance that the Storage Saver tier will further compress image quality. It’s unclear if the string is comparing the Storage Saver tier to the “Original quality” tier, though.

Nevertheless, the APK code also suggests that future Pixels may continue to receive unlimited image storage in some capacity. There’s no luck for non-Pixel users, though. You’ll still have to purchase a Google One subscription if you max out your free 15GB of cloud storage. You can also hit up a Google Photos alternative, too.

The Storage Saver option isn’t yet available in Google Photos just yet, and there’s no word on when it may make its debut.