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You won't get unlimited original quality photo backups with your Google Pixel 4

Google wants you to instead pay for its Google One service. Newer Pixel phones still get original quality backups, though.

Published onOctober 15, 2019


Every entry in the main line of Pixel smartphones has come with a nice perk: the ability to backup as many photos and videos as you want at their original quality through Google Photos. However, the Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL photo backup system won’t allow for this.

Instead, when your Pixel 4 backs up photos and videos to Google Photos, they will be at the same “high quality” (read: slightly compressed) that everyone else gets with any other smartphone.

Google confirmed the removal of the original quality backup feature to The Verge. You can also see the following fine print at the bottom of the Pixel 4 landing page at the Google Store:

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.

If you buy a Pixel 4, it comes with a free three-month trial for Google One, Google’s relatively new cloud storage service. Using Google One, you can backup any file from your smartphone with no data loss, which is what Google wants you to do for photos and videos going forward. Of course, after your three-month trial ends, you’ll need to pay to store those photos and videos, which you didn’t need to do with previous Pixel devices (aside from the Google Pixel 3a, which also didn’t have unlimited original quality backups).

Related: Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL specs: Flagship features, but no powerhouse

For the record, previous Pixel devices with unlimited original quality backups still have the feature. The original Pixel will never lose the ability to do this, the Pixel 2 loses the ability on January 16, 2021, and the Pixel 3 loses the ability on January 31, 2022.

Does this change your desire to buy a Pixel 4? Let us know in the comments.

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