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Future Pixel phones won't get unlimited free backups through Google Photos

This is a surprising move from Google, as it would be an easy way to make the Pixel ecosystem more enticing.

Published onNovember 12, 2020

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Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • Pixel photo backups through Google Photos are currently free for all Pixel devices.
  • However, Google confirmed that future Pixel phones won’t have this feature.
  • This news is part of the broad push to monetize Google Photos, which started with an announcement yesterday.

If you own a Google Pixel phone right now, you can backup all your photos and videos for free to Google Photos forever (at reduced quality). However, starting with the new Pixel devices landing in 2021, new users won’t get that perk.

Android Central and Android Police received confirmation from Google that Pixel photo backups will be metered for new devices in 2021. That means once you’ve used the free 15GB of space that comes with your Google account, you will need to pay to store any future photos and videos.

Related: Google Photos might not be backing up all your media: Here’s how to check

This news is part of the broader push by Google to monetize Google Photos. Yesterday, the company announced that its long-standing policy of allowing unlimited photo and video backups to all users would end in June 2021. The company divulged that current Pixel phones would be exempt from this new policy, and it was assumed future Pixels would as well. However, that is not the case it seems.

Pixel photo backups are necessary for current devices

The reasoning behind this new policy is pretty easy to ascertain. Google promotes how its line of Pixel devices get free unlimited backups to Google Photos. Television spots, magazine ads, and internet marketing efforts all heavily publicize this perk. If a current Pixel owner found out that Google was taking this perk away, they could rightly sue the company over it.

However, what is surprising is how that won’t apply to future Pixel handsets. Google will need to focus on other aspects of the Pixel ecosystem instead to entice users.

It is interesting that Google has made this decision regarding Pixel photo backups. With the company removing the perk for everyone, you’d think it would keep it for Pixel owners to increase the allure of those phones. It seems to us like an easy marketing ploy that makes even more sense now that non-Pixel users won’t get it. Apparently, Google doesn’t agree.

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