Free original quality Google Photos backups were perhaps one of the best perks Google ever offered with the Pixel series. For those unfamiliar with it, the original Pixel, Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 allowed users to backup their images and videos to Google Photos at original quality for free. The feature had a time limit, however — the Pixel 2 series’ limit ends today.
Typically, original quality backups count towards your Google One storage. Given enough time, you’d likely use up all your cloud storage and have to pay for more. Google Photos also offers a ‘high quality’ backup feature that compresses images and videos. They still look pretty good, but not as good as original quality. High quality backups currently don’t count towards your Google One storage, but that’s set to change in June.
It’s worth noting that starting with the Pixel 3a, Google only offered free high quality backups on Pixel devices. It’s not as good of a perk, but with the upcoming changes to high quality backups counting towards your storage cap, free high quality backups are definitely a perk.
As for the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, those devices had a three-year time span for free original quality uploads. That three-year cap expires on January 16th, 2021, making today the last day to upload photos at original quality without it counting towards your Google One storage.
Starting January 17th, Pixel 2 series users will need to pick between original quality and high quality — the former will start counting against your Google One storage, while the latter will remain free (even when the new Google Photos storage policy goes into effect in June).
To access the backup quality settings, open Photos on your device and tap your profile icon in the top-right corner. Then, select ‘Account storage’ or tap ‘Photos settings’ > ‘Backup and sync’ to select your quality setting.