Google Photos Update Ends Confusion on Pixel 2 Original Quality Uploads

When the Google Pixel 2 lineup was released a couple of weeks ago, the new phones, like the first generation, were announced to have free uploading of original quality photos to Google Photos.  For those not familiar with Google Photos, original quality photos normally count against your Google Drive quota (which is leveraged by Photos) but compressed, high quality photos, don’t count against it.  Normally for photos under 16MP high quality is a great option because it is pretty lossless.

After the release of the Pixel 2 phones, it was noticed that the original quality uploading for free ended in 2020.  It cause a lot of confusion:  What happens to my photos I’ve uploaded already?  Do they get deleted?  Do they get compressed?  Thanks to an APK tear down by the Android Police team, we have a clearer answer.

During the tear down of the new version 3.7 build of Google Photos, the Android Police team found a line of code that clarifies what will happen to photos uploaded prior to 2020 from a Google Pixel 2 device.

New items will back up in High quality (reduced file size, free unlimited storage). Items uploaded before %s will remain free at Original quality.

This means that photos prior to 2020 will remain in original quality and will not suddenly count against your Google Drive quota.

This is inline with what I speculated the day after the Pixel 2 announcement.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, Google gave no indication that photos uploaded from a Pixel 2 prior to October 2020 will suddenly be retroactively counting against your quota.  It appears to be a “from that point forward” statement.

But, for now, I think we can all put this one to bed.

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