The Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL lost one of their biggest perks – free unlimited Google Photos backup in original quality. It happened yesterday, January 17th, photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos at original quality now count against your storage quota.
Photos and videos uploaded on or before January 16, 2021, remain free at original quality. So if you are a Pixel 2 user did not back up all those awesome shots and videos to Google Photos before said date, it's over.
Every Google Account comes with 15GB of shared free storage. You can purchase additional Google One storage for a monthly or yearly fee.
Original quality Google Photos backup on Pixel 2 now counts against your storage quota
Free unlimited backups to Google Photos at original quality have been one of the biggest perks of early Pixel smartphones. However, Google has been gradually subsiding this generosity with each new Pixel. The original Google Pixel from 2016 gets unlimited free storage at the highest quality throughout its lifetime. However, Google dropped that support to just three years with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 series.
The former has now reached the end of that support period. Launched in 2017, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL recently received their last software update as well. The Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, which were launched in 2018, will continue to enjoy this benefit for one more year, until January 31st, 2022.
Pixel phones launched in 2019 and beyond, which include the Pixel 3a, 3a XL, Pixel 4, 4 XL, Pixel 4a, 4a 5G, and Pixel 5, meanwhile, do not get any free original quality back up to Google Photos. These devices only get high quality (which slightly compresses the files) backups for free. Photos and videos uploaded at the original quality on these phones count against your Google Account storage quota.
This comes after a recent Google Photos policy change that impacts non-Pixel devices. Starting June 1, 2021, all uploads to Google Photos from non-Google phones will count against your Google Account storage. Whether you upload the files in the original quality or a compressed quality, you are not getting any free storage.
Google Pixel phones, — specifically, the "Pixel 1-5" — do still get unlimited high-quality backups. However, Google's phrasing suggests the future generation of Pixel phones may not get the same benefit. We will have to wait until the next Pixel arrives to confirm that.