Google Photos offers free unlimited photo and video storage, even for iPhones and iPads

One of the major benefits in owning a smartphone is the camera that you always have on hand to take a picture of a memory that you don’t want to forget. Sporting events, children, recitals, vacation, food and our cats are all things we love to take pictures of and many of us take so many that we jam up our internal storage. Until recently, most smartphones came with base storage options of 16GB which would be used up quickly with apps, music and thousands of pictures. A message of “out of memory” is a common occurance for many and is rather irritating because the last thing you want to do is delete a precious memory. Also when you are out of memory, you miss out on pictures that you may never get an opportunity to take again.

Many of you heard about Google’s unlimited photo backup at original quality for its Pixel phones, but Google already offered unlimited storage to everyone, even to iOS users too.

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Smartphones and cameras set at 16MP can store photos for free at high resolution on Google’s servers. For those who prefer original image quality, Google offers 15GB of free storage before it charges for additional storage. If you want more space, Google offers 100GB of storage at $1.99 per month, with plans that work into the TB size offerings. Keep in mind, Apple offers just 5GB of cloud storage for free. Its 50GB plan costs $0.99 a month, with 2TB costing $19.99 a month.

A typical image at 16MP requires 4.6MB of space, which means you can store just over 3200 full size images at original quality before you use up 15GB of space. If you opt to choose Google’s High Quality backup setting, you can store an infinite amount of photos at no cost. Original photo quality is usually needed for photo enthusiasts who use actual cameras and DSLRs, not smartphone cameras.

High quality photos can be up to 16 megapixels (MP) in size. You can print good quality 16 MP photos in sizes up to 24 inches x 16 inches, which is larger than typical printing sizes.

  • If the camera takes photos with 16 megapixels (MP) resolution or lower, most stored photos will essentially look the same using either storage option.
  • If the camera takes photos with a resolution higher than 16 MP, then photos will be downsized to 16 MP.

What about videos?

Google also offers unlimited backup of videos at 1080p resolution or lower. You can opt to have Google resize your 4k videos to high quality as a backup, and as long as a single video does not exceed 2GB, it will get backed up for free.

How do I get Google Photos?

If you’re on an Android there is a good chance it is already installed on your device. If it isn’t, simply head on over to the Google Play Store and download it for free. For iOS users you just have to download Google Photos from the Apple App Store. For both mobile software versions, you will need a Google account, but there’s a high chance you already have one. If not, head on over to this page to create one. It’s free and you will get a new Gmail address too.

The beauty of Google Photos is the ability to access your photos no matter where you are as long as you have a connection to the internet. Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS, Android, Windows Mobile and iOS are all compatible with Google Photos.

With back up & sync turned on, you can delete local copies from your device but keep cloud copies saved in your Google Photos library.

There is even a feature where it allows you to delete the files off your local storage so you will never run out of space again. If you’re worried about using too much data, simply make sure Google Photos is set to backup over Wi-Fi only. Don’t worry, it is set to back up over Wi-Fi as a default.

How to delete local files:

  1. Make sure your photos and videos have been backed up. (Items that are not backed up will have this icon
  2. Open the Google Photos app
  3. At the top left, tap Menu , then Settings.
  4. Tap FREE UP SPACE and follow the instructions.

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Why does Google offer cloud storage for free?

Many experts speculate that Google offers unlimited cloud storage for photos for evil reasons such as using your images to advertise to you in the future. None of your photos are for public consumption unless you allow Google to use them. Google explains its data collecting habits in a Privacy Policy listed on its webpage.

It clearly outlines what data it collects and it also allows users to opt out of any of its collection methods. There will always be skeptics that Google is planning to take over the world by collecting data from you, but if you’re the type who believes that, you should probably turn off the internet altogether. Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and almost all other major tech companies all collects data on you just the same.

If you read through Google’s privacy policy and can accept it for what it is, Google Photos is a great way to backup your photos and videos without fear of losing them. Not having your photos backed up to the cloud leaves your precious memories vulnerable to being lost or deleted forever. Using traditional methods such as back up hard drives and printing are just too risky with as many photos and videos we capture these days.

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