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For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article shows you how.

google-photos.jpg

High Quality vs Original Quality Uploads

Google Photos has traditionally offered two storage options: "Original Quality," for which photos count against your storage quota, and "High Quality," which is the free and unlimited option, although it shrinks images bigger than 16 megapixels and videos over 1080p.

Whichever option you rely on, from next month both of these options will count against your Google cloud storage allocation. That could present a problem if you rely on the 15GB of free storage that comes with every Google account, or even if you already pay Google for extra storage.

What Does That Mean for My Existing Uploads?

It's important to note that any "High Quality" images already uploaded before June 1 will be exempt from this change and won't count against your storage quota, but anything uploaded after that date will eat up your allowance, so unless you plan on upping your Google storage with a paid plan, it may be time to export your photos and store them elsewhere. If you're already invested in Apple's ecosystem, iCloud is the obvious choice.

Google One storage costs $2/month for 100GB, $3/month for 200GB, and $10/month for 2TB, with discounted annual payment options also available. As for Apple's iCloud, storage options are $1/month for 50GB, $3/month for 200GB, and $10/month for 2TB. Apple One bundles also include storage allowances alongside other digital services like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+.

How to Export Your Google Photos

By using the Share option in the Google Photos app, you can export individual images from Google Photos, but if you're looking for a bulk-export option, the following steps walk through the process.
  1. Using a desktop browser, navigate to takeout.google.com and sign in using your Google account credentials.
    Under "Create a New Export," in the section titled "Select Data to include," click Deselect all.
    export-google-photos1.jpg

    Scroll down to Google Photos and check the relevant box, then scroll to the bottom and click the Next step button.
    export-google-photos2.jpg

    Choose your export file type, frequency, and destination, then click the Create export button.
    export-google-photos3.jpg
Once the request has been made, you'll see an "Export progress" message. The time it takes for your export to finish depends on the size of your media library, but Google will send an email to let you know when it's ready. Alternately, leave the page open and you'll see a Download button when the export is ready.

icloud-photos-1.jpg

Once you've received your exported images, you can drag them into the Photos app on your Mac. To ensure the changes are synced to your Apple devices, check that iCloud Photos is turned on: You can find the switch in he iCloud tab in Photos' preferences (click Photos -> Preferences in the menu bar). Note that you can also upload photos via a browser by going to the iCloud Photos section on the icloud.com website.

Article Link: PSA: Google Photos Unlimited Storage Ends Next Month, Here's How to Export Your Pictures to iCloud
 
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slickmacke

macrumors newbie
Mar 6, 2008
15
0
Will this method have issues with EXIF data? That's been a huge issue for me in the past no matter what service it is.
 
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Agit21

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2016
329
1,166
Biggest issue: live pictures arent exported correctly. They work fine in google photos but when I export and upload them to say Amazon Photos I have a picture and a 2 second video :/
 
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Robert_Lora

macrumors newbie
May 31, 2015
7
9
The two programs that helped make this a bearable transfer for me last week:
  1. Duplicate File Finder (or just erase all files ending in “-edited”)
  2. Google Photo Metadata Fixer
Good luck!
 
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KanosWRX

macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2008
358
211
Not sure why people would switch to iCloud, Google Photos is still better. iCloud is what $120 a year for 2 TB, Google Storage is $100 TB. Google Photos has far superior tagging and searching capabilities which are critical for finding photos these days since we take so many. I mean those two reasons alone would make me want to keep my photos on Google Photos. Nothing is free, storage costs money, mobile apps cost money. I have no issues with Google Photos costing money as it is the best photo storage service still. My one complaint is the massive hole between their 2TB tier and the 10TB tier.. why not a 5TB tier in the middle?
 
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velocityg4

macrumors 603
Dec 19, 2004
5,888
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Georgia
I guess the value of AI training people were providing (most without realizing it). Plus the value of data mining is no longer cost efficient for Google. Given how much larger files are with high res pictures, live photos, HDR and 4k 60FPS video shot by phones.

So, if I pay for storage. Does that mean Google no longer gets free data mining or AI training from me?
 
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Techwatcher

macrumors 6502a
Sep 21, 2013
590
1,322
NYC
Unlimited upload services for photos never make sense, especially when free. Amazon has unlimited upload storage as well but at least they charge for it. And even then I’m sure the “unlimited” portion is going away at some point. People will always find a way to abuse unlimited storage and ruin it for well meaning people.
 
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waveman

macrumors regular
Jul 23, 2015
119
52
These corporations always give something for free for a reason, to make people used to a product, and then, when most of them cannot live without it - the money plan kicks in. It's all about controlling the masses and shaping brains to feet their financial strategy.
 
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zorinlynx

macrumors 604
May 31, 2007
6,602
11,104
Florida, USA
Two things:

1) On the free tier, Google recompresses your original photos before upload. If you have access to the original full quality photos, you probably want to import THAT into iCloud Photo Library instead of what's on Google.


2) Google used to keep all your photos synced in Google Drive, which would then sync to your local computers, providing you with a continuously updated local copy of your photo library. They stopped doing this at some point, and now the only way to get a full local copy of your photo library is to use Google Takeout. However, all photos synced up to that point will be in Google Drive. It's important to NOT assume that is your entire photo library; it will be missing photos taken after they stopped doing that.

Frankly, Google Photos has become a less viable solution over the years. The lack of a continuously synced local copy of your photos, along with the lack of a great local native app to manage your library on a computer (like Photos.app on the Mac) pretty much destroyed it for me.
 
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neuropsychguy

macrumors 65832
Sep 29, 2008
1,502
2,699
The thought of asking iCloud to upload a good 20,000 files fills me with dread
Within the past 2 months I uploaded about 45000 images. It was flawless and much faster than I expected, taking only a few days (honestly, I didn't keep track of the time but it was somewhere in the range of 2 - 5 days). My upload speed from my ISP is capped at 10 Mbps.

EDIT: I have a Synology NAS but family members aren't too keen on using it. It works well but it not as convenient as iCloud so we just use iCloud now and use the NAS to hold an additional copy of photos and videos.
 
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GermanSuplex

macrumors 65816
Aug 26, 2009
1,233
29,147
While this sucks, I can see why Google had to do it. Apple's HEIF photos are usually smaller than the traditional jpegs which are reduced in size by Google, so to reduce the quality, Google would actually need to make a larger file. So you can have original quality in HEIF at a smaller file size than the "High Quality" size-reduced images, which negated the need to purchase storage.
 
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k27

macrumors regular
Jan 23, 2018
100
76
Europe
I guess the value of AI training people were providing (most without realizing it). Plus the value of data mining is no longer cost efficient for Google. Given how much larger files are with high res pictures, live photos, HDR and 4k 60FPS video shot by phones.

So, if I pay for storage. Does that mean Google no longer gets free data mining or AI training from me?
I had thought the same thing. :)

But also on the iCloud I would not upload photos. The photos are probably better stored there than on Google. But the iCloud is also nothing more than a computer in another country (at least for me) without E2E encryption, which is not under my control.
I find it questionable that (i)Cloud users upload photos of family members and friends to other people's computers without asking.
 
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gimmesomemo

macrumors member
Feb 3, 2010
48
61
I uploaded about 45000 images within the past two months. It was flawless and much faster than I expected. My upload speed from my ISP is capped at 10 Mbps.
I often hear stories of you people who iCloud works well for. I truly wish it did, really. But for me it’s completely pants. Trivial things like looking at a video on my photos app, or even a photo (!!), which it needs to fetch from the cloud, even on an Ethernet connection to a good 100mbps can be like stepping back to 1995. Don’t get me wrong, I still use it, I’ve got Apple one. I am optimistic that one day they’ll pull their finger out.
 
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edk99

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2009
859
1,404
FL
These corporations always give something for free for a reason, to make people used to a product, and then, when most of them cannot live without it - the money plain kicks in. It's all about controlling the masses and shaping brains to feet their financial strategy.
Who is forcing you to use a product and who are these people that cannot live without it?
 
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alexandr

macrumors 68030
Nov 11, 2005
2,529
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11201-121099
well this is fun — i never even realized that we get free photo storage with amazon. anyone using this — is it a decent platform?
 
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hagar

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2008
1,078
2,266
It was obvious frome the start this day would come. l’m glad I’ve never touched Google Photos.

Too bad Apple didn’t take the opportunity to double their iCloud storage options. I’m at 200GB and don’t wish to upgrade to 2TB.
 
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Sasparilla

macrumors 68000
Jul 6, 2012
1,646
2,723
....So, if I pay for storage. Does that mean Google no longer gets free data mining or AI training from me?
Well you can be sure, if that was the case, Google would be trumpeting their privacy standing here from the rooftops as that would be a big deal, but no just crickets.

So going forward, file this change in the "You pay for this and we'll data mine and make money off your photos / locations however else we can.." bin.

Microsoft does something similiar with Windows, you pay for it and they data mine the heck out of the users (presumably their newish browser as well). Probably the next step (i.e. new normal) towards increasing profits for these guys.
 
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GSWForever8

macrumors 6502
Apr 10, 2021
306
254
Not sure why people would switch to iCloud, Google Photos is still better. iCloud is what $120 a year for 2 TB, Google Storage is $100 TB. Google Photos has far superior tagging and searching capabilities which are critical for finding photos these days since we take so many. I mean those two reasons alone would make me want to keep my photos on Google Photos. Nothing is free, storage costs money, mobile apps cost money. I have no issues with Google Photos costing money as it is the best photo storage service still. My one complaint is the massive hole between their 2TB tier and the 10TB tier.. why not a 5TB tier in the middle?
I use google drive for school. All the files are unorganized, and the previews sometimes show something completely different. I feel that iCloud is superior in my opinion, or more like because I haven’t completely invested in the google ecosystem lol.
 
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deannnnn

macrumors 68020
Jun 4, 2007
2,061
441
New York City & South Florida
I use google drive for school. All the files are unorganized, and the previews sometimes show something completely different. I feel that iCloud is superior in my opinion, or more like because I haven’t completely invested in the google ecosystem lol.
We're not talking about Google Drive. We're talking about Google Photos. They are two completely different Google services (although they do pull from the same data pool).
 
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