With the release of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, fans were somewhat disappointed to announce that they would lose the long-standing offer of unlimited, free, premium-quality downloads to Google Photos, an offer already available in three previous generations of Pixel phones. To add insult to the injury, a Reddit user (/u/stephenvsawyer) revealed that iPhone users currently enjoy unlimited storage of photos, but, as discovered by Android Police, this situation is on the point of change.
Although Google Photos users have as many “high quality” images for free as they wish, if you do not pay for a premium account, any image stored in “Original Quality” is counted in the maximum storage limit of 15 GB of this account. It also includes other services such as Drive, Docs, and more.
Since iOS 11, iPhones use the HEIC file format to take photos and store them locally on the device. One of the main advantages of such a size is that it compresses the image more than the JPEG format and therefore takes up less storage space. Android police contacted Google about this quirk, and the software giant said it knew about the workaround and would fix the “bug.”
However, no details were revealed about how Google intended to “solve” this problem. Some of these possibilities include lowering the file size threshold for HEIC images to be considered “original quality,” compressing them into even smaller HEIC files, or forcibly converting them to JPEG images once downloaded.
None of these options are overly ideal for the consumer, but Google will have to do something not to harm its own customers while offering users of competing products a free product.