How to prepare for Google's New Cloud Storage Restrictions?
As of June 1, 2021, all files you create or upload through Google's services will use up part of your allocated storage space. If you have a free account, it's only a matter of time before you fill it. And if you have an older Google account that you use for long-term storage - but you seldom sign up - you might want to do that much more regularly.
The changes in Google's storage limits is a big change from the current policy, especially for Google Photos, that used to let users upload unlimited photos for free as long as they were stored in "High" quality instead of "Original". Drive and Gmail have also allowed exceptions to certain files, but as soon as Google's new policy comes into effect next year, any new photos you upload or documents you create will be included in the total allocated cloud storage space of your Google account.
The changes will apply to all users on all devices, although there are some exceptions to which files will actually be counted on your storage limit:
- Only photos and files created or uploaded after June 1, 2021 will be included. Previously uploaded content will not be counted (unless you delete and re-upload the files after June 1, 2021).
- Photos taken with a Pixel phone and uploaded in "high" quality are not included in your cloud storage limit.
Most Google users only have 15 GB of free storage space to work with, so it won't take long for enthusiastic photographers and people who do most of their work in Drive to use their cloud data - especially if you have tons of files that already take up space.
When Google could delete your account for inactivity
Not only are Google's storage limits awkward, the company will also actively start removing data from accounts that exceed their limit or remain inactive for too long.
According to an email sent by Google to users, "If you are inactive in Gmail, Drive or Photos for 2 years (24 months), we may remove the content of the product(s) in which you are inactive. If you exceed your storage limit for 2 years, we can remove your content in Gmail, Drive and Photos.
As the new restrictions will not take effect until June 2021, the quickest way to remove your content is on June 1, 2023. However, as long as your account is active and you stay within your allocated storage space, your content will remain safe in the cloud. Google probably hopes this will encourage more users to buy Pixel phones and larger Google One storage programs, but these are not the only solutions.
Take control of your Google storage
Before June, take the time to check your various Google accounts, delete what you don't need and back up your photos elsewhere. (We have a tutorial on backing up and deleting your Google data using Google's online data management tools, and how to migrate your Google photo library elsewhere).
If you're not sure what other services are available, check out our suggestions for the best alternatives to Google Photos, the best cloud storage services and free options for backing up your smartphone photos - although storing your photos and files on an external hard drive or even a combustible drive is always a good idea, too.
Was this article helpful?70 Posted by: 👨 David A. Hill