How to Get Unlimited Original Quality on Google Photos

Published: July 4, 2020
By Anthony
2 min read
How to Get Unlimited Original Quality on Google Photos

Google Photos is an excellent product that allows users to upload all of their photos to the cloud for free which makes it super easy to share photos and revisit memories. Many of us might not know that Google is actually compressing our photos when they get uploaded. This free tier is called "High quality", but you can actually upload all your photos in "Original quality".

How does High Quality compare with Original Quality?

To get a good idea of what High Quality looks like compared to Original Quality, I've uploaded the same photo in both formats. One noticable difference is the size of the images. The High Quality file is 651 KB while Original Quality is 2.3MB. That's almost a 4x size reduction!

Image ComparisonImage Comparison

For most of your photos taken on a smartphone, this compression might not matter that much, but what about high res photos taken from a DSLR? The Original Quality is on the left and the High Quality is on the right.

Image ComparisonImage Comparison

You can check out the Original Image here and the High Quality Image here.

So how do I get unlimited storage?

Pixel owners have unlimited free storage at Original quality; however, only the Pixel 1 has this promotion forever. Check this link for your device's compatibility. If you own a Pixel 2 or Pixel 3, the images you uploaded will remain Original quality even after the Original quality offer period. Unfortunately, Google stopped offering this service with the Pixel 4. :(

One cool trick is to transfer photos taken from other devices to a Pixel device and those photos will be uploaded at Original quality. I've uploaded over 1TB worth of photos and videos taken on my DSLR cameras and transferred them over to my Pixel to upload!

Since the promotion only lasts forever for Pixel 1 devices I would recommend purchasing one to take advantage of the free Cloud storage. Pixel 1 devices are pretty cheap to buy used these days. You can find a bunch of used Pixel 1s for less than $100 on Amazon.


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