If you have a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, you have just lost a great feature on your phone as users around the world have lost the free and unlimited original quality photo backup feature previously offered by Google.
This allowed Pixel 3 owners to save photos and videos taken using their Pixel devices in their original quality to Google Photos for free, without counting against storage limits.
However, Google said that after January 31, 2022, “photos and videos backed up in Original quality will count toward your Google Account storage.” This only applies to new content though – photos and videos you’ve previously backed up will still not count towards your storage.
Additionally, Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL users will still be able to save content in Storage Saver Quality (formerly known as High Quality) for free, so there are still a few benefits to owning the Pixel 3.
In fact, the Pixel 3 lineup still has the edge over some other Pixels here. This change brings it in line with the Pixel 3a all the way up to the Pixel 5, but the new Pixel 6 lineup comes with no photo storage which doesn’t count against the storage limits.
This change of approach is unfortunate. Considering the fact that most phones these days do not come with expandable storage, backing up high-resolution images and videos to Google Photos would help users free up space on their devices. This feature was therefore one of the main selling points of the Pixel phones. .
That’s not the end of the bad news for the Pixel 3 series either, as these phones are nearing the end of their lives, Google is only expected to roll out one final update for them very soon, and that will likely be one small one – these handsets shouldn’t get Android 13.
Analysis: Other Ways to Save High-Resolution Images
If you want to continue storing original-quality content on the Pixel 3 through Google Photos, you’ll need to upgrade to a plan that gives you additional storage. Google offers different Google One plan tiers beyond the 15GB of free storage, but those come at a cost.
But Google Photos/Google One isn’t the only game in town, so if you want stop using Google Photos there is a lot of alternative options, and some of them are cheaper.
Alternatively, you can always back up your content to physical drives like your computer’s storage or portable hard drives. This might be one of the easiest solutions, but it has its own drawbacks, including the lack of automatic backups.