Google Photos - Free Unlimited Storage at Original Quality for iPhone Users
Apple made a change to the way modern iPhones capture photos by default, switching to HEIF/HEVC or “High Efficiency”. This helps reduce file size, but retain the clarity of the photos.
Turns out that Apple’s decision to do that has actually led to what appears to be a loophole for Google Photos users. As was first reported by 9to5Mac from Reddit user “stephenvsawyer“, the switch to High Efficiency means that if Google wanted to compress the photos (as it typically does for photos not stored in original quality), the file size of each photos would actually get bigger, not smaller.
This means that, with this feature turned on, Google Photos will store original quality photos with free unlimited storage, a perk that was traditionally tied to the company’s Pixel smartphone lineup.
(This loophole only applies to photos, and not videos.)
This is good news for iPhone owners, as long as the loophole exists. But it’s even more interesting when it appears that Google is not offering this particular perk to owners of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, two handsets it just announced. Google didn’t offer free unlimited storage at original quality for the Pixel 3a, either, but that was chalked up to the low cost of the phone (compared to the standard Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL).