Google has confirmed that Google Photos has encountered an error that causes the service to back up original quality photos even with a free account.
Last week, the report said that recent iPhones have been able to take advantage of an unlimited backup of original quality photos on Google Photos even if their owners paid nothing to Google. Google immediately confirmed the information and said it was trying to fix this situation.
Related to the aforementioned issue, a Reddit member said this came from the recent iPhone’s ability to save images taken in HEIC / HEIF format by default. This is a relatively new image format, maintaining image quality while significantly reducing file size. Meanwhile, Google Photos usually saves backup images in compressed JPEG format, but converting HEIC / HEIF images to JPEG will result in a larger file size.
Interestingly, Google Pixel 4 no longer has the ability to save unlimited original image quality to Google Photos as with the Pixel series when it was launched before. This means that Apple devices are being favored over Google devices.
Therefore, Google made a statement that it was an accident and the company is trying to fix the problem. It is not clear how Google’s handling. Will they simply block the iPhone from getting unlimited storage space when storing photos in their original quality, or will the company bring the ability to take photos in Apple’s new format to Android in the near future.
The second is entirely possible when the Galaxy S10 itself supports the HEIF / HEIC format, while Android Pie, Android 10 and Snapdragon 855 all do the same thing. But this will cause Google to miss revenue if they open the original quality unlimited storage for all phones that support HEIF.