Google Photos unlimited storage is over — unless you own a Google Pixel

Google Photos
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google Photos' era of unlimited storage is coming to an end. Unless you have a Google Pixel phone that is.

Luckily, owners of Pixel devices will continue to get certain perks. And depending on the model, it will net users different tiers of unlimited Google Photos storage. 

If you happen to be a Pixel user already, or plan to buy one, here's the run-down of the Google Photos benefits you can still get.

Google Pixel/ Pixel XL

The first-generation Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL get the best deal out of all the phones. Google offered full-quality back-ups for life when these phones launched, and although Google Photos is changing, this offer isn't ending. 

Google Pixel

(Image credit: Future)

That's all well and good, but these phones are coming up to five years old, so it won't make a good primary device anymore. It's certainly worth hanging onto them if you already own it however, since it still takes good photos, has strong battery life and has been updated to the relatively recent Android 10.

Google Pixel 2/ Pixel 2 XL

Unlimited full-quality photos were available for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, until January 2021. Now you get unlimited "Storage Saver" space instead, It's not the best quality, but it at least lets you keep all your shots safe in the cloud.

Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL

(Image credit: Future)

In its day, the Pixel 2 series offered great performance and battery life. While these have been surpassed by more recent phones, it can still take excellent photos, and is compatible with Android 11 just like brand-new phones are.

Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL

You still have a year left to enjoy unlimited full-quality storage with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. After January 31, 2022, this will end and you'll have to settle for Storage Saver space like the Pixel 2 gang does.

Google Pixel 3

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

We loved both the standard and XL versions of the Pixel 3 at launch. They continued Google's trend of great photos and powerful performance, particularly with the addition of its class-leading Night Sight low-light photography mode.

Google Pixel 4/4 XL, Google Pixel 5, Google Pixel 3a/3a XL, Google Pixel 4a/4a 5G

Google's stopped offering full-quality back-ups for more recent Pixel phones. Essentially if you own a Pixel that launched in 2019 or later, you get lifetime Storage Saver space, but no option for full-quality storage unless you pay like a normal user. It seems unlikely that Google will make this offer more generous for the upcoming Google Pixel 5a and Google Pixel 6, but we can dream.

Google Pixel measure heart rate and breathing

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

At least these phones are still some of the best Android phones around. The Pixel 5 is a great alternative take on how flagship phones can utilize Android to its fullest potential, just as the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL did before, albeit with less refined features like the infamous Motion Sense gesture controls.

Google Pixel 4a review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you're on a budget, the Pixel 4a is the best of the best cheap phones on offer right now, just like the Pixel 3a was when it first launched. They both offer excellent features for the price, particularly when it comes to photography.

Google Pixel 4a 5G review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Pixel 4a 5G sits in a weird spot between the flagship and budget Pixel phones. It's a little too expensive to be considered a cheap phone, but it offers identical cameras and the same processor as the Pixel 5, making it great if you want some but not all of the flagship experience.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.