Google Pixel 5a is losing this killer Pixel 5 feature

Google Pixel 6 leak
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While it’s not technically been announced yet the Google Pixel 5a has already been dealt a blow, as Google has confirmed that the rumored low-cost handset will not offer unlimited photo storage.

It’s better news for owners of the Pixel 2 through to the Pixel 5 however, as unlimited storage for full-resolution images and videos will continue to be offered on those Google smartphones.

The head of Google Photos’ Growth and Premium Experience department, Raja Ayyagari, confirmed in a tweet that from June 1, uploads from devices other than the Pixel 2-5 will count towards your Google account storage.

Raja made specific mention of “future Pixels” in his post, so we have somewhat definitive confirmation that Google will not be offering the unlimited storage feature on future Pixel devices.

According to leaks, the Pixel 5a will have a June 11 release date, which would make it the first Pixel device to debut after the unlimited storage offer has been rollbacked. It could make the entry-level smartphone a less attractive proposition compared to devices like the iPhone SE and the rumored Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

This is quite a blow to the Pixel range, as unlimited storage has often been considered a key feature of Google phones. To promote the very first Pixel back in 2016, Google released a series of advertisements mocking Apple for the lack of storage offered on the iPhone.

While we’re glad to see that free unlimited cloud storage will at least continue to be offered to Pixel users on currently released devices, losing this feature will almost certainly make the Pixel range less attractive in the future. 

Google first announced this change to its storage offering in November last year, with the tech giant confirming that once a user hits 15GB of cloud storage a charge will come into place to continue to backup files. 

Google documents and spreadsheets will also count towards the cap from June, rather than just high-quality image files. So it definitely looks like Google is quickly backpedaling on its more generous approach to cloud storage. 

While the cap is disappointing after five years of unlimited storage, Google is still offering significantly more storage for free than the likes of Apple’s iCloud service which starts charging users after just 5GB.

Google has claimed that 80% of Google Photo users won’t hit the 15GB cap for at least three years, so it’s clearly banking on the fact that this change will only impact a minority of Pixel users.

If you're after extra storage, then check out our selections for the best cloud storage you can sign up for right now. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.