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New Google Photos features let you more easily free up storage on Android and web

photos tweet - free up space

Google is adding some new space saving features to Photos on both the web and Android. A new feature rolling out to the web client starting Wednesday will give the option to downgrade photos previous backed up in full resolution to the compressed mode in order to save space. And on Android, there’s a new “Free up space” button being added to the settings menu that deletes already backed up photos…

One of the things that makes the photo service so popular is the ability to back up an unlimited amount of photos in a “High quality” mode where photos over 16 megapixels are compressed. For most, this option suffices for sharing and storing photos. There is also an “Original quality” mode that allows for photo uploads in full resolution, but this counts against your Google Drive storage. If you need to free up some space, you can now convert these to the “High quality” storage option.

Googler John Elstone has it:

When users choose to backup their photos and videos to Google Photos, we allow photos to be uploaded in two ways:
“Original quality” (large file, full resolution). These photos count against a user’s Google storage quota.
“High quality” (smaller file, compressed file). These photos don’t count against a user’s Google storage quota.

If a user joined Google Photos and selected the “Original quality’ setting for their photos, but changed their mind, they could have future media backed up in “High quality”. However, for media already backed up in “Original quality” before then, users were in an awkward state: they had no way to downgrade that media to “High quality”.

With this update, users will be able to downgrade previously backed up photos from “Original quality” to “High quality” by visiting their computer and clicking ‘Recover Storage’.

As for Android, users who upload photos in original quality may already be familiar with an option to bulk delete device copies when their storage nears full. Now, everyone that gets close to maxing out their phone’s memory will see this Assistant card pop up. Additionally, phones with SD cards will have the option to delete photos stored there. The update is rolling out now and coming soon to iOS as well.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: