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16GB iPhone users rejoice: New Google Photos feature lets you easily free up storage on iOS

photos tweet - free up space

Google is adding some new space-saving features to its Photos app on both the web and iOS. 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 iOS, 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 by going into Settings and clicking ‘Recover Storage’.

As for iOS, 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 storage will see this Assistant card pop up. The update is rolling out now on Android and coming soon to iOS as well.

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  1. AeronPeryton - 7 years ago

    I save even more space than that by not using Google Photos.

    I also may or may not have a 128GB iPhone. :V

  2. codemonkey85 - 7 years ago

    Too bad this feature is useless if you also send your photos to iCloud Photo Library – I don’t want them deleted from there!

  3. dcj001 - 7 years ago

    “Now, everyone that gets close to maxing out their phone’s memory”

    Memory? Are you talking about RAM?

    Or maybe you are talking about storage.

    • crisss1205 - 7 years ago

      What type of storage does the iPhone use again? Oh yea, NAND Flash Memory.

      • mzaur8 - 7 years ago

        RAM and storage are two different things. Doesn’t matter if the technology is similar nowadays, they serve different functions and need to be differentiated in language. Running out of memory is different than running out of storage.

    • chrisl84 - 7 years ago

      Flash Memory

  4. bpmajesty - 7 years ago

    Yeah, this isn’t new or exclusive to Google photos at all!

    Copy, Carousel , Flickr, and share to photo stream have been doing this for years now.

    Just saying…

    • mzaur8 - 7 years ago

      Um, no they aren’t. None of those apps have an automatic feature like this.

      • dcj001 - 7 years ago


      • Andrew Messenger - 7 years ago

        iCloud Photo Library has been doing this for a year via Settings > iCloud > Photos > Optimize iPhone Storage.

  5. John Smith - 7 years ago

    Where are these photos being ‘backed up’ ? Google’s servers?

    Elsewhere on this blog it’s being said that privacy is so important that security services should not be able to access iPhones/iMessage – even if it would save lives or prevent harm to a child – even if it was with a lawful court order. Privacy is THAT important.

    But here I’m being told to hand over all my private photographs to an overseas corporation – me, family, children, people who have not agreed to Google’s (no) privacy policy and have no knowledge that their images are being given to Google.

    No thanks.

    • Tom@L (@_ArcTic_FiRe) - 7 years ago

      Do you know that US courts can order Apple to give your private photographs from iCloud servers? Only photos and documents are encrypted in your phone, so while that cant be accessed by law enforcements, they can access your icloud data quite easily.

  6. strawbis - 7 years ago

    Google??? You mean the same Google that wants to know everything about you and yours so they can sell the information to advertisers? The very same Google that’ll gladly sell your photo’s to Plastic Surgeons offering to “improve” your but ugly looks …for a nominal fee of course? and you surely don’t mean the Google that’ll sell your pictures to Lazer Eye surgeons that won’t hesitate to recommend Eye Surgery to rid you of those old fashioned thick framed glasses you’ve worn since childhood?

    I could do without the makeover advice, but thanks anyway.

  7. Please just be cognizant about the meta-data you’re handing over to Google if you use this. They know where you were, when you were there, and through facial recognition, WHO you were with. The amount of information that can be determined by this and from other sources, including your friends, is copious, without exaggeration. If you don’t mind, knock yourself out, but just make sure you’re making an informed decision.

  8. Howie Isaacks - 7 years ago

    Nope. Google will NEVER be allowed to store my data.

  9. slowawake - 7 years ago

    You should at least mention that this feature already exists with iCloud Photos and syncs to Photos on the Mac, which I’m often still educating friends and family about. Rejoice, you could already free up storage without using Google’s services!

  10. Guille ッ (@gserraes) - 7 years ago

    For us Mac users, iCloud Photo Library works like a charm, automatically reducing space of photos while keeping originals in the cloud, plus 50 GB for $.99 is enough for “many”, if not most users.

    • Steve Lawrence - 7 years ago

      Problem is, for owners of 16GB iOS devices (which this article is aimed at), iCloud Photo Library takes up a LOT of space, even with the option to optimise space turned on. A reasonable size photo library can easily consume a big percentage of your storage. It’s a non-starter for me for that reason.

  11. Give us your photos, we won’t spy on you, don’t worry. Best regards, Google. – Yeah, right. No… thanks!

  12. b9bot - 7 years ago

    I wouldn’t celebrate anything if you have to work with Google. Your privacy will go away on anything Google. You might even see your photos online somewhere too. My advice, don’t do Google anything.

    • srgmac - 7 years ago

      Agreed. Apple must look like such idiots; their whole spiel is privacy and protection — but with a 16GB device that has no mSD slot what the fuck else are you supposed to do BUT use *some* cloud storage?

  13. srgmac - 7 years ago

    Careful giving el Goog access to your data…That’s all I’m going to say.

  14. Charles Iams - 7 years ago

    Rejoice about what? That Google has finally caught up? This is already built into dropbox and built in to iOS…