A vulnerability in Google Photos allows iPhone users to obtain unlimited and free original photo backups in Google Photos, although not officially.
For those who do not know, Google Photos is a storage and photo-sharing service that provides users with unlimited free storage for photos. In addition, Google Photos has three backup modes: “Express”, “High Quality” and “Original Quality”.
Express and High-Quality modes compress the photo size to 3MP and 16MP respectively and offer unlimited storage of photos and videos for free without taking up Google’s cloud storage. On the other hand, the original quality retains the original resolution and the quality of the photos and videos, but uses the amount of storage in the users’ Google account. This eventually consumes free storage space in the cloud and requires the user to buy more storage.
The loophole discovered by Redditor u / stephenvsawyer (via 9to5Mac) on modern iPhones with iOS 11 and higher allows users to get unlimited storage of their images with their original resolution in Google Photos.
These phones allow users to take photos in Apple’s “HEIC” format and not in JPG, which is smaller than high-quality compressed images from Google Photo. As a result, iPhone users who use the default settings to save photos as HEIC / HEIF will get unlimited free storage with the original resolution and quality in Google Photos, as Google would increase the file size.
To take advantage of the escape, you can go to Settings -> Camera -> Formats -> and select “High efficiency”.
“With all modern iPhones taking photos in HEIC format, which is smaller than even compressed JPG files from Google, iPhones get unlimited and free ORIGINAL quality backups simply because it would cost Google so much storage space (because if Google will try to compress iPhones’ HEIC photos, they actually get bigger) and computing power (because Google doesn’t need to compress and process all the billions of photos from iPhones backups), “Stephenvsawyer wrote on Apple’s subreddit .
“So, Apple is literally saving Google millions of dollars by taking its photos in HEIC and it also benefits iPhone users because we get free and original quality backups.”
While photos can still be stored in their original size, 4K videos, unfortunately, will be saved at 1080p when stored in Google Photos on iPhones.
Google has plans to fix the void that the search giant calls “error.”
“We are aware of this error and we are working to solve it,” Google said in a statement to Android Police.
Currently, there is no option in the new Google Pixel 4 series to save photos in HEIC image format; however, this format is compatible with Android as of version 10. Therefore, one can expect Pixel 4 phones to take advantage of the unlimited original quality backup feature in the future once the giant of The search implements the latest operating system sometime in the future.