Google Pixel 3 range has lost support for a key feature

Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
(Image credit: Future)

If you own a Pixel 3 or a Pixel 3 XL then you'll have just lost a great feature of your phone, as users across the globe have lost the free unlimited original-quality photo backup feature previously offered by Google.

This allowed Pixel 3 owners to back up photos and videos shot using their Pixel devices in their original quality for free in Google Photos, without it counting towards any storage limits.

However, Google said that beyond January 31, 2022, "photos and videos backed up in Original quality will count toward your Google Account storage". That only applies to new content though - the photos and videos you've previously backed up still won't count towards your storage.

Plus, users of the Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL will still be able to back up content in Storage saver quality (previously named High quality) at no charge, so there are still some perks to Pixel 3 ownership.

In fact, the Pixel 3 range still has the edge over some other Pixels here. This change brings it in line with the Pixel 3a through to the Pixel 5, but the new Pixel 6 range comes with no photo storage that doesn't count towards storage limits.

This change in approach is a shame. Considering the fact that most phones these days don't come with expandable storage, backing up high-resolution images and videos on Google Photos would help users free up space on their devices, so this feature was one of the key selling points for Pixel phones.

This isn't the end of the bad news for the Pixel 3 series either, as these phones are approaching the end of their life, with Google expected to roll out just one final update for them sometime soon, and it will likely be a small one - these handsets aren't expected to get Android 13.

Google Photos

(Image credit: Google)

Analysis: alternate ways to back up high-resolution images 

If you want to continue storing original quality content on the Pixel 3 through Google Photos then you'll need to opt for a plan that offers you extra storage. Google offers various Google One plan tiers beyond the 15GB of free storage, but these come at a cost.

But Google Photos / Google One isn't the only game in town, so if you want to stop using Google Photos there are a lot of alternative options, and some of them are cheaper.

Alternatively, you can always back up your content on physical drives like your computer's storage or portable hard disks. This might be one of the easiest solutions, however, it has its own drawbacks, which includes the lack of automatic backups.

Jitendra Soni

Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.