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Google Photos update for Web lets you retroactively downgrade photo resolutions with Recover Storage

Have you run into issues with your Google Photos cloud storage lately? I have. For the first time in 3 years, I’ve run into a problem where full-resolution images have now killed whatever cloud storage I had with Google. Of course, my 25GB of free Google Drive cloud storage has come to an end too, courtesy of a two-year trial offer, which makes the need to free up cloud storage all the more significant.

With Google Photos, you have the opportunity to choose between 1) photos backed up at full resolution, which allows you to upload your 20MP photos as they are, or 2) high-resolution photos which are free but only allow your photos to upload at the max resolution of 16MP. If you decide to upload photos on your Galaxy S6 Active at full resolution, however, prepare to have your limited Google Drive storage occupied quickly — leaving you with no new room for more, Ultra HD photos and forcing you to downgrade your photo resolutions to free up storage.

The only problem has been, however, that Google hasn’t allowed Google Photos users to downgrade their photo resolutions retroactively — that is, until today. Now, according to a new post from the search engine giant, Google Photos users can decide to retroactively downgrade their photo resolutions and free up cloud storage space for more photos, emails, and so on. Here’s the official word from Google:

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…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 photos.google.com/settings from their computer and clicking ‘Recover Storage.’

Google has said that this same Recover Storage feature will arrive on iOS soon, although we don’t have a specific date. At any rate, prepare to recover your lost storage. Google will roll out the update starting Wednesday, November 18th.

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