Currently, the Google Photos iOS app happily uploads photos in Apple’s efficient HEIC format without requiring them to be converted from “Original Quality” to “High Quality JPEG.”
The reason is that the HEIC photos are already smaller than Google’s compressed JPEG format, so the Photos app doesn’t convert them during upload, meaning the pictures are essentially stored on Google’s servers for free in their original size. The quirk was uncovered by a Reddit user last week.
However, the unintentional perk for Apple device owners looks to be on borrowed time. Over the weekend, a Google spokesperson told Android Police: “We are aware of this bug and are working to fix it.”
The wording of the statement doesn’t exactly make it clear how, though. Google Photos may start converting HEIC photos to the less-efficient High Quality JPEG format during upload, which would result in an additional reduction in quality. Alternatively, Google could allow the pictures to be uploaded as-is but start counting them toward Google Drive usage. We’ll have to wait and see which course the search giant takes.
Under Google One plans, Google account holders are entitled to 15GB of free Google Drive cloud storage. Beyond the free allotment, Google charges $1.99 a month for 100GB storage, $2.99 for 200GB a month, and $9.99 a month for 2TB, with additional 10TB and 20TB storage options available.