Pixel Phones Unlimited backup hack

Since June 2021 Google have stopped offering free unlimited photo storage. This was one of the killer features of Google Photos. A lot of people are going to be paying for storage. For small amounts, its not too bad. 100gb is about €20 a year. It will add up over time though.

Also, 100gb in storage quickly goes if you take a lot of photos and a few videos. There are people who are going to have to upgrade to the 200gb package pretty quickly which is €30 a year. After that, its 2TB and €100 a year. It gets crazily expensive after 2tb.

Luckily, with older Pixel devices, you can still get unlimited free photo and video storage for free at high quality. The original Pixel has unlimited storage at original quality as an extra bonus. So if you pick up an older pixel off Ebay or buy a pixel 4a, pixel 5 or pixel 4a with G, you get this perk. The last Pixel to get the unlimited storage was the Pixel 4a with 5G. The Pixel 5a which was only released in America and japan doesn't have the free unlimited storage.

The question is how to get your new photos on to your old pixel to back up for free? I was thinking of maybe using my desktop to transfer via USB. However, there is a simpler way. This youtube video explains it all very well.

Basically, you download https://syncthing.net/ on to your phones. You can set them both to synch up. I am getting the new Pixel 6 Pro, so I will set it up to synch pictures to my current Pixel 3XL. The photos will get backed up for free then. I was going to pass on upgrading my phone as I do take a lot of photos and it would get expensive backing them all up.

On my Pro I will set up a new Google account to back up photos to and periodically delete the photos. I am afraid of losing or damaging my phone before I get chance to back up but if I back up to a fresh Google account, I get the 15gb free and if I am unlucky enough to lose my phone before I back it up via my Pixel 3XL, then I have a backup on this Google account.

So by using this little hack, I get unlimited free photo uploads until my Pixel 3XL breaks. I also have an old Pixel 2Xl that I can use to extend how long I get free photos for. I suspect older pixels will appreciate in value over the next few years. If you are a serious photographer and want your photos in original quality, it would be worth trying to find an original Pixel to get the full original quality back up.

2024 Update

Still on my Pixel 6 Pro despite the Pixel 7 and 8 being out. I don't feel the need to upgrade. I picked up a pixel 4 regular as my backup phone now though. Its works really well. The other thing I do is just take photos using my Pixel 4. The Pixel 6 Pro has a better camera but not enough for me to be bothered synching it to get the free storage. Its easier to use the Pixel 4 as a point and shoot camera.

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