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When I bought my Pixel 3, one of the appeals was that Google promised unlimited storage at Google Photos (although not at max resolution).

Now, https://one.google.com/storage and https://one.google.com/storage/management tell me that I've used 97% of my storage, and it points to various videos of mine taking up a lot of space (and I thought that photos and videos taken by this phone would not "count" in my storage quota).

In my Camera app and Google Photos app, I no longer see the obvious option that used to exist that said something like "upload lower resolution photos, which don't count against your quota".

I have Android 12.

How can I fix this so that Google Photos changes the resolution downwards of those uploaded photos and videos so that my storage quota frees up again?

I don't want my Gmail to get discontinued due to lack of space, and I don't want to pay for storage that was supposed to be free.

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As you have a Pixel 3 which still has support for high quality/storage saver photo backup:

From: Google Photos Help page - Choose the backup quality of your photos & videos

Pixel 3

Photos and videos backed up in Original quality on or before January 31, 2022 remain in Original quality at no charge. Photos and videos backed up after January 31, 2022 are saved in Storage saver at no charge. Photos and videos backed up in Original quality count toward your Google Account storage.

Change your backup quality

Important: If you're out of storage, you can't change your backup quality.

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Photos app Photos.
  2. At the top right, tap your Profile picture or Initial.
  3. Tap Photos settings Settings and then Backup and then Backup quality.
  4. Select a backup quality.

I just checked this on a Pixel 2 with Android 10, Google Photos app version 6.18.0.499567106 and was able to reach the setting.

Okay but how can I recover space in my Google account?

WARNING Prior to attempting you should archive outside of Google cloud your photos & videos before attempting to recover space in your Google account. You can use Google Takeout to archive just your photos and videos so that should any issues arise there is a copy not on Google's servers.

Alternative you can use Google Takeout to save your photos and videos outside of the Google cloud and delete manually to recover space.

Always check that the backup contains the data you want and the backup data is viewable/playable.

Google Photos space recovery from: Choose the backup quality of your photos & videos - Computer tab toward bottom of page

Reduce the size of your photos & videos If you have photos in Original quality and want to save some storage space, change your already backed-up photos and videos to Storage saver (previously named High quality). This setting won't appear if you have unlimited storage for Google Photos.

Important:

  • You can only recover storage once a day. Storage recovery won’t change the quality of your future uploads.

  • In some circumstances, certain photos and videos may not be able to be compressed and will be stored at their original file size.

  1. On your computer, go to photos.google.com.

  2. At the top, click Settings and then Manage storage.

  3. Under “Recover storage,” click Convert existing photos & videos to Storage saver.

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    Also, please don't perform this as a MASS edit. Experiment to taste on a limited exposure until satisfied it is what you want and can live with. Doing a MASS edit into an unwanted state helps no one - not you, not us, who will probably get a desperation post - "PLEASE SAVE MY PHOTOS!, I DON'T KNOW WHAT WENT WRONG!"
    – wbogacz
    Jan 13, 2023 at 3:00
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    @wbogacz Good point, I add in a stronger warning about the operation. Jan 13, 2023 at 3:09
  • Perhaps also worth emphasizing on "In some circumstances, certain photos and videos may not be able to be compressed and will be stored at their original file size."
    – Andrew T.
    Jan 13, 2023 at 3:26
  • This was super helpful. Exactly what I was looking for. photos.google.com/quotamanagement said that I used 2.8 GB on Google Photos. First, I copied all media from Pixel 3 to PC. After transferring those files, then at that web page I clicked “Recover storage” > Learn more > “Compress existing photos & videos”. It said “Compressing... This may take several hours” I came back later, and it now says 283.5 MB used by Google Photos. (Maybe at some point I uploaded video that wasn't taken by my Pixel. I'm not worried about that small amount.) THANKS!
    – Ryan
    Jan 13, 2023 at 17:33
  • Google or my Pixel 3 seem to keep reverting the setting (I want it to stay set to "Backup quality > Storage saver"), which is super annoying. My Photos backup then eats all of my storage space, breaking my Google Docs. Today it even reached "19 GB of 17 GB used". photos.google.com/quotamanagement/large shows that a 30-min video today took up 4.4 GB! Whoa. So I had to use the steps above again. But even though it seems to have finished after an hour, I still don't have the space back.
    – Ryan
    Jan 27, 2023 at 0:46

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