Google to Fix 'Bug' That Lets iOS Photos App Users Upload HEIC Images for Free

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Google has said it will patch a "bug" in Google Photos that enables iPhone users to store pictures in the cloud in their original quality without counting toward their Google Drive storage limit.

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.

Top Rated Comments

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8 months ago
Jesus that's petty :rolleyes:
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago
Jaja. So stupid. Yeah let’s convert for lossy quality and a larger file size! That totally makes sense.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago


I just hate that the Google Photos apps splits my iPhone live photos into separate heic image and video files..... when I re-download onto a computer, they don't get merged again.

Then use iCloud Photos!
Cost is the same ($2.99 for 200GB), your photos are kept in their original form and format, and Apple doesn’t scan them to find out where you go travel or how many pets you have to give you “targeted ads”.
I can’t believe how many people are gullible enough to think they can get away with a free lunch with Google (or Facebook). Remember, with these companies YOU are the product!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago


And Google just dropped free storage at original quality for their new Pixel 4 (prior Pixels had it as a perk). So yeah they couldn’t allow that for iPhones when they’re dropping it for their latest.

But Apple's HEIC format is smaller than the compressed JPEG's and they don't have to compress them which also saves server usage. This will literally cost Google more money than to keep the current situation for HEIC.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago
Wouldn’t make sense to go for JPEG, which has, according the article, larger footprint than Apple’s HEIC format. But, anything to rub it in for Apple users bodes well for Google, I guess.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago
I see no reason re-encoding the files as JPEG when it will make the file bigger and the quality worse.
The only reason Google is doing this problebly to avoid giving an “advantage” to iOS users.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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