Google Photos storage bug ‘inaccurately counted’ uploads for some on iOS, Google One refunds triggered

A Google Photos storage system “mistake” this year resulted in image and video uploads being “inaccurately” counted towards your cloud storage quota. This Photos issue, which is now fixed, was present throughout 2020 and Google is offering a refund for One storage during that period.

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The company, specifically the Photos team, reached out to those impacted today, noting that this problem applies to a “limited number of people.”

They first establish that all uploads are safe and that the bug just relates to your “storage quota.” Users today get 15GB free to share across Gmail, Drive, and Photos, with a Google One subscription — starting at 100GB — allowing for more.

What happened: Beginning in January 2020, we may have inaccurately counted photo and video uploads towards your storage quota that is shared across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos. These uploads should not have counted against your storage quota.

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Google is contacting customers that “purchased or upgraded a Google One plan” on iPhones and iPads in response to seeing that their cloud storage was full: 

For example, you may have purchased a plan because we mistakenly let you know that you were out of storage space.

The resolution to this Photos storage issue involves Google requesting a “refund from the App Store on your behalf for your Google One subscription fees beginning January 8 through October 20.” Google tells us that Android users were not impacted by this issue, just those on iOS.

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Meanwhile, Google has since fixed the problem, with the storage counter in Photos and other first-party apps reflecting accurate usage. Those that received the email can contact Google One support if they require more help.

This will not affect your Google One subscription status. No action is needed, but you can change or cancel your subscription if you no longer need additional storage. You can log into your account to view your adjusted quota usage. The affected photos and video uploads will continue to be stored in the quality they were uploaded, however they will not count toward your storage quota.

This news comes as Google Photos next year is ending unlimited free backup, while files in Docs/Sheets/Slides will soon count against your cloud storage.

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