Google Photos, a widely used application on both Android and iOS devices, has reportedly made a change that could significantly impact its users. The change relates to the handling of RAW files on Android devices.
In recent times, many modern smartphones have the capability to capture images in RAW format, which are unprocessed photo files containing more data than JPEG files. This format allows photographers greater flexibility when editing their photos, although the files tend to be larger in size.
According to 9to5Google, Google Photos now automatically backs up RAW images on Android devices that have enabled this file type in their Camera app. While this feature may seem convenient, it can cause issues with storage limits in the Photos application and data caps when backup is enabled over a mobile network.
9to5Google discovered this change on a Pixel 8 device that had previously captured RAW images. The day after, a notice appeared in Google Photos stating that new RAW photos would be visible in the Photos view and would be backed up. These images were automatically uploaded to the backup and appeared in the main photo grid, marked with a “RAW” badge in the top right corner. Upon opening the full image, both the RAW and JPEG versions were visible.
It’s important to note that this behavior seems to apply only to new images taken with the device and not existing ones in the library. At this time, it remains unclear if this is exclusive to the Pixel 8 series, as attempts to replicate it on a Pixel Fold using the latest version of Google Photos were unsuccessful.
Presently, all Google Accounts come with 15 GB of free storage that is shared across all Google applications. It’s easy for most users to exhaust this storage quickly, especially when considering the size of Android device backups and Gmail attachments.
Unless users opt for external storage solutions, those who use Google Photos may find themselves paying for a Google One plan to access additional cloud storage. It is hoped that Google will address this issue and provide clarity on whether this is the new default behavior for the application, as well as offer guidance for those concerned about storage limitations.