Last week, it was discovered that Google Photos stores HEIC format photos in original quality, used by default on iPhone 7 and above. This means that Apple phone owners have an advantage that most Android devices cannot enjoy, not even the Pixel 4. Google has said, however, that it will fix this bug.
“We are aware of this bug and are working to fix it,” a Google spokesman told Android Police. The company has not clarified exactly what will be done on Google Photos; I imagine the HEIC files on the iPhone will be converted to JPEG and then compressed.
HEIC (High Efficiency Image Coding), also known as HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format), promises the same quality as the JPEG format with smaller file sizes.
However, as we explained here, photos in HEIC are not always smaller than JPEG: Google could save space on servers when converting images and reducing their bit intensity.
Google Photos does not compress photos saved in HEIC format
Google Photos offers unlimited free storage for “high quality” photos and videos. This means that the service compresses all files, in addition to reducing the dimensions of items that exceed the maximum resolution – 16 megapixels for photos and Full-HD for videos.
Meanwhile, the “original quality” option saves files without any compression. In this mode, photos and videos consume the storage quota in the Google account, divided between Photos, Drive and Gmail. To go beyond the free 15 GB, you need to pay for a Google One subscription.
However, photos taken with the iPhone in HEIC format do not undergo compression on Google’s servers: they are stored without modification even in “high quality” mode. In other words, iPhone users have, in practice, unlimited free space on Google Photos in original quality.
The benefit goes for any cell phone that takes pictures in HEIC format, but this is rare among Android devices. The Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 + and S10e manage to do this after adjusting the camera settings. Google’s own Pixel 4 requires you to pay for a Google One subscription if you want to use Google Photos’s “original quality” option.
With information: Android Police.