There seemed to be good news for iPhone owners last week when it turned out that you could save unlimited HEIC photo backups in Google Photos for free. This caused some consternation, since the same was not true for Google's own Pixel-4 smartphones.
However, Google states that this is a mistake. So do not expect it to last long.
The unexpected bonus for iPhone owners arose because the HEIC format is much more efficient than JPEG. So when Google tries to compress the photos, they actually get bigger than the originals. However, it looks like the PR hit has been given a giveaway by iPhone owners, while pixel owners do not outpace its storage.
The Android Police reports that Google has now classified this behavior as a "bug" It will probably not be long.
We asked Google for a comment and received a confirmation that images captured as HEIC / HEIF are not compressed and will not be charged against photo quotas. A Google spokesperson told us, "We are aware of this error and are working to fix it."
The site is not clear what action Google wants to take.
What this means is still unclear. Would Google charge fees for HEIC images stored in photos, even if they are small and do not take up much storage space? Would it forcibly convert these images into compressed JPEG or compress them further in HEIC format? And is the fix for all HEIC images or only for iPhones? (Samsung devices also support saving photos as HEIC, but that does not seem to be generally accepted by users.) All paths seem to be interspersed with minefields.
I would assume that Google converted it to JPEG despite the resulting file size being larger.
Still, Google Photos remains a pretty cute shop for iPhone owners. The free Google Photos app can be set to automatically upload up to 16 MP versions of all your photos and 1080p videos without the need for paid storage. The golden rule for backups is that a file exists only if it is in at least three locations, at least one of which is out of the site. Therefore, the automatic upload to iCloud and Google Photos in my view is a breeze.  Some objections to the fact that "Google sells your data", but that's not quite the case. In fact, the company uses your data to create a profile that will personalize the ads displayed. Personally, I have no problem with that. All your photos will remain private, unless you want to share them with others by sending them a link. Regardless of whether you're backing up HEIC or JPEG photos, you can be sure that your photos are safe even when there's a serious iCloud issue.
Google Photos can be downloaded for free from the App Store.
For more Apple news, visit 9to5Mac on YouTube: