Google says its working to fix free iPhone backup "bug"

Joanna Estrada
October 21, 2019

Google is readying a fix for a bug that gave iPhone owners the chance to upload original quality photos to Google Photos for free.

While this was attributed to Apple's use of the HEIC format iPhone users probably thought Google didn't notice or care. Redditor stephenvsawyer posted the discovery to the r/apple subreddit (h/t: 9to5Mac), along with a possible explanation.

The redditor noted that this is due to recent iPhones saving captured images in the HEIC/HEIF format by default. The format has been described as "too efficient", and Google would actually increase the file size if it tried to compress the image files, apart from wasting computing resources on compressing the billions of images clicked on iPhones and stored in the HEIC format. The user explains that Google Photos usually saves backed-up images in a compressed JPEG format, but that converting HEIC/HEIF images to JPEG would result in larger file sizes. For now, though, iPhone users are enjoying an advantage that even Google Pixel 4 buyers won't get.

With the launch of the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, fans were somewhat disappointed to hear they'd lose the long-standing offer of unlimited, free, original quality uploads to Google Photos - an offer that had been present across all three of the previous Pixel phone generations.

Android Police reached out to Google about this quirk, and the software giant responded by stating that it was aware of the workaround and would be fixing the "bug".

Unfortuantely, none of that was by design and now Google has confirmed to Android Authority that this is a bug and not expected behavoir.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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