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In the following scenario:

  1. Google Photos is set to "high quality", i.e. not included in quota
  2. Google Drive always seems to take quota for media
  3. Google Drive is set to show Google Photos

Will images that were uploaded directly to Google Photos' website count as part of Google Drive's quota?

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No, they won't take up additional storage. You can check this by selecting the photo in Google Drive, clicking the "i" on the top right, and showing the details of the file. There, it will show the "storage used", which should be "0 bytes" if you uploaded them under the compressed quality setting in Google Photos. Here is an example screenshot:

Free storage from Google Photos

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If the photo is uploaded using Google Photos it shouldn't count as part of your quota, as per this article:

  • If you upload photos directly to Google Drive, they will count against your storage quota.
  • If you upload in High quality using Google Photos or Backup and sync, it will not count against your storage quota.

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