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?

3 Answers 3


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


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.

There is a big change coming about this. The new and official answer is...unclear:

Starting in July [2019]...Since photos and videos will no longer sync across both products, items copied in Original Quality will count towards your storage quota in both Drive and Photos.

- Google Blog

But what about High Quality? Well, while the blog mentions a "New Upload from Drive feature in Google Photos", there's no mention of an opposite feature. So it seems we must assume there will be no more "High Quality" media in Drive itself.

As a side note, this question wasn't about Backup and Sync (since it's a desktop app and the question was about web apps), but just for the record, it is about to become the only way to fill the quota just once:

You’ll still be able to use Backup and Sync...As before, items uploaded in High Quality won’t count against your account storage quota, and items uploaded using Backup and Sync in Original Quality to both services will count only once towards your quota.

The blog then links to this FAQ:

If you use Backup & Sync to upload photos & videos to Drive and Photos, they will not take up duplicate storage space.

- Google Support

  • I'm downvoting this because the question doesn't mention that the user is copying photos from Google Photos to Google Drive. They mentioned that they are currently displaying their Google Photos folder in Google Drive, but after 10 July 2019, that folder won't sync. We should assume then that in future, the actions they took will not cause their photos to be in Google Drive.
    – ahorn
    Jun 22, 2019 at 7:30
  • Thanks for making a comment to explain. The answer still addresses what is expected to happen to past synced photos. Google clearly explained they won't delete past synced photos from Drive. Google then proceeded to explain how will past synced Original Quality photos affect Drive's quota, but wrote nothing about High Quality.
    – LWC
    Jun 23, 2019 at 10:27
  • Applying any reasonable logic, the storage used by photos currently won't change in the future.
    – ahorn
    Jun 23, 2019 at 10:42
  • The answer just states the official answer is unclear, which I don't think you doubt.
    – LWC
    Jun 23, 2019 at 17:36
  • I think what you find in your Drive currently will remain as it is. For example, if there is a "high quality" photo in the Google Photos folder (which takes up no storage space), I think that after July, that photo won't take up storage space. I agree that photos which are newly added to Google Photos won't appear in the Google Photos folder in Drive (thus, you won't find new "high quality" photos in Drive which take zero storage space).
    – ahorn
    Jun 23, 2019 at 18:57

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