Why is Google Photos stealing all my online storage space? [Ask ZDNet]

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Welcome to this week’s episode of Ask ZDNet, where we answer the questions that make Dear Abby’s eyes shine.

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In the Mail this week: Why am I suddenly running out of storage space in my Google Account? And how do I get a decent network connection in my home office when the cable modem is at the other end of the house?

If you have a question about any of the topics covered by ZDNet, one of our editors and contributors probably has an answer. If they don’t, we’ll find an outside expert who can point you in the right direction.

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How can I prevent Google Photos from using all my storage space?

My Google storage is almost completely full as it is syncing all my phone photos. I only use Google Photos to occasionally share photos. I prefer to use iCloud to back up all my photos. How can I free up space used by the Google Photos app without deleting photos from my iPhone?

You are not alone in this complaint. Google previously offered “unlimited” photo storage (at less than full resolution), which meant you didn’t have to worry about the 15GB of storage included with your Gmail and Google Drive account. This freebie, alas, ended June 1, 2021. Photos and videos you saved to Google Photos before this date are grandfathered and don’t count towards your storage allowance, but every photo and video you’ve uploaded in the past year has been chewed into that allowance. .

This is why people are starting to run out of storage.

To turn off these automatic downloads and reclaim online storage space, open the Google Photos app on your phone, tap your Google Account user profile picture in the top-right corner, then tap Google Settings Photos > Backup & Sync. Slide the Backup and sync switch to off. This stops all further downloads.

(Don’t worry if you open the Google Photos app and see photos from your phone. The Google Photos app on the phone shows you the contents of your phone’s camera roll in addition to the photos and videos you’ve previously downloaded on the Google cloud. )

Personally, I think the Google One The plan is worth paying for if you regularly use Google Photos, Gmail, and Google Drive. (Remember that 15GB of base storage is shared between these three buckets.) The entry-level Google One plan costs $20 per year for 100GB of storage; $30 for 200 GB; and $100 for 2TB. This storage can be shared with up to five family members.

But if you don’t use Google Photos and don’t want to give Google another penny, you can manage your photos right from the Google Photos app on your mobile device. The process isn’t exactly intuitive: DO NOT start from the Photos tab, which displays thumbnails for all the photos on your device in addition to those in the cloud. Instead, do it from the Manage Storage page in Settings.

Open the Google Photos app and tap your user profile picture in the top right corner. Tap Google Photos settings > Backup & sync, then tap Manage storage. This brings up the Manage Storage page shown here.

Google’s AI helpfully offers to delete large photos, blurry photos, and screenshots, in addition to photos created by other apps. You can tap one of these categories and then tap Select to select individual items to delete from the cloud. (Photos and videos you saved before June 1, 2021 won’t appear here, as they don’t count towards your storage allowance.)

You can also do all of this from a web browser on a desktop computer or Mac. Go to https://photos.google.com/quotamanagement to see the same categories found in the Manage Storage tab on your phone. Remember that any photo or video you delete here will also be deleted from every device you sync with Google Photos.

How do I get a wired Ethernet connection in my home office when the cable modem is in the living room?

I have a fast internet connection from my cable company, but I can’t get decent speeds in my home office, which is at the other end of the house from the cable modem and access point Wi-Fi. I would really like to have a wired network connection there, but using an ethernet cable is unfortunately not practical. Do I have options?

Having a wired network connection offers many advantages when it comes to working from home. Wi-Fi is great for mobility, but a wired connection will always be faster and more reliable, with lower latency, which matters if you regularly share large files or participate in high-quality video meetings.

If you have a cable outlet in your office, there is a simple solution: use a MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) adapter to create a direct wired connection between devices in different rooms using the coaxial cable that is already threaded throughout your home. The latest revision of this technology, MoCA 2.5, supports speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps.

If your cable modem supports MoCA technology, you need only one adapter, such as the Trendnet TMO-312C Ethernet over Coax MoCA 2.5 Adapter. Connect it to your home office cable outlet using a short coaxial cable, then connect the adapter’s Gigabit Ethernet port to your home office PC or Mac using a standard Cat 6/7 cable. If your cable modem does not support MoCA directly, you will need a second MoCA adapter to connect via Ethernet to the gateway so both ends can send and receive data at full speed.

In the unlikely event that you don’t have a cable outlet handy, your next best alternative (and it’s far behind) is to add networking capabilities to your home’s existing electrical wiring. For this task, you will need a pair of powerline Ethernet adapters like the TP-Link AV1000; one plugs into an outlet at the desk, while the other connects to an outlet near the cable modem, with Ethernet cables running from the power adapter to your PC and cable modem, respectively. Don’t expect to get anywhere near your maximum rated speed on this type of connection, but it’s a nice option when Wi-Fi just can’t get from point A to point B.


Send your questions to [email protected]. Due to the volume of submissions, we cannot guarantee a personal response, but we promise to read every letter and respond here to any that we think will be of interest to our readers. Be sure to include a working email address in case we have follow-up questions. We promise not to use it for other purposes.


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