A few weeks ago Google unveiled a new space saver feature for its Photos app on Android, and this week the best feature 16GB iPhones and iPads could wish for is now available on iOS. Google Photos has also added Shared Albums across iOS, Android, and the web, which makes sending pictures and videos you capture to friends and family super easy.
Google Photos already lets you upload high-resolution versions of your personal photo library to the cloud at absolutely no cost, or full-resolution versions with 15GB of cloud storage or upgraded paid storage. And Google Photos lets you access your photo library through apps on Android, iOS, and the web without taking up all your local storage. But a new feature now available in the iOS version lets you actively tell Google Photos when you’re running low on storage or just want to free up some space by pressing a button that offloads the photos already uploaded to the cloud from your device and only keeping ones downloaded that still need to upload. The button is located within the settings section of the app.
Apple’s paid iCloud Photo Library similarly offers an option for optimizing free storage which is useful on devices of any capacity especially 16GB and 32GB models with large libraries, but Apple only gives away 5GB for free then requires 99¢ to $9.99 for 50GB to 1TB of cloud storage. Apple’s version also works automatically in the background, but this creates a more ambiguous experience as you could still have a large library taken up with local photos that only the system can decide to offload.
The latest version of Google Photos on iOS also includes a feature unveiled in September that was promised to roll out by the end of the year: Shared Albums. This feature allows you to invite friends and family to view and optionally contribute to albums you create in Google Photos. Shared Albums can be created right from collections you already create for yourself in Google Photos, and inviting people to join works across platforms including iOS, Android, and the web. Once an invited contact accepts your offer to join, you can even allow them to add their own shots to the Shared Album and new alerts let everyone know when new photos and videos are added.
Apple’s free iCloud Photo Sharing feature works similar by letting you and others share photos and videos between iOS devices and Macs, and albums can be viewed on the web as well, but Google Photos works across Android as well and integrates right with the standard album system.
Update to the latest version of Google Photos for iOS from the App Store to take advantage of the new space saver feature and Shared Albums. Shared Albums also came to Android and the web with the latest update this week.