Last year, Google added automatic Android phone backups to Google One, the company’s “membership” program that includes Drive storage, family sharing and a handful of other perks. It made sense for Google to bake that feature right into Android, but today the company announced it’ll soon do the same for iPhone users as well. And whether you use an Android device or iPhone, the phone backup feature will be free for everyone, regardless of whether or not you have a Google One subscription.
This means that people who aren’t paying for Google One’s extra Drive storage will have their base 15GB to split between Gmail, Drive, Photos and now phone backups. That’ll likely be tight for a lot of people, but if you aren’t using Drive or Photos much it should be workable. iPhone users can manage their phone backups through a new Google One app that’s coming out soon; it’ll store photos, videos, contacts and calendar events in your Google account. Given that Apple already has backup options for all those things (albeit with a paltry free 5GB of iCloud storage), it wouldn’t surprise me if this feature mostly goes unnoticed.
It’ll be more useful for people who are paying for Google One — the base membership plan includes 100GB of storage for $2 per month, enough to make Drive, Photos and phone backups a lot more feasible. But regardless of whether you pay for Google One or not, it doesn’t hurt to have another option for backing up your phone. As before, paid Google One memberships include storage that you can share with up to five more family members, live customer support and various perks (right now you can get 10 percent back in store credit from the Google Store, for example).
The new Google One app for iOS will also include a storage manager, making it a lot easier to clean up the various data that might be eating up your storage. That’s already available on the web, but given how much we all rely on our phones these days, it’s a smart idea to have it available in the app as well. The new features for free users will be available on Android through the Play Store “in the coming days,” while the Google One iOS app will be “available soon.”