Google’s One subscription service is a bit of an oddball in the Google family of products. Launched in 2018, it was pitched as a premium, consumer-friendly ‘upgrade’ to the tech giant’s paid Google Drive storage plans, giving subscribers more cloud storage (up to a whopping 30TB) along with some useful extras, like exclusive discounts, premium support and multi-user family plans.
In September 2019, Google added an additional perk to the service, offering automatic phone backup for paying Android users – and today, the company has announced that that feature is being made free of charge, while also being extended to iPhone and iPad owners.
In a new blog post, the search giant has revealed that it’s rolling out a new Google One mobile app that will enable users of both platforms to back up their phones for free, even if they aren’t Google One subscribers. All you need to do is download the free app and sign in with a Google account.
Backups will include files, text messages, photos, videos, contacts and email, all of which are visible in one place.
There is one caveat though, with storage on the free tier limited to 15GB – the standard amount of Google Drive storage you get with a free Google account. Users who find they need more than this will have to sign up for a paid plan, which starts at $1.99 / £1.99 / AU$4.39 a month.
Apple also offers built-in backup capabilities for iPhones and iPads via its iCloud storage service, although the latter only includes 5GB of space for free.
Along with the new app, Google has added a storage manager feature to the service, which is being rolled out on both the desktop web interface and mobile app.
According to Google, the new feature will help users see how much free storage is available to them and add/remove files without leaving the app. The option to upgrade to a paid plan will also be available on the storage manager.
There are benefits to being a paying One subscriber – a single plan can be shared with up to five other users via family sharing, for example, and opens the doors to premium customer support from the internet company.
In some markets, like in Australia, you’ll also get bonus credits that you can redeem on apps on the Play Store, get discounts when shopping on the Google Store online and also enjoy special prices on hotel bookings made via Google Search.
The new Google One app is already available to download from the Play Store, and Google has state that the iOS version is “coming soon”.