Apple, Google, ease cross-cloud data transfers, perhaps with costly catch

The joy of cloudy interoperability may be dampened by differently-sized free storage tiers

Google and Apple have signed off on a tool that their cloud photo storage services interoperable, but it may come at a cost to some users.

The tool was created under the auspices of the Data Transfer Initiative (DTI), an entity formed in 2023 that sees Apple, Meta, and Google work to enable data portability between different services. The DTI is heir to the Data Transfer Project, which saw Microsoft and Twitter join the aforementioned three tech giants in pursuit of the same goals.

The DTI develops a software stack that enables data portability, and its members work to ensure their services are interoperable.

Apple has previously made it possible to export photos and videos from iCloud to Google Photos.

As of Wednesday, it’s possible to send data the other way – from Google Photos to iCloud.

Which is where things might get awkward, as the free tier on Google Photos is 15 gigabytes.

iCloud maxes out at 5GB before Apple starts to ask for money. And ask, and ask, and ask: owners of iThings will know that once they hit 5GB their devices are not shy of suggesting an upgrade to a paid iCloud plan.

iCloud accounts can also fill quite quickly, because devices running iOS backup into Apple’s cloud storage locker, meaning little space is left for pics ‘n’ vids.

iCloud storage is modestly-priced, at $0.99/ £0.99 a month for 50GB in the USA and UK respectively. But it’s still more than the cost of storing 5.1-15GB in Google Photos.

The DTI is nonetheless chuffed that Apple and Google have made their data-sharing relationship reciprocal, as that’s an aim the org holds dear.

Its announcement of the tool also hints at more to come.

“We are nowhere near the end of the data portability journey and every day we continue to explore new services and partners,” the org stated.

Users who want to make this new tool work can learn how from guides posted by Apple and Google. ®

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