All Android phones running Google apps come with free Google Photos cloud storage for images and videos captured with the device. However, image and video files are not stored at original quality. Instead, they are compressed to what Google calls 'high quality'. Users who prefer to store their original out-of-camera files in the cloud have to shell out for one of Google's storage plans.

On its own Pixel device, Google has in the past made an exception. Users of the Pixel 3 and previous Pixel devices could store unlimited original files for life, but this perk has ended with the brand new Pixel 4. Users of the latest Google flagship will just be treated like users of any other Android phone.

Now it seems the only ones benefiting from Google's free unlimited storage for original photos are actually the users of one of Apple's recent iPhones. Reddit user u/stephenvsawyer discovered that images in the HEIC/HEIF format, which recent iPhones use by default, will be stored without any compression.

A screenshot from Google's Pixel 2 promotional page captured at the time of the release showing the no-longer-current benefit of getting unlimited storage of original files for free.

The reason for this is pretty simple: if Google tried to compress the images, the file size would actually increase. So the decision to save original HEIC/HEIF files to its cloud platform saves Google both storage space on its servers and computing power. It's worth noting that this only applies to photos. iPhone videos are saved at 1080p resolution, even if they were recorded at 4K settings.

The latest version of the Android OS, Android 10, technically supports the HEIC/HEIF format, but Pixel 4 devices don't currently offer this option. So, at least for now, iPhone users are actually getting more out of Google Photos than users of Google's own flagship phone.

In a statement made to Android Police, Google said 'We are aware of this bug and are working to fix it.' What exactly this 'fix' entails remains to be seen, but there's a good chance this loophole could get closed down in the near future.