Your Microsoft OneDrive storage is about to get smarter thanks to this time-saving Copilot feature

Microsoft’s on fire recently with the addition of some super-useful features thanks to its artificial intelligence assistant Copilot, and it looks like OneDrive is finally getting a much-needed AI boost. Soon, you’ll be able to search through your files without having to open them to find the relevant info simply by asking Copilot the question you want answered. 

Say you’re looking for a specific figure or quote but you have too many files to start searching, or you’re like me and don’t organize anything into folders at all (oops). Instead of opening every document and scanning through to find the specific bit of info you’re looking for, you’ll be able to pull up Copilot and tell it what you want to find. You could ask it to find a specific bit of info from a lecture presentation, or group project, and Copilot will go through the files and provide the relevant answers. 

According to MSPoweruser, this feature will work across multiple file types including DOC, DOCX, PDF, TXT,  and more, so you won’t be restricted to just Word documents. 

The feature is included in Microsoft’s 365 roadmap, due to be released to users sometime in May 2024. Hopefully, we’ll see this trickle down to Microsoft’s free Office for Web suite (formerly known as Office Online) which includes an in-browser version of Microsoft Word and 5GB of OneDrive cloud storage. 

A win for the unorganized girlies

This feature alone is enough to entice me away from Google Drive just for the convenience alone. There’s nothing worse than having to crawl through your folders and files to find something you’re looking for. 

I would have appreciated this feature when I was at university, especially with how many notes and textbooks I had scattered around my school One Drive account. By bringing Copilot into the mix, I could have found whatever I was looking for so much faster and saved myself from a fair amount of panic. 

If you work in an industry where you’re constantly dealing with new documents with critical information every day, or a student consistently downloading research papers or textbooks, this new addition to Copilot's nifty AI-powered skill set is well worth keeping an eye out for. 

While I am disappointed this feature will be locked behind the Microsoft 365 subscription, it’s not surprising – Microsoft is investing a lot of time and money into Copilot, so it makes sense that it would use its more advanced features to encourage people to pay to subscribe to Microsoft 365. However, there’s a danger that if it paywalls all the most exciting features, Copilot could struggle to be as popular as it deserves to be. Microsoft won’t want another Clippy or Cortana on its hands.

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Your WhatsApp backups on Android will soon eat into your Google Drive storage

Bad news for WhatsApp users on Android: chat log and media backups will soon count toward your Google Account storage limit.

This includes the free 15GB of storage given to people whenever they create a new Google Account. That amount is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos with the update further restricting on what can be saved. This move is a complete reversal of a 2018 decision where backups didn’t count toward the limit. It was all on the house. 

Google explains on its Android Help website that it’s enacting this change so the “WhatsApp backup experience… will be in line with how it works on other platforms, with the added benefit of” having the free 15GB. The tech giant takes the time to point out this is “three times more than most mobile platforms” which appears to be a random potshot at iCloud’s more confining 5GB of storage. 

The new rules

WhatsApp’s own post on its help website describes in detail how the update will roll out. It’ll affect WhatsApp Beta users first starting in December 2023. After that, the changes will periodically expand to all Android users throughout the first half of 2024. The platform states it’ll erect a banner in the Chat Backup section of the app’s Settings menu 30 days before it goes live on your phone.

Once you’ve reached the storage limit, you will need to start deleting files on your account in order to resume backups. You do have the option to purchase more storage via Google One. Prices normally start at $ 2 for the 100GB plan; however, at the time of this writing, monthly subscriptions have been reduced to $ 0.50 for the first three months. WhatsApp also recommends using their Chat Transfer tool to move chats between phones.

It’s important to mention this only affects personal Google Accounts. “If you have a Google Workspace subscription through work or school,” nothing changes for you. Restrictions won’t be implemented.

Feeling the squeeze

We should mention the move isn’t totally coming out of nowhere. 

Hints of this decision first appeared all the way back in early 2022 when news site WABetaInfo discovered code in a WhatsApp beta revealing the cut off. We theorized the limitations were due to the sheer size of some chats as well as the “quantity of multimedia content people share” on the platform. All that data may have been putting a squeeze on Google servers “costing [the company] a significant sum.” 

It appears all the recent WhatsApp updates have exacerbated this issue. We reached out to Google asking if it would like to make a statement. A company representative told us one of the main reasons why the two are making this change is “that over the years, more people have joined WhatsApp, sharing more high-res images and videos than ever before.” 

During this past summer, the platform gave people the ability to share high definition photographs and videos. Perhaps the large file sizes proved to be too much for Google to handle, forcing the company to implement some sort of limitation on the platform.

Be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best photo storage and sharing sites in 2023 if you're looking for other options.

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Oculus Quest 2 owners beware: the Meta Quest 3 launch is bad news for your storage

As highlighted in our Meta Quest 3 review, the new VR headset is bringing a lot of improvements to the VR world, but for Oculus Quest 2 owners it’s also bringing one major downside – your headset’s storage space might soon feel a lot smaller than it did before.

To take advantage of the Quest 3’s improved Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset, its 8GB of RAM, and its full-color mixed reality, VR app developers will be releasing updates to their software (Meta said it’s coming to over 50 during Meta Connect 2023). However, as reported by UploadVR, these updated files won’t be exclusive to Quest 3 owners. 

People using a Quest 2 will also be forced to download the new, larger file sizes, but here’s the kicker: they won't be able to benefit from any of the improvements stored in those bigger files. And the size increases aren’t insignificant – for example, Red Matter 2 is jumping from 5.6GB to 9.1GB. 

Just under 3.5GB might not seem like a lot, but if you’ve been a long-running Oculus Quest 2 user and have an original 64GB model (as this writer does) then 3.5GB is 5.5% of your total storage space – or 6.2% of the available space after you factor in the 7.5GB taken up by the Quest 2 OS.

Thankfully this might not be an issue forever. While developers currently don’t have the option to release distinct Quest 2 and Quest 3 versions of their VR experiences, they can release a separate, simplified version for the Quest 1. 

Meta didn’t provide an exact timeline, but it did reportedly tell UploadVR that it has plans to “extend this [facility to release distinct versions of apps] to Quest Pro and Quest 3 in the future.” So hopefully Quest 2 owners will soon be able to reclaim any storage space that has been snatched away from them.

In the meantime, be prepared to have to delete some apps from your Quest 2’s digital library. Alternatively, you could check out the Meta Quest 3 and see if it’s worth upgrading too – if you have to download the bigger files, you might at least take advantage of the benefits they bring.

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The Apple Vision Pro could pack in more storage than the iPhone 15

We know that the Apple Vision Pro isn't going to be available to buy until 2024, but we're learning a little bit more about the specs of the device through leaks from early testers – including how much on-board storage the augmented reality headset might pack.

According to iPhoneSoft (via 9to5Mac), the Vision Pro is going to offer users 1TB of integrated storage as a default option, with 2TB or 4TB a possibility for those who need it (and who have bigger budgets to spend).

Alternatively, it might be that 256GB is offered as the amount of storage on the starting price Vision Pro headset, and that 512GB and 1TB configurations are the ones made available for those who want to spend more.

This information is supposedly from someone who has been given an early look at the AR device, and noticed the storage space listed on one of the settings screens. It's more than the standard iPhone 15 model is expected to have – if it sticks with the iPhone 14 configurations, it will be available with up to 512GB of storage.

Plenty of unknowns

It does make sense for a device like this to offer lots of room for apps and files, and it might go some way to explaining the hefty starting price of $ 3,499 (about £2,750 / AU$ 5,485). Watch this space for more Vision Pro revelations as the launch date gets closer.

While the Apple Vision Pro is now official, there's still a lot we don't know about it – and it may be that we won't find out everything until we actually have the headset in our hands and are able to test it fully.

There have been rumors that two more Vision Pro headsets are in the pipeline, and that some features – such as making group calls using augmented reality avatars – will be held back until those later generations of the device go on sale.

We're also hearing that Apple might not be planning to make a huge number of these headsets, so availability could be a problem. Right now it does feel like a high-end, experimental device rather than something aimed at the mass market.

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DaVinci Resolve developer slashes network storage costs

Blackmagic Design has announced a major price drop on its range of network storage solutions. 

Aimed at film and TV professionals such as video editors, colorists, audio engineers and VFX artists, Blackmagic Cloud Store devices lets multiple users quickly share media files – “Hollywood feature film size,” says the company – for editing, VFX work, and other post-production processes. 

The developer behind DaVinci Resolve, one of the best video editing software on the market, cited recovering supply chains and cheaper high-speed flash storage components as driving price reductions of up to $ 7,000 on the higher-end models.  

A creative cloud solution 

The Blackmagic Cloud Store line-up includes three models: the mainline Cloud Store alongside the Mini and the Pod – and it’s the former two that are seeing the big discounts. 

Blackmagic Cloud Store is pitched at production houses needing capacity for business and operational files, alongside media storage. The device comes in 20TB, 80TB, and 320TB models, each equipped with a M.2 NVMe SSD in a RAID 5 flash memory configuration. According to the company, “the internal memory core is so fast it can saturate the 10G Ethernet ports to their theoretical maximum speed.” 

The 20TB model sees a drop from $ 9,595 to $ 7,595 (approx. £6,335 / AU$ 11,250), with the 80TB Cloud Store moving to a price-point of $ 22,995 (approx. £19,195 / AU$ 34,065)..

The portable Cloud Store Mini, meanwhile, with its 8TB storage capacity and four internal M.2 flash cards in a RAID 0 memory configuration, is targeted at television production. Its price has been cut from $ 2,995 to $ 2,355 (approx. £1,965 / AU$ 3,490).

Running on macOS and Windows, the network storage syncs large files – and that includes 12K Blackmagic RAW digital cinema files – with two of the best cloud storage services out there: Google Drive and Dropbox. Although other providers are not supported. In a move to future-proof the devices, users are able to expand storage capabilities, upgrading as larger M.2 cards release. The set-up also boasts no subscriptions or licenses, with users purchasing the physical device outright. 

“The new prices will help to make high performance network storage more affordable for anyone who wants to distribute large media files globally in minutes,” said Blackmagic Design. 

Keen creatives can see the full Blackmagic Cloud Store specs by clicking here

  • Best VFX software: See our round-up of the top post-production tools for professional visual effects 

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You can finally get unlimited Google Photos storage but there’s a catch

A new Google One membership is on the way, offering users unlimited Google Photos cloud storage – however it’s only available to T-Mobile customers in the US, and it’ll cost $ 15 per month. 

Google Photos delivers one of the best photo cloud storage services – ideal for users who upload a lot of high-res images. T-Mobile’s latest Google One membership plan, which the mobile network provider says is launching soon, will also give users 2TB of cloud storage across Gmail and Google Drive. This matches the current top-tier Google One subscription package offered to all Google account holders.

What makes the mobile brand’s announcement unique is that not even Google is giving away unlimited Photos storage for high-quality uploads. 

The One membership

It wasn’t that long ago that Google Photos used to offer unlimited high-quality uploads – a promise it had kept since its unveiling in 2015. 

However back in June 2021, the company started limiting basic users to just 15GB free cloud storage across Google Photos, Drive, and Gmail. 

In a move that mirrors Apple’s own iCloud expanded storage subscription options, media-heavy users looking to expand or upgrade their cloud storage options must join the Google One subscription service. 

Google One is billed as ‘one membership to get more out of Google’. The packages, which are available on a Basic, Standard, and Premium subscription tier, includes perks like expanded Google Drive cloud storage and a VPN for Android and iOS – all of which can be shared with up to five family and friends.  

Finding the right Google One plan

The newest option builds on T-Mobile’s two existing Google One packages: $ 5 a month nets customers 500GB of storage, while a monthly fee of $ 10 delivers 2TB of cloud storage without unlimited Google Photos. 

However, if it makes you feel better, note that T-Mobile’s unlimited photo and video storage plan is only available to the main account holder. 

T-Mobile’s unlimited Google Photos plan will be available from April 26 2022. 

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Exclusive: Has Google won the cloud storage wars?

As we all take a much-needed break over the Christmas period, we can start to reflect on what a year this has been – and how we can hope next year is better. One company that hasn't had a bad 2021 is Google and, specifically, Drive. 

An exclusive TechRadar Pro poll carried out by OnePulse shows that Google Drive is by far and away the most popular cloud storage provider going, used by around 44.1% of respondents. 

While this might not come as a surprise, there is a lot of competition in the cloud storage market at the moment. Apple, for example, has been expanding the scope of iCloud this year, introducing a bunch of privacy-focused features. Dropbox and OneDrive, too, are long-time competitors biting at Drive's heels. 

One provider to rule them all 

But the extent of the domination is impressive and worth pondering for a while, driven at least initially by Google's willingness to give away generous services for free, alongside the overall ecosystem lock-in for its services and Android.

According to OnePulse, around 44% of respondents use Google Drive's free or paid services, followed by iCloud (31.2% across free and paid), OneDrive (11.2% across free and paid), Dropbox (6.8% across free and paid), and then everyone else makes up the remaining 6.8%. 

So not that surprising overall but you can clearly see the influence of Apple's iPhone and Mac customer base electing to use the tightly integrated iCloud services. 

Digging deeper, the poll found most people (48.7%) have been using their service for between one and five years, with the rest either under a year (16.3%) or over five years (35%). 

In terms of storage, around 55.4% use between 1GB and 100GB, 30.8% have no idea how much storage is left, and 13.8% use between 101GB and 1TB or more. 

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This fantastic VPN deal ends Tuesday – 69% off and 250GB cloud storage free

You haven't got long left to claim one of the very best VPN deals on the market right now. One of our favorite services – IPVanish – has just unleashed a doozy of a discount, but it ends on Tuesday, May 26.

Sign up to IPVanish now, and you'll get two years of its outstanding VPN protection and 250GB of secure cloud storage for the equivalent of only $ 3.70 per month.

When it comes to VPN goodness, we rank IPVanish extremely highly – the provider (deep breath…) has 24/7 customer support, unblocks Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, keeps no traffic logs, allows unlimited bandwidth, features an excellent Windows kill switch, and lets you connect up to 10 devices simultaneously. It really is one of the very best around.

Meanwhile, the free SugarSync cloud storage add-on gets you a full 250GB of secure data storage. This means that all your photos, videos and personal documents (whatever you choose to store) will remain safeguarded from outsiders. So for the next 24 months your VPN and storage needs are completely covered.

Still unsure if this is the deal for you? Scroll down to see this offer in full, or why not also check out our best VPN deals guide for all of the very best offers on cyber privacy.

IPVanish's limited time VPN deal in full:

IPVanish for mobile, tablet and desktop

How good is IPVanish?

As well as unblocking Netflix (hello streaming!) and being one of the best value for money VPNs, it also has a 30-day money-back guarantee and servers in over 75 countries. 

Plus, it boasts incredible download speeds so you don't need to worry about the VPN slowing down your device, and it's got plenty of powerful, configurable apps. So whether privacy, streaming or cost is your reason for getting a VPN, IPVanish ticks all the boxes. 

Still undecided? Check out our IPVanish review.

  • Not sure this provider is the one for you? Check out our best VPN guide
  • Want to try before you buy? See your choice of VPNs with free trials
  • Or pay nothing at all! These are the best free VPNs

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Here’s the biggest free cloud storage right now, 200GB exclusive to TechRadar readers

Cloud storage company Degoo may not be a household name, but it has managed to carve out a niche in the competitive cloud storage market, with its offerings attracting more than 15 million users over the past eight years.

The Swedish company has teamed up with TechRadar to deliver an even better package than usual – get 200GB free cloud storage for a year with no strings attached.

After 12 months, this will revert back to the regular 100GB package, which is still plenty for most.

One of the cheapest cloud storage offers

You can also get a staggering 10TB for two years at just $ 99.99, exclusive to TechRadar. That’s 58% off the standard price of $ 9.99 per month – blowing the cloud storage competition out of the water.

Unlike some rival services, there are no file size limits and you don’t need another Degoo account to receive files. 

Uploaded files are encrypted in chunks (zero knowledge encryption) and spread out to data centres on four continents to eliminate the risk of account compromise.

Carl Hasselkog, CEO of Degoo, told TechRadar its infrastructure is five times more efficient than Dropbox per stored byte.

It's worth noting the free version has basic storage replication and no zero knowledge encryption, plus a 90-day account inactivity limit. It also carries adverts in the feed on Android.

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