5 tips to help free up storage space on your Google account (2023)

by Andy Wolber in Storage


5 tips to help free up storage space on your Google account

When you hit your storage limit, follow these best practices to figure out which files, and settings, to change to save space on your G Suite account.

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5 tips to help free up storage space on your Google account (2)

“Google says she’s out of storage,” read the email. “How do we figure out what’s taking up the space?”

A client had somehow filled all 30GB of her G Suite Basic storage space. A standard free Google account user would have hit the limit after storing 15GB of data. When you reach the limit, you won’t be able to store items that take up space on Google Drive, Gmail, or Google Photos.

The steps below will help you find the files that take up the most Google storage space, then delete data you no longer need. And–optionally–you can adjust two settings to reduce the storage space used by photos and documents you upload.

1. See your Google storage summary

Open your computer’s browser and go to https://www.google.com/settings/storage. You may need to login to your Google account. There, you’ll see how much storage you use on Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

(Video) How to fix your Google storage space forever... for free!

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2. Find large files on Google Drive

Next, go to https://drive.google.com/#quota in your browser. Google Drive will display a list of files, starting with the largest ones at the top. Choose files you no longer need, move them to the trash, then empty the trash. Remember: After you empty the trash, you can’t easily get files back without the help of a G Suite administrator or a previously configured backup system.

SEE: How to find out what’s using up your Google Drive space

3. Find large attachments in Gmail

Go to Gmail on your computer. In the search box, type the following to search for large attachments: size:15mb

Change the number, depending on the number of emails you see (e.g., size:20mb or size:5mb, and so on). Delete emails with large attachments that you no longer need. Empty the trash in Gmail to remove these items permanently.

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4. Store photos that use no storage allocation

You also may be able to reduce the storage space of photos and videos. Again, in your computer’s browser, go to https://photos.google.com/settings. Choose “High Quality” to allow Google to reduce the file storage size of photos you save to Google Photos on the web.

If you use the Google Photos app on a mobile device (Android or iOS), open it, tap the three line menu in the upper left, then choose Settings, then Backup & sync. Look for the “Upload size” setting. Tap it, then select “High Quality (free unlimited storage).”

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5. Store files that use no storage allocation

Converting files you store on Google Drive to native Google Docs formats can save significant space. For example, I uploaded and stored a PowerPoint presentation. When I stored it in the original format, it used 43 MB of my storage allocation. When I converted it to Google Slides format? 0 MB, since native format files don’t count toward the limit. That’s true for any file you create in a native Google format–in Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, or Forms. None of these files count toward your storage total on Google Drive.

To save space, you can choose to convert files to a Google Drive format by default when you upload a file to Google Drive. Go to https://drive.google.com, choose the sprocket below your account image on the right side of the screen, then select “Settings.” Make sure the box to the left of “Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format” is checked.

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Who needs more storage?

If you’re a G Suite administrator, you can check to see how much storage each of the accounts in your organization uses. Login to the admin console (https://admin.google.com), select Users, then look at the list. You can display both Drive usage and Total storage columns. If either of the columns isn’t visible, select the three-dot menu (to the right of the help icon) to choose which columns appear.

(Video) Gmail Tips: How to Clear Gmail Space for More Google Drive Storage

Of course, you can buy additional storage. An administrator can purchase storage space and allocate it to accounts that need it, or an individual Google user also may buy extra storage. If you really need more space, you might upgrade to G Suite Business: For an additional $5 per user per month, every account in your organization can receive unlimited storage. (Note: If you have four or fewer users on your G Suite Business account, each user receives 1 TB of storage.) With unlimited storage, you may never need to remove files, delete emails with large attachments, or compress photos again.

What about you?

How much Google storage do you use? Do you pay for additional storage for specific people–or have you upgraded to obtain unlimited storage? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

  • Ten ways to maximize your Google Drive (TechRepublic)
  • How to delete large attachments to save storage space in Gmail (ZDNet)
  • Google Photos no longer a part of Google+ (TechRepublic)
  • How to delete photos from your Android device and retain them on Google Drive (TechRepublic)
  • How to use Google Photos to free up space in iCloud (TechRepublic)
5 tips to help free up storage space on your Google account (7)

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By Andy Wolber

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Albuquerque, NM with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

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(Video) How to Free Up Space in Gmail & Drive (Google One Storage)

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How do I free up space in my Google account? ›

Clean up storage through Google One
  1. On your Android device, open the Google One app .
  2. At the bottom, tap Storage. Free up account storage.
  3. Select the category you want to manage.
  4. Select the files you want to remove. To sort files, at the top, tap Filter . ...
  5. After you select your files, at the top, tap Delete .

What should I delete when Google storage is full? ›

Google also includes Google Photos in the 15GB of free storage it gives its users. Photos and videos can take up more space than text-based files, so it's a good idea to go through and delete old photos and videos to make room.

What is the fastest way to clean up Gmail storage? ›

To clean Gmail space, you should first get rid of unwanted and unnecessary email messages using a bulk email organizer like Clean Email. Then, go through Google Drive and Google Photos and delete all files, photos, and videos that you don't need.

What if your Google storage is full? ›

To get rid of the issue "Google Drive says storage is full", you can delete some useless photos or compress your uploaded images from “Original” to “High quality” mode. Here's how to do it. 1. Go to the Google Photos page, and click Photos to show all your uploaded pictures.

Does deleting emails free up space on Gmail? ›

With the Google One Storage Management Tool, you can review and free up storage space by deleting emails in your trash, spam emails, or emails with large attachments.

What is the 1.99 charge for Google storage? ›

If you choose to buy 100 GB for $1.99/month, you become a member of Google One. That is simply what Google has chosen to call it when you pay for storage rather than just using the free allotment. If you become a member of Google One, there are a few other benefits.

What takes up storage space in Gmail? ›

Messages and attachments, like items in your Spam and Trash folders, take up space. Photos and videos backed up in Original quality take up space.

How do I completely clean up my Gmail? ›

How to Clean Up Gmail in 10 Steps
  1. Delete big attachments. ...
  2. Delete entire categories. ...
  3. Unsubscribe from annoying lists. ...
  4. Block unwanted senders. ...
  5. Delete by sender. ...
  6. Delete by date. ...
  7. Delete by content. ...
  8. Create new labels.

Is there an app to clean up Gmail? ›

Is there an app to clean up Gmail inbox? Yes, and Clean Email is one of the best apps to help you clean your Gmail inbox. It organizes your emails into relevant bundles, and you can easily apply any action to a group of similar messages instead of managing each of them manually.

How do I delete thousands of emails in Gmail? ›

How to mass delete emails on Gmail
  1. Log in to your Gmail account.
  2. Check the box at the top of your inbox, to the left of the refresh button. ...
  3. Click the blue text that reads, Select all X conversations in Primary.
  4. Click the delete button, which looks like a trash can.
Apr 17, 2023

How do I get emails when my storage is full? ›

I am afraid you can't. the messages and emails that arrives to your mailbox when your storage was full will bounced back to the sender with a mailbox full error message. You can't recover those messages and emails because they were not actually delivered to your email box.


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