For many of us, Google storage is a modern drive. It is where our most important thoughts, documents and memories reside. But just like with traditional hard drives, space is not infinite, and running out of space can be a real problem.
By default, Google gives you 15 GB of usage space for everything associated with your account. (If you have a paid G Suite account, your limit is likely to be higher.) This includes content related to Gmail, Google Drive, and everything else. Google Photos was saved after June 1st. Needless to say, the data adds up quickly.
You can check your current storage status by visiting this page, and if there’s a push, you can also buy more space there for just $ 2 a month for an extra 100GB. But spending more money may not be necessary. A quick circle of old-fashioned household could be enough to clean your virtual cobwebs and give yourself enough room to grow. Here’s how to do it.
Wipe up debris from the drive
Google Drive is a common place to create files that suck up space and consume your quota, but sorting things out doesn’t take long.
- Open this link to see a list of all Disk files sorted by size with the largest items at the top
- Examine the most serious offenders and delete everything you no longer need
- Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the Disk and select “Settings” and then “Manage Apps.”
- For all apps that have a note about hidden data, click the gray “Options” box on the right and select “Delete hidden app data”
Apps associated with your Google Drive storage may sometimes have hidden data, but it only takes a few clicks to remove it.
Free up photo storage
If you do not currently have a Pixel phone (in which case, you will retain the unlimited “high quality” option for now), as of June 1, 2021, any photos and videos backed up to Google Photos will count towards your Google storage. If you’ve saved photos in their original sizes, you can free up tons of space by turning them into Google’s “high-quality” option that compresses images up to 16MP and videos up to 1080p (a change that probably won’t be noticeable to most people and purposes).
- Go to the Photos settings page and select “High quality (free unlimited storage)”
- Once you make your selection, you will be asked if you want to switch to the “high quality” format and compress your existing photos. If there are photos you don’t want to compress, click the “Learn how to keep the original files” link for instructions on saving these photos to your device.
Say goodbye to Gmail trash
Email addresses don’t take up a ton of space, but you know what you need? Attachments. Chances are you have a lot of old attachments in your Gmail account that you don’t really need.
Here’s how to fix it:
- Go to the Gmail site and enter “has: attachment larger: 10M” in the search box at the top
- Identify all messages with disposable attachments and delete them. (Unfortunately, there’s no great way to get rid of an attachment without deleting the associated email, but you can always forward the message to yourself and manually remove the attachment before transferring the original.)
- Open the Spam folder and click the “Delete all spam now” link
- Open the Trash folder and select “Empty Trash Now” to send it all forever
Feeling lighter releases, right?
Update: February 17, 2021, 10:37 AM ET: This article was originally published on March 19, 2019. The information in Google Photos has been updated.