For many of us, Google storage is the modern hard drive. It is where our most important thoughts, documents and memories reside. However, just like a traditional hard drive, the space is limited and running out of space can be a real problem.
By default, Google gives you 15 GB of space to use for everything associated with your account. (If you have a paid G Suite account, your limit is likely higher.) That includes content associated with Gmail, Google Drive, and all Google Photos saved after June 1. Needless to say, data adds up quickly.
You can check your current storage status by visiting this page, and when it comes down to it, you can also buy more space there for just $ 2 per month for an extra 1
Remove disc debris
Google Drive is a common place for space-hungry files to build up and wear out your quota, but it doesn’t take long to clean up.
- Open this link, which will show you a list of all your Drive files sorted by size with the largest items at the top
- Check out the most serious offenders and get rid of anything you no longer need
- Click the gear icon in the top right corner of Drive and select ‘Settings’ followed by ‘Manage apps’
- For 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 can sometimes contain hidden data, but you only have to click a few clicks to remove them.
Free up storage space for photos
Unless you currently have a Pixel phone (in which case you will keep the unlimited ‘high quality’ option for now), starting June 1, 2021, every photo and video backed up to Google Photos will count against your Google storage. If you’ve saved photos in their original size, you can free up a ton of space by converting them to Google’s ‘high quality’ option, which compresses images to 16MP and videos to 1080p (a change that probably won’t be noticeable for most people and purposes).
- Go to Photos settings page and select ‘High Quality (Free Unlimited Storage)’
- When you make that 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 original files” link for instructions on how to save those photos to your device.
Say goodbye to Gmail junk
Emails don’t take up much space, but you know what it does? Attachments. Chances are you have a lot of old attachments in your Gmail account that you don’t really need.
Here’s how to go about that:
- Go to the Gmail website and type “has: attachment larger: 10M” in the search box at the top
- Identify and delete all messages with disposable attachments. (Unfortunately, there’s no great way to get rid of an attachment without also deleting the accompanying email, but you can always send a message back to yourself and manually delete the attachment before deleting the original.)
- Open your Spam folder and click on the link “Delete all spam messages now”
- Open your trash can and select “Empty Trash Now” to send everything away for good
Feeling lighter is liberating, isn’t it?
Update Feb. 17, 2021, 10:37 AM ET: This article was originally published on March 19, 2019. Information on Google Photos has been updated.