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Home / Tips and Tricks / The fastest way to free up space in Gmail

The fastest way to free up space in Gmail

The Gmail website on a smartphone in someone's pocket.
Piotr Swat / Shutterstock.com

Gmail includes 1

5 GB of free storage, which is shared with Google Drive and Google Photos. Here’s how to find (and delete) the emails that use the most space in your Gmail account. Try this before paying for more storage!

Google wants you to buy more space

You can see how much total storage space your Gmail account is using on the Google One Storage page. However, you cannot quickly discover how to free up that space on this page. It redirects you to Gmail and leaves you alone.

Sure, you can start deleting emails one by one, but chances are you have tens of thousands of emails – at the very least. That takes forever. Even worse, many of those emails are small and you barely free up space by deleting them.

Google wants you to purchase more storage space to store all those old emails forever. But you can free yourself from those old emails and avoid that monthly bill. Here’s how.

RELATED: Why you should delete emails instead of archiving them

Find and delete the largest email messages

Gmail doesn’t really show how much storage space each email thread is using. However, Gmail allows you to search for threads by size.

To do this, search with the operator “size:” in Gmail. For example, to search for emails larger than 20MB, type the following text in the search bar and press Enter:


If you delete five of the listed email threads, you will have freed up at least 100MB. Now you know which emails to delete to free up space as soon as possible.

Search for emails over 20MB in Gmail.

To delete an email thread, open it and click the “Delete” icon which resembles a trash can icon on the toolbar. To delete multiple threads, select them using the checkboxes and click the trash can icon to delete them all at once.

Delete multiple email conversations in Gmail.

Work your way down the list in size. For example, “size: 10mb” shows all email threads 10MB or larger. Make sure to empty the Gmail recycle bin to permanently delete the emails and free up space.

These emails will take up a lot of space because of their file attachments. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to delete a file attachment while keeping the email. If the email is important to you, you can forward it to yourself (and delete the attachment while doing this) and then delete the original. You can also print the email to PDF and then delete it. Or, if the attachments are important, you can download them and save them elsewhere before deleting the email.

Delete large numbers of emails quickly

Chances are, you have large numbers of useless, outdated emails wasting space in your inbox. You probably don’t need to keep all those old email newsletters forever!

To quickly find and delete large numbers of useless emails, follow our tips for getting rid of almost all your junk emails quickly.

RELATED: How to Delete Almost All Junk Emails in the Easy Way

How to Sort Your Gmail Messages by Size

If you want even more control, we recommend using an IMAP client such as Mozilla Thunderbird. Thunderbird shows you exactly how big each email thread in your Gmail account is. You can even sort by size.

Work down the list by size, delete any email you don’t need, and you can free up a lot of space in no time.

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