For many of us, storage on Google is the modern hard drive. It is the place where our most important thoughts, documents and memories lie. But just like with a traditional hard drive, the space is not infinite and running out of space can be a real problem.
By default, Google gives you 15 GB of space to use for everything related to your account. (If you have a paid G Suite account, the limit is likely to be higher.) This includes content linked to Gmail, Google Drive, and everything else Google Photos saved after June 1st. Needless to say, data loads quickly.
You can check your current storage status by visiting this page, and if push is going to slide, you can buy more space there as well for as little as $ 2 a month for an extra 1
Delete Drive Debris
Google Drive is a common place for vacuuming files to build and wear out your quota, but it does not take long to clean up.
- Open this link, which shows a list of all your Drive files sorted by size with the largest items at the top
- Look through the most heinous offenders and delete everything you no longer need
- Click the gear icon in Drive at the top right 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 Google Drive storage can sometimes have hidden data, but all it takes is a few clicks to remove it.
Free up image storage
Unless you currently have a Pixel phone (in which case you will currently retain the unlimited “high quality option”) as of June 1, 2021, every image and video backed up to Google Photos will count towards your Google storage. If you’ve saved images in their original size, you can free up a lot of space by converting them to Google’s ‘high quality’ option, which compresses images down to 16MP and videos to 1080p (a change that’s hardly noticeable to most people and purpose).
- Go to the settings page for photos and select “High quality (free unlimited storage)”
- When you make that choice, you will be asked if you want to switch to “high quality” format and compress your existing images. If there are any images you do not want to compress, click “Learn how to keep original files” for instructions on how to save these images to your device.
Say goodbye to Gmail spam
Email does not take up a lot of space, but do you know what it does? Attachments. The odds are that you have a lot of old attachments in your Gmail account that you do not really need.
Here’s how to fix it:
- Go to the Gmail site and type “has: attachment larger: 10M” in the search box at the top
- Identify messages with one-time attachments and delete them. (There is no great way to get rid of an attachment without deleting the associated email, unfortunately, but you can always forward a message back to yourself and manually remove the attachment before increasing the original.)
- Open your spam folder and click on the link to “Delete all spam messages now”
- Open the Recycle Bin and select “Empty Recycle Bin Now” to send everything away for good
Feeling lighter is liberating, right?
Updated February 17, 2021, 10:37 ET: This article was originally published on March 19, 2019. The information on Google Photos has been updated.