Google storage is the modern-day hard drive for many of us. It’s where we keep our most important thoughts, documents, and memories. However, just like a traditional hard drive, the space isn’t infinite, and running out of space can be a real issue.
Google gives you 15GB of storage space by default for everything associated with your account. (Your limit is likely higher if you have a paid Google Workspace — formerly G Suite — account.) This includes all Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos content (except those saved before June 1st, 2021). Needless to say, data accumulates quickly.
Here’s how to go about it.
DELETE DEBRIS DRIVE
Google Drive is a popular place for space-hogging files to accumulate and deplete your quota, but cleaning things up is simple.
- Click this link to see a list of all of your Drive files sorted by size, with the largest items at the top.
- Examine the worst offenders and get rid of anything you don’t need.
- Select “Settings,” followed by “Manage Apps” from the gear-shaped icon in the upper-right corner of Drive.
- Click the gray “Options” box to the right and select “Delete hidden app data” for any apps that have a note about hidden data.
Apps associated with your Google Drive storage may contain hidden data, but removing it is as simple as a couple of clicks.
FREE UP PHOTOS STORAGE
Unless you currently own a Pixel 5 or earlier phone (in which case, you will retain the unlimited “Storage saver” option for the time being), every photo and video backed up to Google Photos will count against your Google storage as of June 1st, 2021. If you’ve been saving photos in their original sizes, you can save a lot of space by converting them to Google’s “Storage saver” option (which was previously known as “High quality”). This reduces image resolution to 16MP and video resolution to 1080p (a difference that is unlikely to be noticeable for most people and purposes).
- Select “Storage saver” from the Photos settings page.
- If you select “Storage saver,” your previous photos will not be compressed automatically. To do so, look for the “Recover Storage” button on the Photos settings page, which will compress many (but not all) of your existing videos and photos. (To see which images will be affected, visit Google’s support page.)
The “Manage storage” button is another useful resource on this same page. Tap that, and you’ll be taken to a page that will tell you how much time you have left before you run out of storage space, as well as offer to find (and delete) blurry photos, screenshots, and other potentially unwanted images that are taking up space.
GET RID OF GMAIL JUNK
Emails don’t take up much room, but you know what does? Attachments. You probably have a lot of old attachments in your Gmail account that you don’t need.
Here’s how to deal with it:
- Go to the Gmail website and type “has attachment larger:10M” into the top search box.
- Identify and delete any messages with disposable attachments. (Unfortunately, there is no easy way to remove an attachment without also deleting the associated email, but you can always forward a message back to yourself and manually remove the attachment before deleting the original.)
- Open your Spam folder and select the “Delete all spam messages now” option.
- Open your Trash folder and choose “Empty Trash now” to get rid of everything for good.
That’s it. Isn’t it liberating to feel lighter?