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3 ways to free up storage on your Google account

Published Apr 11th, 2022 3:39PM EDT
A person's hand is tapping on a tablet with Google on screen
Image: Teerasan/Adobe

Google products and services ranging from Gmail to Google Maps and so much more have become staples of daily life for tens of millions of people. Unless you’re paying for a Google One subscription with benefits that include expanded cloud storage, however, you probably have run into a point where you’re in danger of maxing out the space allotted for your Google account.

Personally, I think the benefits of a Google One subscription are very worth the price. Considering that for just $19.99 a year (or $1.99/month if you go that route)? I get 100 GB of storage for my Google Account, shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Compare that to the piddly 15 GB that comes standard with a free Google Account.

Google account tips and tricks

And if you really want to go wild? $29.99/year (or $2.99/month) doubles that 100 GB to 200. Or you can even go all the way up to 2 TB of space for your Google account, by buying the top-tier Google One subscription for $99.99/year (or $9.99/month).

If you don’t want to fork over any extra money, though — and we get it, between Netflix and maybe a potential iPhone rental scheme, we’re about to tap out on new subscriptions — that means you’ll have to resort to cutting a few corners to free up space for your Google account. Luckily, there’s definitely some low-hanging fruit available to try along these lines.

Google Android
A green Android logo figurine is shown next to a computer. Image source: Arthur Shevtsov/Adobe

First things first, you’ll want to head to https://www.google.com/settings/storage. You’ll be prompted to log in to your Google account, if you’re not already. There, you’ll be greeted by a screen showing you much storage is available to you across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

Scroll down the page a little, and you should see a box that says “Get your space back” and offers hints on how to free up account storage. Click that, and then you’ll be taken to a screen where Google suggests some actions to take that are specific to your account.

  • In a similar vein, in terms of hunting down big files? You can also head over to https://drive.google.com/#quota from your browser (again, while logged in to your Google account). That should present you with a list, from biggest to smallest, of your files that are taking up space in Google Drive.

For a third tip, let’s talk about an aspect of Gmail that can help you free up tons of space, potentially, for your Google account.

Look for large Gmail attachments

This especially goes for those of you for whom Inbox Zero is as much of a possibility as winning the lottery.

All of the crap we get sent every day quickly adds up. Especially so, considering all the attachments that probably flow into your Gmail inbox on a regular basis. For this tip, what you’ll want to do is head to your Gmail account on desktop. Then, in the search box at the top? Here’s a way to quickly zero in on emails that have large attachments included with them:

In the search box at the top of your Gmail account, type “size:15mb.”

And if you want, you can tweak that number in order to hunt down even larger file attachments. For example, you can also try size:20mb, size:100mb, and so on. Whatever you do decide to delete, however, just remember to also empty the trash in your Gmail. Otherwise, you’re just moving the attachment, essentially, from one part of your Gmail account to another.


More Google coverage: For Google Pixel news, visit our Pixel 6 guide.

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Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.