Set storage limits

Supported editions for this feature: Business Standard and Business Plus; Enterprise; Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Education Plus; Nonprofits; Essentials.  Compare your edition

Education customers go to Set storage limits. To free up space in your own Google Account, go here instead.

To allocate your organization’s pooled storage, you can set storage limits for users and shared drives. Without admin-set storage limits, user and shared drive storage use is limited only by the total pooled storage for your organization.

If you don't set storage limits, users in your organization won't see storage limit indicators in Google Workspace products.

Set storage limits for users

Before you begin: To apply the setting for certain users, put their accounts in an organizational unit (to set by department) or a configuration group (to set for users across or within departments).

To get a warning if a group member exceeds the storage limit, make the group a filtering group and wait 24-48 hours before you set the storage limit.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu ""and then"" Storage.
  3. In the Storage settings section, click Manage.

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  4. At the left, click the entity whose users you want to apply a storage limit to:
    • Organizational unit–Click the organizational unit.
    • Group–Click Groups. Click the search field and begin entering the name of the group, then click the group.

      Note that group storage limits always override organization storage limits, and you can arrange which groups override each other through group settings. Learn more about configuration groups

  5. If the User storage limit section isn't open already, click it.
  6. Select On and enter the amount of storage allowed for each user.
  7. Click Save. If you set a limit for a child organizational unit that was previously inheriting a limit from a parent organizational unit, click Override. If you previously set a limit for a child organizational unit and you want it to inherit the limit from a parent organizational unit, click Inherit.

    If some users in an organizational unit already exceed the storage limit, you are warned. You’re warned for group members only if the group is set as a filtering group. For details, on this page see Storage limit warning messages.

For Gmail and Photos, it can take up to 24 hours for the storage limit to apply. For Drive, the storage limit applies after the user next adds or edits a file.

Example user storage limit scenarios

To specify individual storage limits, turn on this setting for your entire organization, organizational units, or groups. For example, if you select your top organizational unit and turn on a 10-GB storage limit, all users in your Google Workspace will have a 10-GB individual storage limit.

If you want members in an organizational unit called “Marketing” to have more storage, you can set an individual storage limit of 20 GB for all users in this specific organization unit. This storage limit will then override the base storage limit of 10 GB for members of this organizational unit to 20 GB.

Similarly, you can also add individual storage limits to groups. For example, you might have a few photographers in the “Marketing” organizational unit who need more storage than the other users. You could create a group named “Photographers” and turn on a storage limit of 500 GB to this photography group. Now anyone added to the photography group will automatically inherit a 500-GB storage limit.

Set storage limits for shared drives

To prevent shared drives from using too much of your organization’s storage, you can set a storage limit for the shared drives assigned to a specific organizational unit.

Before you begin (Optional): If you want to apply different storage limits to different shared drives, assign shared drives to organizational units.

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu ""and then"" Storage.
  3. In the Storage settings section, click Manage.
  4. At the left, click the organizational unit with the shared drives you want to set a storage limit for.
  5. Click Shared drive storage limit.
  6. Select On, and enter the amount of storage each shared drive can use.
  7. Click Save. If you set a limit for a child organizational unit that was previously inheriting a limit from a parent organizational unit, click Override. If you previously set a limit for a child organizational unit and you want it to inherit the limit from a parent organizational unit, click Inherit.

    If some shared drives already exceed the storage limit, you are warned before the policy is applied. For details, on this page see Storage limit warning messages.

Note: 

  • After you set a shared drive storage limit, it applies to a shared drive when a user next adds or edits a file in the shared drive.
  • Shared drive limits don’t prevent users from creating more shared drives. If you’re concerned about certain users consuming too much storage by creating shared drives, restrict who can create shared drives

Example shared drive storage limit scenario

You might want each shared drive in a “Marketing” organizational unit to have a 500-GB limit while each shared drive for the rest of your organization has a 50-GB limit. To set these limits, set the 50-GB limit on shared drives in your top organizational unit, then set the 500-GB limit on shared drives in the “Marketing” organizational unit.

How users experience storage limits

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With storage limits turned on, when users go to My Drive, they see a status bar of how much storage they’re using. When they open a shared drive’s Detail panel, they see a status bar showing how much storage is used and the storage limit on the shared drive.

Users who are over their storage limit see alert boxes at the top of Google Drive saying either “Storage low” or “Storage full” with a button to click to Free up space, which takes them to an article instructing them how to clear up files.

When users open a shared drive that’s close to or over its storage limit, they see alerts at the top of the page.

What happens when users go over storage limits

If users exceed their storage limit, they can be blocked from creating Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, among other service degradations. If your user goes over storage limits:

  • They can’t add new files or images to Google Drive.
  • They can’t create new files in collaborative content creation apps like Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Jamboard. Until they reduce storage use, nobody can edit or copy their affected files or submit forms owned by the user.
  • They can't add any photos and videos to Google Photos.
  • Their ability to send and receive email in Gmail will be impacted. Note: Education customers are exempt from this.
  • They can’t record new meetings in Google Meet.

Note: Users over their storage limit can still sign in to and access their Google Workspace account and view and download files.

What happens when shared drives go over storage limits

If a shared drive exceeds its storage limit, users can't add new files or edit existing files. To resolve:

  • A Content manager or Manager of the shared drive can move or delete content from the shared drive.
  • An admin can increase the storage limit that applies to the shared drive.

Storage limit warning messages

You may see warnings or error messages when you try to apply a storage limit to users or shared drives. The following are common error messages and ways to resolve them.

Some users already exceed storage limit

When you apply a user storage limit to an organizational unit or group, some users might already use more storage than your policy allows. For organizational unit-based limits, you see an alert indicating that some users may exceed the storage limit you are about to apply. For group-based limits, you see an alert if the group is set as a filtering group. Before you apply the policy, understand what happens to users over storage limits.

To find which users are over the limit:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. In the Admin console, go to Menu ""and then"" Storage.
  3. Click View all users.

On this page, you can filter users by specific organizational units and by how much storage they use.

After you apply a user storage limit, users see a status bar in Google Drive that shows how much storage they’re using and alerts them if they're low on storage.

Storage limit exceeds edition limit

When you apply a storage limit policy to an organizational unit or group, some users might have a Google Workspace license that restricts their available storage to less than your storage limit. In this case, you see the following message: "Storage limits may not apply to users with existing storage restrictions".

Some shared drives exceed storage limit

When you apply a storage limit to shared drives, some shared drives might already use more storage than your policy allows. In this case, you see an alert. Before you apply the policy, understand what happens to shared drives over storage limits.

To find which shared drives are over the limit:

  1. Open the Google Admin console.
  2. In the Admin console, go to Menuand thenStorage.
  3. Click View all shared drives.

On this page, you can filter shared drives by specific organizational units and sort them by how much storage they use.

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