See your storage limit

You have 15 GB of free storage to share across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. If you use Google Apps at work or school, you have at least 30 GB of storage. While you may have a lot of files and folders in your Google Drive, only items that you've synced or uploaded use storage space. Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides or items shared with you don’t count toward your storage space.

Check your storage

You can use Google Drive on the web, your mobile device or on your computer. To see how much storage you're using, go to Google Drive on the web and hover over the bottom left corner. A window will appear that shows your usage. You can also go to to see how you’re using your storage across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.

In Google Drive, you may see a difference in the storage usage listed for Drive on the web and Drive for your Mac/PC. Here are some reasons you may see different storage numbers:

  • Files that are in your trash count toward your storage on the web, but not on your desktop.
  • Files shared with you never count toward your storage on the web, but if you move a file to "My Drive" the shared file will sync to your desktop and count toward the storage of your Drive folder on your desktop.

Items that count toward your storage limit

  • Gmail: All the messages and attachments in your mail, including those in your Spam and Trash folders.
  • Drive: Files you’ve stored in Drive, like PDFs, images, and videos. Anything you’ve made with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides won’t count toward your storage limit.
  • Google Photos: If you choose "Original" in your Google Photos upload settings, your photos will count towards your storage limit.

If you exceed your storage limit, you'll receive warnings and you'll need to free up storage as soon as you can. Otherwise, you won’t be able to sync or upload additional items to your Drive or add photos to Google. After a period of time, incoming messages to your Gmail account will be returned to the sender and you won’t be able to send new messages.

Items that don't count toward your storage limit

  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Presentations, Drawings, etc.
  • Files that others have shared with you

What to do if you hit your limit

If you’re close to your storage limit, you can delete items that are taking up space or buy more storage.

Delete items

Since your storage is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos, you might want to see where you’re using the majority of your storage space and start deleting from there.

Google Drive

Files in the Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides formats don’t use any of your storage space. Only stored files such as PDFs, images, and videos use storage space. Stored files can be up to 5 TB each.

To clear space, look for larger files that you no longer need. An easy way to do this is to sort your files by file size.

To sort your files by file size:

  1. Hover over your storage usage in the bottom left corner.
    • Don't see your storage usage in the corner? You may be using an older version of Drive. Try the alternate instructions below.
  2. Click Drive in the message that appears. You'll see all your files listed by file size.

Alternate instructions

To sort your files by file size using an older version of Drive:

  1. Open Google Drive.
  2. Click the arrow next to the column on the right. The heading will say either "Last modified," "Last edited by me," or "Last opened by me."
  3. Choose Quota used.

You can also use search to find files. Learn more about how to search your Google Drive.

Once you have found files to delete, send the files to Trash, then permanently delete them from there.


Step 1: Find messages to delete

To find messages that you’re willing to part with, try using an advanced search. In Gmail, click the down arrow in the search box and enter some words you’d like to search for.

Gmail Search Box

Here are a few examples to get you started:

Operator Example Meaning
larger: larger:10M All messages of at least 10M bytes (10,000,000 bytes) in size.
has:attachment from:david has:attachment Messages from David that have an attachment.
filename: filename:jpg Messages that have JPG image attachments.
older: older:2010/01/01 Messages sent before January 1, 2010 (using the date format yyyy/mm/dd.

Step 2: Select messages and send to Trash

Open messages individually or select multiple messages using the checkboxes. Send messages to Trash using the Delete button.

Gmail Delete icon

If you find a group of messages that you want to send to Trash all at once, follow these steps:

  1. Check the box in the Select button to select all messages, or use the down arrow for more options.
  2. Click Select all conversations that match this search directly above the message list.
  3. Use the Delete button Trashcan icon to send all selected messages to Trash.

Step 3: Permanently delete from trash

If you delete a message from Trash, you can't get it back. Messages in Trash will be permanently deleted after 30 days, but you can permanently delete them yourself to free up space.

First, open your Trash folder:

  1. Hover over the list on the left side of your Gmail (where “Sent Mail” and “Drafts” are listed).
  2. Click More at the bottom of your label list (you may need to scroll down).
  3. Click Trash.

Next, carefully review your messages. If you see a message that you don’t want to delete, select the message and use the Move to button to move it to your Inbox or one of your other labels.

Gmail Move to icon

Finally, you can delete messages individually using the Delete forever button, or all messages at once using the Empty Trash now link directly above the message list.

Google Photos

In Google Photos, you may have a few blurry images, accidental videos, and photos of the inside of your pocket that are taking up space. Keep in mind that "High quality" size photos won't count toward your storage limit.

Learn how to delete photos in Google Photos.

Buy more storage

If you run out of free storage, you can buy more storage that can be shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Learn more about storage plans. If you’re an administrator, you can buy storage for your business.

Here are a few important things to know before buying a storage plan:

  • If you buy more storage, you’re buying a subscription that renews automatically. You can cancel your subscription at any time, but storage purchases are non-refundable.
  • You can make changes to your storage plan at any time. You'll be upgraded to your new storage level right away and your charges will be adjusted on your next billing cycle.
  • A storage plan for one Google account can't be transferred to a different account.
  • It can take up to 24 hours before purchased storage is added to your account.

Matt is a Docs & Drive expert and author of this help page. Leave him feedback below about the page.

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