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Unable to reclaim storage space in google account even after deleting 3 GB data in google photos 1 Recommended Answer 56 Replies 463 Upvotes
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I have spent 4 days trying to empty my google photos account because I Was going to end my paid subscription plan. However even after removing 3 GB worth data from my google photos both from android app as well as web browser, the size remains FIXED! I have emptied the bin over various album delete iterations in the hope that the size will budge a little but NOTHING. I have waited over 48 hours. NOTHING. Meanwhile  my paid subscription expired and now I have more data than my storage. HOW am I supposed to reduce usage in a folder that has nothing left to remove and reduce?!!  Soon my mails will stop working!

Asking google one tech support didnt help. How do I get my usage to be counted as per what it is?

Someone please tell me how to fix this.

PS. 1. All images are in original quality and not "high quality" . I know latter  does not count towards usage.
2. I transferred images to a partner account and through sharing. Previously I had confirmed that that does NOT make any difference to storage in primary account  - both accounts have independent storage and the space reduces independently on deleting data.
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Please look at Storage and do report the 3 numbers to us.
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Done several times. Already mentioned in my post.
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Here's the storage screenshot. Google Photos is stuck at 12.94 since 3 days now. Even though I've deleted several "original quality" images. I'm out of space since I only have 17 gb in my account. 
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Thanks for the number because they immediately make clear what you did wrong: never cleaned-up Gmail for years. Gmail is very consuming because I now have everything cleaned-up before 2018 and I still have 4 GB
Go to https://mail.google.com/mail in your desktop browser, select All mail in the left column and go to the oldest 50 right-up. Then select and delete 50 etc. etc. until Januar 1, 2018 or even more recent. 
Thereafter empty the Gmail-trash (also in the left column). 
Ready. 

Foto Photos you have to take a decision: if you persists on original quality without paying, you must download every week from https://photos.google.com to your computer and thereafter apply Recover storage on https://photos.google.com/settings to compress the content at Google to zero usage. 

Then you safe forever without painfull deletions again and again. Because High Quality on the web is good for all normal applications because you now have the originals on disc for top applications (if ever needed). 

That's all I can advice. 
Not funny, but its is all for free you know.
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@rinus are you kidding?? What do you even mean I never cleared gmail "for years"?  Pls see the screenshot AGAIN. My gmail storage is 17 GB. I am using 15.5 GB out of it!!

and doesn't look like you read *anything* I wrote describing my issue above! I have been DELETING IMAGES FROM GOOGLE PHOTOS and the space occupied is NOT REDUCING. How does it have anything to do with whether I delete or not delete anything in my google account? and in case you missed it I was using paid storage for months! Now I have content I do NOT want, hence STOPPED using paid storage, and removing it is NOT freeing up space. Hope you got the issue this time round.
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@peterandi Yes I Am aware that option exists. however I want to keep a few images in original quality and free up the rest of the space (which will be lesser than 17 gb total). Right now I need a way to be able to see deleted images reflecting in the space usage. The problem is that the usage is stuck at one point no matter what I remove. And yes, I have checked that the images I am deleting are "original quality" not "high quality" which don't occupy space.
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And I am not kidding at all, because the main part of your 17 GB limit is taken by your Gmail. 
So if you don't want to clean-up Gmail, you only have 1,5 GB for your originals 
So you need to clean-up 11+ GB  of originals at Photos and you don't want to do that either. 
So what can we say more? 

PS: you can use https://www.google.com/settings/takeout to download your mail and your photos to your computer before cleaning-up thoroughly.
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@rinus - you SURELY seem to be kidding. :) Why else would you assume SO much? The very least you could do is try and understand exactly what I have posted in my original post and what the problem I am facing IS.

No where do I say I have never deleted mails from gmail "for years". What an assumption. I delete mail every single day!
No where do I say I do NOT want to delete images stored in original quality. AGAIN, presumptuous much? I have been deleting PRECISELY THOSE!
No where do I say I "somehow" need to clear space - which is why you have started to tell me WHAT to delete! seriously? I know I have just ~ 1.5 GB space for my images and I AM OK WITH THAT.
No where do I say I want all this for free . I had a PAID SUBSCRIPTION which I ended. Because I do NOT have that much content to keep in storage. Another assumption.

Pls understand - I HAVE BEEN DELETING IMAGES IN ORIGINAL QUALITY SINCE 5 DAYS. However the space occupied does NOT change thanks to some bug. It is a very very specific problem that I Am hoping to get help with. It is also something many others have faced before me. I appreciate your attempt at giving suggestions, but NOT the assumptions. thank you.
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@peterandi - thanks for sharing that google drive thread. I tried some of the things but nothing helped. And some are not applicable for me.

However after having tried zillions of ways to delete images, I do seem to have found some sort of tweak in this rather strange bug. Somehow I started deleting only specific images from albums and NOT entire albums and that strangely seemed to make a difference! Before this I Was selecting entire album from the top of the album and deleting them in one go. Now I Am selecting a few images manually and ensuring that at least 1 image is left back from each album. It is really really strange but somehow NOW I am able to see changes in occupied space. And I have been able to reduce around 4 GB so far. I am hoping that by hook or  by crook I am able to reduce the usage completely. And that some others who face this later can try this strange method too. :)
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I am sorry, but I take the usage numbers you have showed seriously. 
I would love to believe you, but Google said that you are using 15,5 GB for Gmail. 
Does that number also hangs for years? 

On Gmail you can be very misleaded because it is archiving. Just look in the left column in your browser under More to "All mail" - maybe you will be astonished what is not deleted at all. 
At least I have been once in the past. 

And instead of deleting on Photos (also its trash I assume), I would suggest to upload a fairly large file (maybe a short movie) straight into https://photos.google.com via the UPLOAD button. 
Maybe this helps to reset the Google counter - at least for Photos. 
After a few days you can remove this file again from https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_ 

I leave all further discussions to Peter now, because I can't do much good anymore. 
Good luck.
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@peterandi I have been deleting images from the "photos" section, not the "albums" section. Over There the photos are bunched datewise. So what I meant was that if I select them all in one go by date (option is there on top of each date's collection or album) then the images somehow don't free up space. I delete them using the delete button available on top of the page when one selects something.

However if I manually select them and leave some image behind in each such date collection, and then empty bin, it has been freeing up space. Strange.
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Same scenario.  I get it. Google wants us to all to move to "High Quality', but clients should not be prevented from reclaiming space as is apparent now.  This is not complicated.  Maxed your quota?  Delete files, get under quota and more storage is available.  I've done it before.  Google you need to fix this.  Yes, I can pay more for additional storage; I can also convert all to high quality -- How about I trash/delete a gig and recover a gig?  Please fix.  If there's some obscure way to actually reclaim space, unfettered please publish.  Maybe I missed this.
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Somewhere I read that deleting folders is permanent, but the images remail part of your total.  If you scroll and delete the images themselves (for me, often grouped under the same date) the space is reclaimed and I have doe just that.
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How do images remain if I delete them and clear out trash? I have deleted  several thousand photos and a ton of videos and the storage number hasn't gone down at all.
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I have this same problem and I've deleted everything. Cleared storage does not reflect in the storage graphic. I think google just holds your gmail hostage until you pay for storage, end of.
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Did you ever find a solution? I'm going through the same thing & I deleted literally almost everything.... Really frustrating.
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I'm having this same issues. Moved my photos to the fee quality "high quality" but my limit stays the same and never goes down
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Cannot get new emails or add anything to my drive, even though I have used 83.45 GB of 100 GB  (I have the receipts to prove I pay for 100GB, not 15GB as it says on my account!  I have the SAME problem, am on hold right now for an hour to speak to someone at Giggley.
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Hello,

I have the same issue. i released at least 3 GB removing from Google Photos and Google Drive. And Google still told me about Full space. I need to get backup my photos otherwise I think a lot of users will download their photos and change the client. Please let me know your comments. Thanks.
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Hey there,

i had the same probleme last week, I've deleted all my pictures and I emptied the bin,but unfortunately I've got the same issue as you guys. so i found this trick.
all you need to do is deleting your pictures directly from google Photo and not from Google Drive by using your laptop.
you can solve this probleme by following thees steps:

1- Visite your google Photos account:
https://photos.google.com/u/0/
and then verify if you still have your pictures (for my case even if I've deleted the main folder in Google drive, I've found that Google Photo keep it all) so select all your targeted pictures in Google Photo and delete them.

2- Empty your bin by following this link.

3- Verify your space in google Photo by visiting this link:

hope that it will be useful for you !!
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I have the same issue, the amount of GB used never change even after deleting many files and emptying the bin every single time.
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@Elena
We always need to ask the same again and again: give us the 3 numbers you see at details on https://www.google.com/settings/storage when being logged-in with your Gmail-account. 
Else it is impossible for us to give any helpfull tips. 
See you back here soon.
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The  same problem, Yesterday I deleted videos from Google Photos in size bigger than 1,5 GB and the sorage counter did not change at all shows  the same numbers as before. Thanks for help (screenshot in czech language, but I assume is understandable):
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Like you could have read from replies before - it can take days before Google does reset your counter. 

But apart from that: it makes no sense to go on this way - you can have compressed all to zero usage forever via the Recover storage button on https://photos.google.com/settings and that may take a day or more also - especially when having large amounts of videos. 
And then choose High Quality for all future uploads to prevent this problem - also in the settings of the Photos-app on your phone if all stuff come from there. 

If you want to stick to original quality, you must download anything new to your computer every week and then apply Recover storage again.
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Sorry, but not much helpful :-(
I can keep my photos in original quality not "high quality".
Strange is that stopping uploading is immediate after full limit, but releasing the space and update the counter after cleaning can as you write "take days". BTW how many days?
I would expect it is online...(at least at Microsoft One Drive it works online).
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The compressing process at Google (so online) from original quality (which takes full storage) to high quality (which takes no storage) goes from file to file and 15GB is quite a lot. And Google can't be busy with you the full day - so we (users like you) can't predict how long it takes. Perhaps even Google can't tell. 
But if the button becomes grey, the process is ready, so you must check on https://photos.google.com/settings next day.
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Addition: and perhaps you did forget to empty the trash after deleting those large video's. 
Be aware that emptying the trash can't be undone.
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The same thing here. Claiming 15.2 gb after 2/3 gb were deleted already...
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yes also here. i've cleaned my google photos, my gmail, my drive, all of them... still not updating the storage count...
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I use Outlook as my client for Gmail  Are Outlook folders email counted, or are they stored on a local drive?. I have only 137 email in my inbox, nothing in my sent email and no trash yet I have 7.96GB in google drive EMAIL
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@Brenton
Probably Outlook does not show everything, because Gmail is archiving automatically. 
Please log-in to https://mail.google.com/mail in your browser and then click More in the left column under Inbox and then click All mail - perhaps you will find old mail there from years. And then you can start deleteing per page and empty the Trash also.
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not able to receive email because of space issue
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First question:  If I understand the bottom-line answer to Priyanka's original posted question, deleting photos individually from Google Photos that are stored in "Original Quality" will NEVER free up storage space.  In other words, if I have 10 GB of stored photos, all of which were stored in "Original Quality", and I delete every one of those photos (i.e., move to Trash and then delete/empty the Trash), Google Photos will still (and forever) show 10 GB of used storage (Current Storage).  Is this correct?

Second question:  Again, from the replies to the original question, if I have 10 GB of used storage in Google Photos, the only way to increase the available storage would be to select the "Recover Storage" button (whether or not I have saved the images to another drive).  Selecting that button is an all-or-nothing action.  In other words, doing so will convert ALL image files to "High Quality" and will free up ALL photo storage (i.e., the Current Storage will go from 10 GB to 0 GB).  Is this correct?

The bottom line with respect to "Original Quality" images is that it is an all-or-nothing circumstance.  Available storage cannot be controlled by deleting "Original Quality" images.  Is this correct?
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I do not have a paid subscription.  My account says I was (and still am) using 15.1 GB of 15 GB of storage, including 14.79 GB in Google Drive, despite having cleared all but 352KB from Google Drive well-more than 48 hours ago (probably 72-96 hours ago).  To the person who said it can "take days" before it clears, Google says 24-48 hours and NO MORE THAN 48 hours (which is technically "days" as in TWO days; however, your comment appears to imply that it can take more than two days).
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I got the same issue. I delete about 1000 hq photo few days ago and storage is still full!
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I have the same issue. Ended up paying for more storage. Regardless of what I delete, the storage reported doesn't go down. It goes up while I save more stuff there though. Sounds like a con to get you to buy storage to me... I'll wait a bit to see if it refreshes.
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انا افقد ايميل خاص بي هل يمكنكم مساعداتي في ارجاعها
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The memory is full Google Help me get it resolved.....    delete....!
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@User 10...
Reading what is written already by some experts also is wise: see https://support.google.com/photos/thread/1732555?msgid=12397416 

If that does not answer your question, you must be much more clear about your behavior - maybe you only need to apply free-up space: see this link
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Stuck with the same issue.. deleted 6gb of photos last week, and size is still showing as 15.1 gb..
Deleted photos from the link tontradh and tried everything stated in the comments.. no luck 😣😣😣

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@Farah
How did you know is was 6 GB? 
Maybe you have forgotten to empty the trash at https://photos.google.com/trash
But sometimes it will help to give Google a kick in the ass by uploading a single large file (a video) into photos.google.com temporarily. 
Good luck
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After a lot of time wasted, I finally managed to find where the photos were hiding:
https://get.google.com/albumarchive
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I have the same problem.  i have deleted over 4GB of stuff, photos, recordings, all trash, and number of 104 out of 100 has not moved one digit.  What's the point?
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guess Google just wants me to spend more money...Not gonna do it!
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Following the advice in this thread, I think I have found the answer.
So, first, I was deleting pictures as well (at least 4 gb of them), but the storage wasn't going down. The thing is, I was "ticking" them and then using the "Delete" in the top right corner. The pictures weren't showing, but the storage wasn't improving as well.
Now the way that works for me:
  • open any picture (click on the thumbnail to go full-ish screen);
  • go through them (using the arrows) and delete one by one.
  • You might actually see pictures that you have deleted. At least I did. Surprise.
Annoying? That's putting it mildly. But it seems to work, at least my used storage is becoming smaller.

Please fix this bug, Google.
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@User 13.. and many others

Also you did not read anything more clever before and how did you know that you have deleted 4 GB? Google gives no information about your usage on Photos unless on one.google.com/storage
And if most of your storage is at Drive and / or Gmail, it does not help any byte to remove pictures from Photos. 

The only way to do this correctly is on the website and read here how to select 500 items: 
  1. Go to your Google Photos library https://photos.google.com
    or to the "recently added" view https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_ 
  2. At the top left corner of the first picture, click the select icon
    ( To select all photos on a particular day, hover over the date above the first photo then click on the select icon.)
  3. Hold down SHIFT key and click on another picture to select a range
    Go on to about 500.
  4. At the top right corner, click the Delete icon (trash can)
  5. Confirm "Items moved to trash are removed from":
    • Your Google Photos library
    • All your synced devices
    • Content such as albums
    • Google Drive
  6. Click "Remove"
  7. If you are sure, empty the trash can at https://photos.google.com/trash 
  8. Start to select the next range of about 500 etc. etc. 
Thereafter check one.google.com/storage if the storage on Photos really has gone down enough. 
If not, wait a day and then check again. 

We can't be more clear and there is no Google here who can be blamed.
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Unable to recieve mails. Tried clearing 15000 old mails and photo album. Still storage is not reflecting
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@Santhosh Ragunath
"Unable to recieve mails. Tried clearing 15000 old mails and photo album. Still storage is not reflecting"
  • Photo albums do not use any additional storage. They only do contain links to the photos in the library or archive.  
  • You can delete photos, but there is no need. Instead you can use "Recover storage" in https://photos.google.com/settings. That will also reduce the storage used by Photos to zero. All photos/videos will be converted to "High Quality". If you also want to keep originals you must download them first (if not yet available). See this link.
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Hi all. If anyone has recovered storage in Google Photos by doing exactly this and only this :
 1) deleting photos from the Photos section (i.e. not from an album)
 2) emptying the trash bin
 3) waiting two days
please, only then, simply answer Yes.
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I too have the same problem. I have removed 100's of photos and videos from the photos, but the storage is not yet reclaimed. It still shows storage full for last 2 months. Is there any solution to reclaim the storage?
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Google wants you to buy storage now
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Same here with my account. I have deleted more than 7gb of my photos and it has been over a month. It still says that my storage is full. Request you to please help me.
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@User 17014009067600267441
Sorry, but we are also users and cannot help with this issue. 
  • It is known that updating storage is often delayed after deleting photos (did you also delete from trash?).
  • You may try to contact the Drive team here: Contact us - Google Drive Help
  • What also may help: go to https://photos.google.com/settings and use "Recover storage". But be careful: ALL photos and videos will be converted to "High Quality" and thus no longer use storage.
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Hi! What helped me is deleting pictures one by one - opening the picture (clicking on the thumbnail so that the picture is fullscreen) and then deleting like that. Afterwards - emptying the trash. That was the only way the storage reacted to pictures being deleted.
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Hi Guys,
 
This worked for me and my storage came down from 15 GB to 4GB and now I am also able to receive emails.
 
So here are the steps that I followed:
 
1. Deleted all promotional emails in bulk (Under promotion tab)
2. Deleted all social emails in bulk
This helped me reduce 500 mb space.
3. Then go to https://photos.google.com/settings and click on the recover storage button near the Buy button.
 
Post recovery, the storage was reduced to 4GB. :)
 
Hope this will work for you as well.
 
Regards,
Shadab Khan
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