Avoid Paying More: Tips to Free Up Space in Gmail and Google Drive

Google’s integrated ecosystem of services, such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos, shares a default storage limit of 15 gigabytes per account. While this amount initially seems ample, regular users can quickly exhaust this space, leading to potential disruptions, especially with Gmail.

Here are some strategies to effectively manage and extend your storage without necessarily having to opt for a paid upgrade.


1. Clean Up Your Gmail

Over the years, emails, especially those with attachments, accumulate and take up considerable space. Here’s how to clean them effectively:

  • Utilize Search Filters: Gmail offers powerful search tools that can help you find emails that are eating up the most space. You can use queries like larger:10M to find emails larger than 10MB or older_than:2y to find emails older than two years.
  • Bulk Delete Large or Old Emails: Once you identify these space-consuming emails, you can delete them in bulk. Make sure to empty the trash after deleting to immediately free up space.

2. Optimize Google Photos Storage

Google Photos can consume a significant portion of your storage with high-resolution images and videos.

  • Change Upload Settings: Consider setting your Google Photos to store images at “High quality” instead of “Original quality.” This option offers unlimited free storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos at 1080p, which is sufficient for most users.
  • Clean Out Unnecessary Media: Regularly review your uploaded content and delete anything that is not needed or duplicate.

3. Manage Google Drive Files

  • Remove Unnecessary Files: Sort your files by size and delete outdated or unnecessary documents and downloads.
  • Use Alternatives for Large Files: For large files that don’t require frequent access, consider using external storage or alternative cloud services that offer free space, like Dropbox or OneDrive.

4. Consider Upgrading to a Paid Plan

If you frequently hit the storage limit and all the above steps are not enough, you might want to consider subscribing to a Google One plan:

  • Pricing and Plans: Google One offers various plans starting at approximately $1.99 per month for 100GB of storage, which is a considerable upgrade from the standard 15GB.
  • Additional Benefits: Subscribing to Google One not only increases your storage across Gmail, Drive, and Photos but also provides additional benefits like access to Google experts, special hotel pricing, and more.


By effectively managing your storage with these steps, you can ensure that your Gmail remains functional without the immediate need for a paid upgrade. Regular maintenance of your email and careful management of files across Google services will help you maximize your available space and keep your digital life running smoothly.