Google Drive: Running out of space?

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As of June 1, 2021 Google is limiting the amount of storage space to 15gb for free accounts. So, what happens when you approach, or are over this limit?

Option 1: Add More Space

You can select a storage plan with more or less storage space than you have now. You can also switch your storage plan to a monthly or annual subscription.

Change your Google One plan

To switch to a different Google One plan:

  1. On your computer, go to Google One.
  2. On the left, click Settings Settingsand then Change storage plan.
  3. Select a downgrade plan:
    • To add more storage space, choose a plan under “Upgrade options.”
    • To pay for less storage space, choose a plan under “Downgrade options.”
      Tip: If you don’t find a downgrade option, you’re already on the lowest plan.
  4. Confirm the new plan pricing and payment date. Then, click Continue.
  5. Select your payment method and click Subscribe.

Option 2: Clean Up and Remove Unwanted Files

To delete your Google Drive files, move them to the trash. Files in trash will be automatically deleted after 30 days. You can restore files from your trash before the 30-day time window. You can also permanently delete them to empty your trash. If you delete, restore, or permanently delete multiple files or folders at once, it might take time for you to notice the changes. 

To see how much space you have left, on a computer, go to google.com/settings/storage.
For information on this, refer to the last article: how-to-check-your-google-space.

Important: When your account reaches its storage limit, you can’t send or receive emails.

Option 3: Cancel Your Google Drive Account

There is always a choice, right? If you don’t want to pay for extra storage anymore, you can end your Google One plan.

  1. On your computer, go to Google One.
  2. On the left, click Settings Settingsand then Cancel membership.
  3. To confirm, click Cancel membership.

You should get a confirmation that your subscription is cancelled.

What Happens If You Run Out of Space?

All your files will stay safe, but you won’t be able to store anything new. For example:

  • Gmail: You won’t be able to send or receive messages. Messages sent to you will be returned to the sender.
    • Starting June 1, 2021: If you remain inactive or go over your storage quota for 2 years or longer, all of your emails may be deleted.
  • Google Drive: You won’t be able to sync or upload new files. You won’t be able to create new files in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Jamboard. Until you reduce your storage usage, neither you nor anyone else can edit or copy your affected files. Syncs between your computer’s Google Drive folder and My Drive will stop. 
    • Starting June 1, 2021: If you remain inactive or go over your storage quota for 2 years or longer, your content within the affected product(s) may be deleted.
  • Google Photos: You won’t be able to upload photos and videos in Original quality. If you want to add any more photos and videos, you can either upload or back up in High quality (lower resolution), or turn off Back up & sync.
    • Starting June 1, 2021: You also won’t be able to upload photos and videos in High quality or Express quality if you are out of storage. And if you remain inactive or go over your storage quota for 2 years or longer, all of your photos and videos may be deleted.

What Happens If I Do Not Use My Account for 2 Years?

Below is a sample email message that you would receive before the end of your 2 years of inactivity.

Your [email protected] personal account has been unused for two years and is currently frozen. Your files are still there, but your Google Drive and all files saved to that account will be deleted on or after 6/26/2023 10:00:16 PM unless Google Drive to reactivate it.
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