Google Drive offers its users a highly reliable free cloud storage space of up to 15 GB that is sufficient for emails, photos, and documents. When the free storage limit reaches its capacity, Google prompts you to buy more space by paying for them. The trick to avoiding buying extra space here is to manage and optimize the content already present in the storage so as to make more space to store other files.
The most common filetypes that occupy storage on the Drive are:
- Emails with attachments
- Videos and Photos in Google Photos
- Different word, excel, PowerPoint, PDFs, and any file shared with you
- Backups from your Android phones and any other app data.
Read along to know methods that can help you optimize the data in Google Drive rather than upgrading to Google One.
Method 1 – Delete Large Attachments and Emails from Gmail
Many users never know that the emails and attachments in their Gmail count towards the Drive storage space. So one of the first solutions is to remove mails with large attachments from your mailbox.
1. Open Gmail in the browser.
2. At first, delete the contents in your Trash, Spam, and Drafts folders in your mailbox.
3. Click on the Search Filter icon in the search box to view the Advanced Search Menu.
4. Check the box next to Has attachment so that search returns only the emails with attachments.
5. In the box next to the Size option, choose greater than and X MB where X is the size of the attachment. Try something between 5 and 10 MB.
6. Now click on the Search button.
7. Check the emails that you want to delete and click on the Delete icon at the top.
8. You can also use other search filters like date range, PDFs, and archives to retrieve mails and delete.
Method 2 – Use High-Quality for Photos and Videos in Google Photos
All the photos and videos uploaded to Google Photos in original quality count towards the storage space. Follow the steps below to set high quality for your photo and video uploads.
1. Go to Google Photos and log in using your account.
2. Click on the Settings (gear icon) at the top right.
3. You will see a subheading Upload Size for Photos and Videos.
4. Now choose the Storage Saver option. It saves your photos and videos at a reduced quality compared to the original quality.
5. Click on Recover Storage to convert the existing images and videos to high quality.
6. Click on Compress when prompted Compress original quality to Storage saver quality.
6. Next, scroll down to Unsupported Videos and click on View.
7. You will see a list of videos that cannot be processed and are not compatible with Google Drives’ browser-based player.
8. You can either check all (or only those you want to remove).
9. Then click on Permanently Delete (trash bin icon) on the top right.
10. Click on the Delete button when asked for confirmation to permanently delete those videos.
Method 3 – Change Format of MS Office Docs to Google Docs
As we already know Google has its own online Office suite called Google Docs that allows the users to create documents, spreadsheets, and PPTs. But most of the users have no idea that files created using Google Docs do not count towards the Drive’s storage space. Follow the steps below to convert any file (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) to a Google Doc file.
1. Using your browser go to your Google Drive account.
2. Right-click on the file you want to convert and select Open with. Here we have used an example of converting Excel spreadsheet to Google Sheets.
3. Now select the next option based on the type of file
- Google Docs for Word Document
- Google Sheets for Excel Sheet
- Google Slides for PowerPoint presentation
4. Once the file opens in a new tab, click on the File menu and select Save as Google Sheets/Google Docs/Google Slides based on your file type.
5. Your file is converted and launched in the Google Docs version of your Word document, Spreadsheet, or Powerpoint.
Method 4 – Delete Old and Irrelevant Items from the Drive
1. Open Drive using your browser.
2. In the Search in Drive box at the top, you can search for Photos & images, videos, PDFs, Documents, Spreadsheets, and Presentations.
3. When you select an item in the list, you can see the item details (file size and last modification date) in the Details pane on the right side.
4. You can select an item and click on Delete (trash icon).
5. To know the items that are using the storage follow the steps below:
- Click on the Settings icon at the top.
- Now select Settings in the menu list.
- In the new window, go to the General tab and click on View items taking up storage to see the list of items that are the main cause for reducing your storage space.
6. If you want to remove files in this list from the drive, select it and click on Remove (bin icon) at the top. You can also select files in bulk and then remove them.
Method 5 – Clear the Google Drive Trash
Generally, the files that are deleted from Google Drive are stored in the Bin for 30 days and use the storage space on your Drive. To obtain this space occupied by deleted files, the Drive’s Bin needs to be emptied.
1. Access Google Drive account.
2. On the left sidebar, click on Bin.
3. Click on the option Empty Bin on the right side to remove all the deleted items from Bin.
4. Click on Delete forever when prompted for confirmation.
Method 6 – Remove Android Apps Data From Your Account
If your Android apps are connected to the Drive account then there will always be some app data that is stored in Google Drive without your knowledge. Usually, this data is hidden but you can delete it from your account using the steps below:
1. In your Google Drive account, click on the Settings (gear icon) at the top.
2. Select Settings in the list that appears.
3. In the Settings window, go to Manage Apps on the left side. Now you will be able to see a list of your apps connected to Google Drive on the right side.
4. For any app you feel is using the storage, click on Options and select Delete hidden app data.
5. Click on the Delete button when asked for a confirmation to continue with the deletion of app data.
Thanks for reading.
Using the optimization methods listed you must have been able to free up a good amount of space on your Drive so that new uploads can be done. This will also keep you away from having to pay for extra storage. Comment and let us know whether you were able to maximize your Google Drive storage using the tips in this article.
A software engineer turned into an educator with vast teaching experience in universities. Currently working towards my passion for writing.