Skip to Content
© Alexey Boldin | Dreamstime.com
How-tos

Gmail storage suddenly full? This could be the reason why

Google used to provide people with unlimited photo storage. Millions took advantage of this and used it as their primary photo repository. But Google threw a curveball when it announced some changes to how Google Photos storage works.

Now that Google Photos no longer offers unlimited storage, each photo that you upload counts toward the 15GB limit that comes with every Google account.

You might think storing photos is your biggest drain to your storage limit. But is it? One place that you may be overlooking is Gmail. You might be surprised to find out just how much space some emails can eat up. Keep reading for the clever solution.

Here’s the backstory

How long have you had your Gmail account? One year? Five years? Or were you one of the first Gmail users when it originated all the way back in 2004?

Now think about all the emails that you have saved over the years. Sure, you delete those spam emails and fliers from your favorite retailer, but what about the birthday wishes you received in 2016?

If you’ve become an email hoarder to the point it could be turned into a reality show, it’s time to start sorting things out. Plain-text emails are one thing but think about those that have huge files attached. Those are eating up tons of space.

It’s time to make changes, like creating more space by deleting large Gmail and Google Drive files. Or find a better solution that offers more privacy. More on that later.

How to clear space in your Google account

If you have tons of emails in your account, it might be difficult to find the most egregious offenders regarding file size. But there is a clever way to track them down. According to Google, here’s how:

  • In the Search box, type has:attachment larger:10M.
  • Click Search. Note: Replace “10” with a higher number to delete larger files.
  • Select the emails you don’t need, then click Delete.
  • On the left side of the page, click the three-line menu. Then Trash.
  • At the top, click Empty trash now.

Permanently delete emails in spam

  • On the left, click Spam. If you don’t see Spam, click More.
  • At the top, click Delete all spam messages now. Or, select specific emails, then click Delete forever.

Delete files by size in Google Drive

  1. Use a computer to see your files listed from largest to smallest.
  2. Put files you don’t want in your Trash, then permanently delete them.

Note: Within 24 hours, deleted items will show in the available space in your Google Drive account.

Move away from Google services

Just fed up with Google and Big Tech in general? You might want to think about moving away from Google for good. It’s going to be tough since so many apps and services make use of Google’s sign-in functionalities.

But you are not completely without options. You could keep your Gmail account active by logging in at least once a year but move your primary email account to a better option, like our sponsor StartMail.

With StartMail, you get unlimited aliases, they never read your emails and you can encrypt emails with one click. Tap or click for a 7-day free trial and get 50% off your first year at StartMail.com/Kim.

Keep reading

Have a Gmail account? Now you can access some of Google’s most useful tools

Do this now before your Gmail account is deleted

Komando Community background

Join the Komando Community!

Get even more digital know-how and entertainment within the Komando Community! Watch or listen to The Kim Komando Show on your schedule, read Kim's eBooks for free, and get answers in the Tech Forum.

Join Now