February 8, 2017

What to do when you run out of storage with G Suite apps

Published: 8 February 2017 

The G Suite apps are a great alternative for workplaces to use instead of Microsoft Office. The G Suite includes the Google Drive, Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs and Calendar. These apps have many benefits, including allowing for multiple people to work on one document at once or invite people to tasks. It can keep people connected, no matter where in the world they are.     

Like everything online, the G Suite apps - such as Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos - have limits on its storage space. It can be very frustrating trying to use these apps to their full extent once your storage is full. You will be prevented from doing a multitude of tasks, including syncing or uploading folders on Google Drive, or even receiving emails.

If your storage is full and you’re wondering how this happened and what you can do now - don’t worry, we’ve got the answers for you.

What is G Suite’s storage limit?

Each G Suite user can store up to 30GB of content for free. This is shared between Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos.

What takes up storage space?

If you’ve hit your storage limit, you’re probably wondering what is taking up all that space. Items that take up storage space include:

  • Google Drive: Items in your “My Drive” take up storage space. This includes PDFs, images, videos, and even items in your Trash.
  • Gmail: All your emails and attachments, including those stored in Spam and Trash. Remember to empty your spam and trash folders to save on storage space. If you’re receiving a high quantity of large attachments, save these and delete the email.
  • Google Photos: If photos and videos are stored in “original” size, they will be taking up storage space. To save on storage, you can change the size of your photos.

Some apps may also store what is called “hidden data” in the Google Drive, taking up storage space. To find out if you’re storing hidden data, visit drive.google.com, click “Settings” under the cog on the top right-hand corner, and select Manage Apps. If you have any hidden data, this will be listed under the app.

What doesn’t take up storage space?

Fortunately, there are some things in the G Suite that don’t contribute to storage. This includes:

  • Google Drive: Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites and files in “shared with me.” These files take up space in the owner’s Google Drive.
  • Google Photos: Photos and videos stored in “high quality” size.  


What to do when you run out of storage for G Suite?

If your storage is full, there are a few actions you can take to manage your storage. You can clear space in your accounts by deleting files in Google Drive, deleting emails from Gmail, and deleting photographs from Google Photos. Another option is to buy additional storage from G Suite.

Option 1 - Clear space

The more cost-effective option is to try and manually clear space. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Google Drive: Delete any large files you no longer need. You can list your files from largest to smallest. Next, place unwanted items in the trash and permanently delete them. Remember they will still take up space if you leave these items in the trash. Within 24 hours, you will notice you have increased storage space.
  • Gmail: Search for your largest messages in Gmail. Click the checkbox next to the messages you want to delete, and select Trash. Then navigate to your Trash folder. Double check that you want to delete all these messages - once permanently deleted, you won’t be able to recover them. Once double checked, select the messages you want to delete, and hit Delete Forever. It’s important to note messages sitting in Trash will automatically be deleted after 30 days, and cannot be restored. Always make sure to check your Trash folder to avoid accidentally deleting an important document.
  • Google Photos: If you don’t want to delete unwanted photographs, you can store your photos and videos in “High Quality”, as this does not take up storage space. Also consider using resources such as YouTube to store videos.     

Option 2 - Buy storage

Source: itGenius

If you want to keep all your documents, your best option is to purchase more storage. Extra storage is available to be purchased on all G Suite apps. If you’re using G Suite Business or G Suite Education, unlimited storage is included, and extra storage is unable to be purchased.  

There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing extra storage:

  • This storage is only available to you: You can’t buy storage for others, share it, or transfer it to another account.
  • Data ownership: Documents stored within extra storage comes under the same ownership rules as the rest of your account. Google does not own your data. The same policies are in place for extra storage and your account.
  • Prevented from purchasing extra space: If you work for an organisation who has provided you with a G Suite account, the administrator may prevent you from purchasing or renewing extra storage. To purchase additional storage, make sure your administrator enables the “individual storage” service for your organisation.

You can let the storage expire or cancel your subscription, which will result in your storage going back to standard levels. You will be able to access any existing data, but will not be able to add any new data.

Purchased storage may take 24 hours to be added to your account.     

Now you know what takes up storage, what doesn’t and what you can do once your storage is full, you should be able to seamlessly manage your G Suite storage.

Ben Maden

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