How to Check Your Gmail Storage Quota

Find out how much of your allotted space for keeping emails online you are already using in Gmail.

Small, But Big: The Emails in Your Gmail Account

Emails are small and sent fast. They are many, though, and they tend to accumulate over years, nay decades.

This is easily true for an email service such as Gmail that makes archiving an ever-present lure with easy means to organize and find messages later, say using labels or search.

Let us not forget the big emails—those that contain attached files—, and online storage for emails can run in short supply.

Know Your Gmail Email Storage Quota

Google gives you 15 GB free to use for each Gmail account—but not for Gmail alone: the allotment of online storage is shared with your Google Drive and Photos data.

It is, therefore, realistically possible to run out of space for further emails. You need not guess, though, just how realistic the possibility is right now; you can find out.

Check Your Gmail Storage Quota

To find out how much storage space your Gmail emails (and attachments) occupy, and how much space you have left:

  1. Visit the Google Drive storage page.
  2. Position the mouse cursor over the used (yellow) part to see how much Gmail uses.

For a quick glance at how much space is left in your Google Drive (for everything including Gmail):

  1. Scroll to the bottom of any page on Gmail.
  2. Find the current online storage usage on the left.

    What Will Happen If The Gmail Storage Limit Is Reached?

    As soon as your account reaches a critical size, Gmail will display a warning in your inbox.

    After 3 months of being over quota, your Gmail account will freeze and stop processing emails. You can still access all messages in it, but

    • can no longer receive new emails and
    • can no longer send messages from the Gmail account

    until you have put your account within your Gmail storage quota again.

    The error message displayed in Gmail's web interface is You can’t send or receive emails because you’re out of storage space.. Note that you may not receive an error message when accessing the account through IMAP, and may still be able to send messages via SMTP (from an email program).

    What Will People Experience Who Try to Email Me While My Gmail Account is Over Quota?

    People who try to email your Gmail address while the account is over quota will get back an error message. Typically, it will say

    • ​the email account they are trying to reach has exceeded its quota.

    Email services then will usually

    • try to deliver the message again every few hours for a day.

    If you return the Gmail account to within its quota limits during that time, the message will eventually be delivered. After that day of re-trying, the mail server will give up and return to the sender

    • a final error message stating that the message could not be delivered because the account they are trying to reach has exceeded its storage quota.

    What Should I Do If My Gmail Account Approaches the Allotted Quota?

    If you risk running out of space in your Gmail account soon—say, with but a few MB of storage left—, you can essentially do one of two things: acquire more space or reduce the amount of data in your account:

    • You can purchase up to 29.985 TB more storage for your Google account, shared among Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos.
    • Make sure you have emptied the Spam and Trash labels in Gmail.
    • Make sure you have emptied the Google Drive Trash as well:
      1. Open Google Drive.
      2. Go to the Trash folder.
      3. Click Trash in the top toolbar.
      4. Select Empty trash from the menu that has appeared.
      5. Click Empty Trash.
    • Delete big and unnecessary messages in Gmail, possibly after archiving them to another email account or locally to a computer.
      • The search operator "has:attachment" will return all emails that have files attached in Gmail.
      • You can also use a service such as Find Big Mail to discover the largest emails in your Gmail account.
      • You can also set up Gmail as an IMAP account in an email program that lets you search by message size (such as OS X Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird, for example); you can then move the biggest emails to an archive, either on another email account also set up using IMAP or Exchange ActiveSync in the same program or in the program's local folders.
      • If you delete messages, make sure you do empty the Gmail Trash afterwards.

      (Updated February 2016)

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