How to Check Your Gmail Storage Quota

Make sure you don't go over your limit

Full mailbox with no room for any additional mail.
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With its free account option, Google allows users to store up to 15 GB of data. That amount may seem generous, but it includes your Gmail messages as well as the documents you store on Google Drive. If you exceed the limit, Google can cut off your ability to send and receive email, so it's smart to know how much of it you're already using.

What Counts Toward the Quota?

Gmail messages count toward the quota. Keep in mind that, while the messages themselves typically have small data footprints, they may also include attachments, which are often much larger. In addition, emails tend to accumulate over time, so all those little bits add up.

Google makes it easier to archive than to delete emails, so messages you think you deleted might actually be archived, and still using up space.

Everything in your Google Drive counts toward your 15 GB allotment. That goes for downloads, documents, spreadsheets, and all the other items you store there.

The one exception to the storage limit is Google Photos. Photos you upload without compressing don't count toward the limit, which is fortunate, because they would use up your space very quickly.

Check Your Gmail Storage Usage

Follow these steps to find out how much storage space your Gmail emails (and their attachments) occupy and how much space you have left.

  1. Navigate to the Google Drive storage page.

  2. If you're logged into your Google account, you should see a chart that shows how much space you've used (in blue/red) and how much space is available (in gray).

    Storage usage website with Gmail total

You also can get a quick idea of how much space remains directly from your Gmail account:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of any page on Gmail.

  2. Look toward the left to find the current online storage usage.

    Gmail storage status message on main Gmail web page

What Happens If the Gmail Storage Limit Is Reached?

As soon as your account reaches a critical size, Gmail displays a warning in your inbox. After three months of being over quota, your Gmail account displays this message:

You can’t send or receive emails because you’re out of storage space.

You'll still be able to access all messages in your account, but you won't be able to send or receive new emails using the account. To resume normal functionality, you'll have to whittle down your Google Drive account to below the storage quota.

You might not receive an error message when accessing the account through IMAP, and you might still be able to send messages via SMTP (from an email program). That's because using email this way stores the messages locally (on your computer), rather than exclusively on Google's servers.

People who send emails to your Gmail address while the account is over quota receive an error message that says something like:

The email account you are trying to reach has exceeded its quota.

The sender's email service usually continues trying to deliver the message every few hours for a predetermined amount of time that's specific to the email provider. If you reduce the amount of storage you're consuming so that it's again within Google quota limits during that time, the message is eventually delivered. If not, the mail server gives up and bounces the email. The sender receives this message:

The message could not be delivered because the account you are trying to reach has exceeded its storage quota.

If Your Storage Space Is Running Out

If you risk running out of space in your Gmail account soon (that is, you only have a few megabytes of storage left), you can do one of two things

  1. Acquire more space.
  2. Reduce the amount of data in your account.

To acquire more space, you can purchase up to 30 TB more from Google to share between Gmail and Google Drive. If you decide instead to free up space, try these strategies:

  1. Empty Trash now in Gmail
  2. Empty the Google Drive Trash, too:

    1. Open Google Drive.
    2. In the left rail, select Trash.
    3. Near the top of the screen, select Trash > Empty trash.
    Empty trash in Google Drive
  3. Delete big and unnecessary messages in Gmail, or archive them to another email account or locally to a computer.

    • Use the search operator "has:attachment" to show all emails that have files attached. From there, delete those you no longer want.
    • Use a service like Find Big Mail to discover the largest emails in your Gmail account so you can delete them.
    • Another option is to set up Gmail as an IMAP account in another email program (such as MacOS Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird) that lets you search by message size. Then move the biggest emails to an archive, on that other email account or in that mail program's local folders.

    Truly deleting messages from your Gmail account is a two-step process. Pressing Delete on a batch of messages puts them in your Trash folder; make sure you empty it afterward.

  4. After following the steps above, you should have a great deal more storage space.