Learn How to Get More Storage for Your Gmail Account

Find out what is—and isn't—taking up your Google storage space

How to get more storage in Gmail.
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As of 2018, every Google user receives 15GB of free online storage for use with Google Drive and Google Photos, but your Gmail account is tied in there, too. If you have a hard time deleting messages or frequently receive huge mail attachments, you could easily approach that 15GB limit. When this happens to you, Google is more than willing to sell you additional storage space on its servers. 

How to Buy More Storage for Your Gmail Account

To see how much Google storage you have left or to buy more storage, go to the Drive Storage screen of your Google account. Here's how:

  1. Go to Google.com and log in to your Google account.

  2. Click your image in the top right corner of the Google screen.

  3. Click the My Account button.

  4. In the Account Preferences section, click Your Google Drive storage.

  5. Click the arrow next to the line that says Using [XX]GB of 15GB in the storage section to open the Drive Storage screen.

  6. Review the paid plans Google offers. Plans are available for 100GB, 1TB, 2TB, 10TB, 20TB, and 30TB of space on Google servers.

  7. Click the price button on the storage plan you want to buy. 

  8. Select a payment method—credit card, debit card, or PayPal. If you pay for a year in advance, you save on the cost. You can also redeem any codes you have. 

  9. Enter your payment information and click Save.

The additional storage space you purchase is available immediately.

Items That Take Up Your Google Storage Space

One way to get additional storage is to delete what's already there. You might be surprised by what is taking up your storage space—and by what isn't.

  1. Google Drive: Most of the PDFs, images, and videos in your My Drive and the items in your Trash take up space. However, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Sites do not take up any of your storage space.

  2. Google Photos: Photos and videos stored using the Original size option take up a lot of space. You can change the size so that photos use less storage space.

  3. Gmail: All your messages and attachments, including the content of your Spam and Trash folders, take up space.

How to Free Up Storage Without Buying a Plan

If you feel that even Google's smallest paid plan is too much for your limited usage, take steps to free up space on your existing free 15GB plan. Remove unnecessary photos or other files from Google Photos and Google Drive. When you reduce the storage load in those areas, you have more room for Gmail messages. You can also delete unnecessary email messages to provide more room.

Deleting emails gives you the best results when you focus on getting rid of messages with large attachments or on messages that are old. Filter your email to see all emails that contain attachments and select the ones you can delete. Another approach is to remove old messages that you don't look at anymore. Specify a date using the "before" search operator to see all the emails prior to a certain date. You probably don't need those emails from 2012 anymore.

Don't forget to empty the Spam and Trash folders in Gmail, although Gmail deletes them for you every 30 days automatically.

Download Your Messages Elsewhere

If deleting emails, photos and files don't make much difference in your storage space, you have a few options to move some of your email elsewhere.

  • If you don't care much about having all your mail in one place, you can forward it to a different email service. When you do, be sure to choose an option that deletes the copy from your Gmail account.

  • Sign up for another Gmail account with 15GB storage and forward recent messages there. Then use your current address with the new account.

  • Download your mail to a desktop email program and remove it from the Gmail account. The messages remain, but instead of being online and taking up online storage space, you save them to your hard drive or an external hard drive, which probably has way more than 15GB of free space.