Send Files (Up to 10 GB) With Gmail Using Google Drive

Gmail and Google Drive logos
Google Inc.
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Emailing large files is usually not possible through a standard file attachment. One way to bypass the file size limit of your email provider is to send the big file as a link that the recipient can download from the cloudGoogle Drive and Gmail are the perfect duo for this.

To send large files (up to 10 GB in size) through Gmail via Google Drive is as easy as uploading the file to your Google Drive account and then sending it as a shared URL. The process is similar, but not exactly the same as sending a regular file attachment in Gmail.

These directions apply to Gmail on computers, phones, and tablets. However, the process looks quite a bit different on mobile devices, so be sure to take note of which set of instructions you're following.

There are many other ways to email big files if you don't use Gmail or Google Drive. Cloud storage services and online backup services that support file sharing usually let you send really large files. There are also P2P file sharing techniques that usually have no file size cap.

How to Send Large Files Through Gmail Using Google Drive

There are two ways to use Google Drive to email really big files. If you already have the file uploaded to Google Drive, you can select it while you're composing the email. Or, if the file is still on your computer, you can upload it to Google Drive and send it all in one motion.

From a Computer

  1. When composing the email from the Gmail website, select the Google Drive button from the bottom toolbar.

    Google Drive icon in Gmail New Message
  2. At this point, you can send the large file by choosing it from your Google Drive account (if it's already uploaded there) or upload it now.

    To upload the file right now, go into the Upload tab and choose Select files from your device.

    Drag files here or Select files fromyour device dialog in Google Drive via Gmail

    You can upload more than one file at once by selecting all of them at the same time. Or, after you upload the first file, choose Add more files to choose others to send.

    If you're choosing a file that's already stored in your Google Drive account, find it in one of the other tabs: My Drive, Shared With Me, or Recent.

    Insert button on My Drive interface for Google Drive through Gmail
  3. Select Upload, or Insert if you're selecting existing files.

    Upload button in Gmail's Google Drive interface

From a Mobile Device

Use these steps to send large files via Gmail on your Android device:

  1. When composing the email, select the attachment icon (the paperclip), and choose Insert from Drive.

  2. Browse or search for the file you want to send through Gmail from Google Drive.

  3. Choose SELECT.

  4. Finish composing the email if you need to, then hit the send button.

    Gmail and Google Drive screens on Android

If you're using the Gmail app on an iOS device, do this:

These steps apply to the Gmail app for iOS devices, not the built-in email client called Mail. The process for attaching files in the Mail app is different.

  1. Open the message you're replying to or forwarding, or start a new one, and then tap the paperclip/attachment icon at the top of the screen.

  2. Scroll down to the Drive section and select the file you want to send via Gmail. Tapping the arrow lets you search and browse for files.

  3. When you're done writing the email, use the send button to email the large file via Google Drive.

    Gmail and Google Drive screens on an iPhone

How to Share File Access, Too

If the file you're sending already has share permissions in Google Drive, but the people you're sending it to don't currently have any permissions to access the file, you'll be given a few options after you hit Send.

Someone needs access to the file prompt in Gmail
  • Share: Select the first drop down box next to Share with <#> person to give the recipients view, comment, or edit access.
  • Turn on link sharing: Link sharing permits view access only and doesn't let the recipients re-share the file.
  • Don't share: Choosing Don't give access at the bottom of the prompt will send the Google Drive file(s) but won't give the recipients any access. You can always provide an access level later.