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How To Free Up Google Drive Space

Google Drive is one of the foremost cloud storage providers where you can save files that would otherwise be on your HDD. A free Google Drive account gives you 15 GB of storage, which is pretty good compared with some of the other alternatives. For more Google Drive storage space, a $1.99 monthly subscription is required. However, there are various ways you can preserve file space to ensure your GD cloud storage fills up more slowly.

How to Check Google Drive Storage

Firstly, check how much Google Drive storage you’ve used up by opening your GD account in web browser. Press the Upgrade storage button on the left of your account page to open the pie chart in the shot below. That shows you how much cloud storage you’ve used up in percentage terms.

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Then you can click View Details below the pie chart. That will open the small window below which shows you further storage details. The window highlights that the cloud storage is shared between Google Drive, Gmail and Photos. Thus, Gmail emails and images saved in Photos also hog GD storage space.

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Trim Image and Email Storage

As both images and emails can waste GD storage, you can free up quite a bit of space by deleting Gmail emails and reducing photo resolution. First, open Gmail and delete outdated emails. Enter ‘has:attachment’ in Gmail’s search box to search for and erase emails with attachments. Emails in trash also waste storage space, and you can erase those by selecting More > Trash and then clicking Empty Trash now.

You don’t need to delete images in Photos to free up GD storage space. Instead, open Google Photos and click the Main Menu button at the top left of the page. Select Settings to open the options shown in the snapshot directly below.

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There you can select a High quality (free unlimited storage) option. This effectively compresses images from their original resolution, but the compressed images don’t consume any Google Drive storage at all. So select that setting, and upload all your images to Photos instead of separately to Google Drive.

Empty Google Drive’s Trash

Deleted files accumulate in Google Drive’s Trash much the same as the Recycle Bin. So they still waste storage space until you’ve cleared the Trash. Click Trash on the left of the GD account page to check if there are any files there.

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Now you can right-click files there and select Delete forever to remove them. Alternatively, press the Trash button and select Empty Trash to fully empty it. If you press the Grid view button, you can check the file size of each deleted item in Trash.

Remove Google Drive apps

Google Drive storage isn’t just for documents and photos that you save to it. Additional apps also take up GD storage space. So disconnecting apps is another good way to free up GD storage space.

First, click the Settings button at the top right of your Google Drive page. Click Settings and select Manage Apps to open the window shown in the shot below. That window lists all your Google Drive apps. To remove apps, click their Options buttons and select Disconnect from Drive.

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Convert Your Documents to Google Formats

The great thing about Google Drive is that it enables users to edit files without needing to save them to Windows again. You can edit your spreadsheets, presentations and text documents within Google Drive, which converts them to Docs, Sheets and Slides formats. Those formats don’t take up any storage space at all!

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To edit a document in Google Drive, you can right-click it and select Open with. Then select the Google format for it from the submenu. For example, a spreadsheet would include a Google Sheets option. That will give you a second copy of the document that takes up no storage space, and you can delete all the original files to save space.

Compress PDF, Audio and Video Files

Compressing files is one of the best ways to free up storage space. PDF, audio and video files can take up lots of cloud storage space. As such, compress PDF, audio and video file formats before saving them to Google Drive.

There are lots of software packages to compress files with. To compress PDFs, check out 4dots Free PDF Compressor covered in this Tech Junkie guide [1]. You can compress videos with Format Factory, which is open-source software. Or check out MP3 Quality Modifier to cut your MP3s down to size.

There are also plenty of web tools that compress various file formats. For example, you can compress PDFs at the Smallpdf website [2]. This MP3 Smaller [3] page enables you to compress MP3s without extra software. That page also includes a hyperlink to VideoSmaller that compresses MP4 videos.

So you don’t need to delete lots of files in Google Drive to free up extra storage space. Compressing files, converting them to Google formats, selecting the High quality setting in Photos and removing apps can save loads of GD space.