Recover GBs of space on Google Drive with a few mouse clicks

Get more out of Google Drive and Google Photos

Google is very generous with the online storage space that you get for free, but it will not last forever and sooner or later Google Drive will be full. What then? Here’s a way to get more free space.

You could always buy more space of course. If you hover the mouse over the the storage indicator at the left side of Google Drive, a box pops up to display the storage usage. Here you can see I have used 13 GB of 19 GB and that Drive uses 11 GB, and Gmail and Google Photos are 1 GB each.

Check the space usage on Google Drive and see if you are running short

(You get 15 GB of storage space, but sometimes Google does special promotions and offers ways to earn extra, so I have 19 GB.)

There is no need for me to panic yet because there are still several gigabytes of free space, but let’s suppose you are running short and there isn’t much space left. Have you tried emptying the bin?

Buy more online storage space

Click the Upgrade storage link and you will see some special offers.

Add more storage to Google Drive when you are running short of space

The next step up is 100 GB and there is a 1 TB option for those people that need even more space.

However, you can get a few more gigabytes of space for nothing if you use Google to store your photos. The Photos app on Android phones and the iPhone uploads your snapshots and stores them online.

More Google goodies: You'll be amazed what Google can find in your photos
More Google goodies: Search Google Drive faster and better

Go to Google Photos settings

Go to photos.google.com to view your photos and click the hamburger menu button.

Access Google Photos on the web using Chrome

A panel opens on the left and down near the bottom is Settings. Click it.

Open the panel on the left in Google Photos

Google Photos settings

There are two options:

Google Photos settings and options

High quality - Photos under 16 megapixels are stored as high quality JPEG images and storage space is unlimited. This is the best option for most people. Photos 16 megapixels and over are reduced to 16 megapixels.

Original - The original photo is stored exactly as it was taken. This is best for professions and keen amateur photographers. Any size photo can be stored, but every photo takes up space on Google Drive and you will run out of space faster.

There is a button to RECOVER STORAGE. What does that do? Click it and see!

Free up storage space

Compress photos and videos on Google Photos to free up storage space

Google Photos will compress photos and videos very slightly to reduce the storage space used. Any photos over 16 megapixels are resized to 16 megapixels.

Most people will not notice any difference in quality, but gigabytes of space can be recovered. In my case I would recover 1.3 GB of space if I click the COMPRESS button. That’s a lot of space when you are running out.

The photos that are compressed are those uploaded by the Photos app on your Android phone or iPhone. Photos uploaded using the Google Drive app are not affected.

This means you have the choice whether to compress photos or not, depending on how you upload them.

I still have a few gigabytes to go before I need to make the decision whether to buy more storage space or compress my photos. Have you checked your own storage space? How much space can you save? Take a look and click CANCEL if you don’t need to or don’t want to compress your photos.

One last thought, if you are having Google Drive sync problems, there is help here.


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