Have you gotten a warning that your Google Drive storage is almost full? If so, it’s time to identify files that take up a lot of room, decide which ones you can delete to free up space, and maybe block people from sharing files with you in the future.
The process for freeing up space in Google Drive is basically the same whether you have a personal or organizational Google Workspace account. The details of what you see and what options you have vary only slightly, with one big difference. Personal account holders can use a tool from One Google to help them identify large files. Either way, the real meat of the process is finding files you don’t need and deleting them—from your Drive and then from the Trash, too. Files in the Trash count against your storage, so don’t forget to clear them out.
Your only other option is to pay for more space, which starts at a very reasonable $19.99 per year for 100GB. The latest upgrade options point you to Google One, which adds a few perks beyond storage, such as phone backups and expanded support.
First, Assess Your File-Removal Options
Before you purge all kinds of files from Google Drive, consider what exactly you want to do with them. For example, you might be able to delete old files, full stop. They’re old, they’re useless, just delete them, right?
Maybe. But for some files, you might instead download them first and save a copy elsewhere, like on your hard drive, a backup drive (whether an external drive or an online backup system), or a different cloud storage service. Once you save another copy, then you can delete them from Google Drive. This option is only workable if you have a lot of space available somewhere else.
You could download files to your hard drive, compress them into a ZIP file, delete the originals from Google Drive, and then upload the ZIP file to Google Drive. Let me emphasize “could” and add that I do not recommend this trick because it’s highly inconvenient and only marginally effective at freeing up space. But you could do it.