Here is what happens when you run out of Google Storage space

As a Google customer, you do get 15 Gigabytes of storage space for free. The storage space is shared across several of Google’s products, including Google Mail (GMail), Google Photos and Google Drive. Customers who have been with Google for a long time may have received permanent extra storage in some occasions, but most are stuck with 15 Gigabytes.

It is not uncommon that Google customers use multiple company products, e.g. an Android smartphone or tablet and a Gmail account, which customers may create conveniently when they set up their Android devices.

On Android, photos may be synced with Google’s cloud storage; this is convenient, as it serves as a backup of sorts and makes photos and video accessible on other devices. It may also turn into a problem, as storage space may run out eventually if syncing is enabled.

Last year, Google announced that it would end free unlimited Google Photos storage on June 1, 2021 for nearly everyone. Up until then, uploads did not count against the Google storage quota under certain conditions. Only Google Pixel 1 to 5 device owners are exempt from this.

Photos and videos uploaded prior to June 1, 2021 don’t count towards the storage limit.

Storage may fill up quickly because of the changes, and this will have consequences for the entire account, not only for Google Photos storage.

Since storage is shared between multiple Google services, running out of storage impacts all of these services.

Here is what happens when you run out of storage in your Google account:

  • Gmail: you can’t send or receive messages anymore.
  • Google Drive: new files can’t be synced anymore, and new file uploads don’t work either. New files can’t be created.
  • Google Photos: new photos or videos are not synced anymore.

In other words: if you run out of storage, e.g. by syncing too many photos and videos, Gmail will be affected negatively.

15 Gigabytes of storage may sound like much, but it is not really that much if you use Google Photos a lot, e.g. by taking videos or photos on your Android device regularly and have sync enabled.

display google storage

Tip: you may visit Google’s Storage website to see how much space you have left. The page lists each Google Service and how much space it uses.

Here are your options to resolve issues caused by Google storage space hitting the limit:

  1. Remove photos, videos, files and other content from the Google products using the websites of these products, e.g. the Google Photos site. We recommend that you back up the files prior to deleting them, which you can do using Google’s Takeout tool.
  2. Subscribe to a storage plan to increase your storage; this is Google’s main motivation for making the storage changes.

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