Google Drive is an online file storage solution from Google. It allows you to cloud store files, share files, and to collaborate. Everyone gets 15GB of storage space on Google Drive free. But, many people find that their free 15GB of storage space soon gets used up.
You can upgrade your storage allowance by upgrading to a premium plan. Plans currently start at 1.99 per month for 100GB. 10TB will cost you $99.99 per month.
Google Drive prices are lower than many of its competitors. Dropbox, for example, charges $9.99 per month for 100GB. However, there are ways that you can save space to stay within the free 15GB, and there are ways to get more free space with Google Drive.
Here’s how to maximize the free space that you can get from Google Drive.
Making the Most of Your Free 15GB
If you are starting to run low on your free 15GB of Google Drive space, there are several things that you can do free up some space.
The first step is to find out how the space is being used and removing any large files that you don’t need.
Finding and Removing large Files
If you go to https://drive.google.com/#quota in your browser and log into your Google account, you will see a list of your files listed with the largest files at the top. Move any files that you no longer need to the trash. Then, empty the trash.
Remember, though, that once files have been removed from the trash, they are very hard to recover.
Look for Large Attachments in Gmail
If you are using Gmail, that will be using up some of your Google Drive data allowance. Large mail attachments could be what is eating up space.
You can perform a search in Gmail that will find large attachments for you. You’ll find details of how to search Gmail by attachment size here.
Delete any emails with large attachments that you don’t need. Then, empty your Gmail trash.
Change the Format of Your Photos
High quality photos are stored for free by Google. It’s only the original quality uploads that take up the space. Change the settings on your Google photos to save images in high quality format, and that will save you a lot of space.
If you are using the Google Photos app on a mobile device, you will find the “upload size” setting under the backup & Sync option in the three-line menu on the top left of the screen.
Change File Formats to Google File Formats
Files that are saved in Google formats don’t use up any Google Drive space. For example, if you save PowerPoint presentations as Google Slides, it will use up zero space.
Likewise, you could convert all your MS Word docs to Google docs. You can do this by changing the settings of your Google account to “Convert uploaded files to Google Docs editor format”.
Students Can Get Google Drive Storage Free
Students and staff of schools and colleges that have signed up for an Edu GSuite domain can get unlimited space on Google Drive free.
If you are a student and your college hasn’t offered this to you, ask them why! Be aware, though, that once you graduate, you will lose your entitlement to free space.
Look Out for Google Special Promotions
Sometimes, Google offers free storage space in return for completing certain tasks for them. In the past, for example, they offered free 2GB of space for completing a security check.
Perks like this aren’t all that common, but it’s worth doing a search every so often to see if there are any current Google offers like this.
Become a Google Local Guide and Get a Free Google Drive Upgrade
If you have the time to help Google make Google Maps better, you could earn yourself a free Google Drive upgrade. Google offers free perks to people who contribute to Google Maps.
When you add reviews, pictures, and you add new venues, you are awarded points for each quality addition that you make.
To add content to Google Maps, you need to become a local Google Guide. Signing up for that with your Google account is easy. You simply need to login to Google Local Guides with your Google login and confirm the town that you live in.
The easiest way to earn points is to write reviews of venues in your town. You get one point for posting a review. You also get points for correcting information, uploading pictures, and answering questions. You get other incentives to reach level four as well.
For example, Google has given away free subscriptions to third party online services as a reward. You may also be given the opportunity to test new Google software before it is released to the public.
Look for Products That Include Free Google Drive Upgrades
Google gives away free Google Drive space with Chromebooks. Recently, Google has been offering two years free 1TB of storage, which is worth $240.
That’s the same amount as you would pay for a low-spec Chromebook. Some phones and other devices also include free Google Drive space.
So, if you really love storing your files on Google Drive, look out for devices that include free storage space.
If you are someone who likes to leave reviews of places you visit, joining Google local guides could earn you free storage space. If you are a student, you are entitled to unlimited Google Drive space. However, both these options are time limited.
So, the simplest way for most people to get more free space on Google Drive is to save all your files in Google formats. A few simple changes to your default settings in Google and most of your files will be saved in formats that don’t use up space.
That, along with a bit of good housekeeping on large files and large Gmail attachments, should keep most people within the free 15GB limit.
Want to know the best free alternatives to Dropbox?
We did a post recently on the 12 best alternatives to Dropbox, where we show you the free cloud storage sites that are better than Dropbox.