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For the past 5 years, Google Photos users have been able to choose from 2 options when backing up their images: an original, full-quality backup that would detract from the storage volume available in their Google Account (what Google called Original), and another high-quality backup option – which included some image and video compression. But offered without any restriction. As mentioned, as of June 1, 2021, every new photo and video you upload to Google Photos will be deducted from your storage volume, even if you compress your photos and videos.
Google Photos is not a stand-alone service in terms of your storage volume, but is associated with the same main Google account and hence the entire storage volume available to you in Google Drive. Compared to Apple which continues to allegedly abuse its users and gives them only 5GB of storage, Google complies a bit more with 15GB, but just like at Apple, this storage will be used by you for all Google services wherever they are.
Whether it’s your personal photos in Photos, the backup of the wedding video you threw away in Drive, the root work you created in Docs or the piles of spam and unnecessary emails you collected in Gmail – all are deducted from those 15GB.
If you too are managing most of your digital life in one way or another in Google’s ecosystem, it’s likely that your storage volume has shrunk significantly over the last few years, and if it has not done so by now, you can be sure that the photos and videos you are used to. The simplest solution is of course to pay Google for expanding the storage volume in the Google One service, which is offered at prices of $3 – $10 per month and allows you to add up to 5 additional family members.
Step One: Google Drive
The first solution is to start thinking differently about your backups, and plan your free storage volume so that it lasts as long as possible. So in the first step, go to this link that will show you exactly how much space you have, how much space you are utilizing, and in what Google service you are doing it. Already at this point you can retire from the race that you will eventually lose, and upgrade your package.
We’ll start (and frankly end) the journey to free up your storage here. In this link you can see if there are emails or files that you have transferred to the recycle bin but have not yet deleted them completely, and more importantly – spam mail that takes up space for you for free. Below this section you can see photos, files and emails that came with heavy files and easily free up more space in your account. At the bottom of the page you will also find videos that you have uploaded to Google Photos but that the service does not support, and take up space for you.
Most likely the main culprit in blowing up your storage volume is Google Drive, and if you click on this link, you will get all the files stored in your account when sorted by volume. After you finish browsing the files and hoping to get rid of some, click on the gear, select Settings and then Manage Apps. Here you will find the entire application that you have connected to your Drive, and below some of them there may be a message about “Hidden app Data”. If you do not need this app, this is an opportunity to earn a few more megabytes. Hey, everything’s important.
Step two: Google Photos
After we finished cleaning the Drive, you can put your pictures in order. We will start with the Photos settings page where you can choose whether you want images to be uploaded in original and full quality or “High Quality”. If you click on High Quality again, you will receive an offer from Google to convert the backed up photos and videos to the high and economical quality of Google (if you have any), thus saving quite a bit of space. However, keep in mind that this process is irreversible and you will not be able to get your original quality photos and videos afterwards, so it’s worth creating a separate backup for them before you approve the process.
Unfortunately, Google does not currently allow Google Photos and videos to be sorted by volume, so you will need to start manually searching for the heaviest files yourself. We would start with the longest videos you can find. To do this, simply search for the word “Videos” in the search bar
Step 3: Gmail
For dessert, if you did not clear your Gmail in the previous steps, this is the time: Open your spam folder, and click on Delete all spam messages now (although all of these will be automatically deleted within 30 days), now click on the search box and type
has: attachment larger: 10M
You will now receive the list of emails that came with relatively large attachments (you can of course change the value). Yes, even the files sent to you are deducted from your storage volume, not just files that you have proactively uploaded. It’s time to go through the various emails, download the important attachments to your computer, and delete the cumbersome emails that take up valuable storage space.
After you have finished going through your emails, it is time to return to the starting point, empty the recycling bins, and here it is for you – a deep cleaning in your Google account. We wish you the best possible use of those 15 free gigas for as long as possible, but if not, the price Google is asking for the upgrade is not that outrageous – if we are honest.