It seems that the storage used by your photos isn’t the only data that Google will start to count. An update to the Google Support page shows that your Google Drive documents (not just uploaded .docx, pdf and other file extensions) such as docs, sheets, slides, forms and drawings will soon consume space as well.

That’s not the only change though as outlined by a post on the Google Blog page. From a business perspective, it makes sense since storage costs money and “4.3 million GB are added across Gmail, Drive and Photos every day”. This is particularly obvious when you look at the storage offerings, at a relatively low cost for Google One.

Understandably though, there will be many users upset by the changes that take effect as of June 1st, 2021.

We’re introducing new policies for consumer accounts that are either inactive or over their storage limit across Gmail, Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jamboard files) and/or Photos to better align with common practices across the industry.

So the upshot is that:

  • If you’re inactive in one or more of these services for two years (24 months), Google may delete the content in the product(s) in which you’re inactive.
  • Similarly, if you’re over your storage limit for two years, Google may delete your content across Gmail, Drive and Photos.

As it would cause a mass outcry if Google arbitrarily deleted user data, they have noted that users will be notified multiple times to either keep their account active or remove content to go under data allowance. Stay tuned as there may well be more to come in this space from Google; perhaps an incentive program to increase your free storage?

If you’re running close to the line in your Google account storage, what will your solution to losing a chunk of space be?

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This change in policy by Google makes for a very clear reason to demand devices with SD card support for local storage of data.


If you are nearing your storage quota a great solution to help reduce storage cost is Clean Drive. It will show how your Google Drive storage is being used. Then you can drill down to the files that may no longer be needed such as duplicate files, large files, empty files, certain file types, etc. This should help you move away from that Google storage line. 🙂 Full Disclosure: I am the creator of this app. I have not yet added the feature to scan Google Photos accounts (although it will find photos in Google Drive). With Google’s announcement I… Read more »