How to free up Google Photos storage


For years, many users have relied on Google’s free cloud storage to back up photos and videos. This changed in July 2021 when Google Account storage was limited to 15GB. Many users still rely on the free storage limit, but managing account storage with the 15GB limit can be tricky. Here are some helpful tips to free up storage space in Google Photos and back up all the photos and videos you want:

1. Disable Photo Backup for Messaging and Social Media Apps

When you enable automatic backup, Google Photos also backs up many unwanted media files. These media files come from folders of messaging apps like Instagram, WhatsApp or other media folders on your smartphone.

Most of the time, these images and videos are unwanted media files that you don’t want to store or save to the cloud. In this case, you can turn off backup for specific folders that you don’t want backed up to Google Photos. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Launch the Google Photos app on your Android device.
  2. Tap on your profile picture given in the top right corner.
  3. Press on Photo settings from the context menu.
  4. In the settings menu, tap Backup and sync.
  5. Faucet Back up device folders.
  6. Below Device foldersturn off backing up folders you don’t want backed up in Google Photos.

2. Delete unwanted screenshots

Most of us frequently take screenshots that lose their relevance over time. These screenshots are often saved on Google Photos along with other media files and take up unnecessary space. So deleting those unwanted screenshots is a good idea to free up space.

To get rid of these junk files, open Google Photos and type screenshots into the search bar. This will show all screenshots that are saved over time. You can browse all these screenshots and delete the ones you no longer need.

3. Remove Unsupported Media Formats

Google Photos supports saving various media file formats. They may be MKV videos, camera raw files, etc., which may not be in media format and take up unnecessary space.

The Google Photos app does not provide an option to locate and delete incompatible media files. You can only do this from the web.

  1. Go to the Google Photos website on your PC.
  2. Click on the settings icon given in the upper right corner.
  3. Click on Unsupported videos in the settings menu.

  4. Select all unsupported videos you want to delete on the following webpage.
    Free up space in the Google Photos app

4. Transfer large videos to local disk or hard drive

It’s next to impossible to store all your images and videos on Google Photos within the 15GB storage limit, so if you don’t want to buy additional storage, you’ll have to switch to another reliable alternative.

This alternative can be your local drive or external hard drive where you can store multiple media files without worrying about storage limit. So, switch to an external hard drive to transfer photos from your Android phone. Once you have backed up all your media files, delete them from Google Photos to free up space.

5. Delete media files and documents from Google Drive and Gmail

Anything stored on your Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos community adds to your Google Account’s 15GB storage limit. For example, making multiple WhatsApp backups to Google Drive can consume unnecessary storage space. So, if Google Photos is running out of space, deleting unwanted or unnecessary files from Google Drive can be a good idea. If you don’t want to delete specific files from your Google Drive, you can transfer them to your secondary account’s Google Drive without re-uploading everything.

You can also do the same for your Gmail account and delete old and irrelevant emails with large attachments. But before doing so, make sure to take a local backup of your Gmail account to avoid losing important emails.

6. Empty Trash in Google Photos

Anything you delete from Google Photos or Google Drive stays in the Trash for up to 60 days. For this reason, you may not see any visible increase in free space even after deleting media files. So, whenever you delete media files, empty the Recycle Bin to get a decent amount of free space. Follow the steps below to empty the Trash:

  1. Launch the Google Photos app.
  2. Faucet Library in the lower right corner.
  3. Faucet Trash can on the next screen.
  4. Faucet Select in the upper right corner.
  5. Select the media items you want to delete or tap Delete all to permanently delete all photos in the trash.

7. Remove large and blurry photos

When backing up photos from your camera, Google Photos often backs up blurry photos and screenshots. If you are running out of space, the Check and Delete option can help you get rid of those media files instantly to free up space.

The Review and Delete option separates large media files, blurry photos, and screenshots so you can review and delete them instantly. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open the Google Photos app.
  2. Tap your profile picture in the top right corner.
  3. In the pop-up menu, tap Account storage space almost full.
  4. Faucet Great photos and videos under the Revise and delete section.

  5. Select the media files you want to delete and tap the delete icon at the top right of the screen.
    Tips to free up space in Google Photos

You can do the same to get rid of blurry photos and screenshots immediately.

8. Transfer saved photos to a secondary account

You can create a secondary Google account and get an additional 15 GB of storage space without buying it from Google. Create a secondary Google account and transfer media files from your primary account to a secondary account. Once transferred, delete the media files from your primary account to free up space. Here’s how you can do it without taking a full backup:

  1. Open the Google Photos app.
  2. Faucet Library in the lower right corner of the screen.
  3. Open the album you want to transfer to your secondary account.
  4. Tap three vertical dots () at the top right of the screen.
  5. Press the To share context menu option.
  6. Add the email address you want to share the album to and tap Send on the next screen.
  7. Log in to the Google Photos app from your secondary account.
  8. Faucet Share from the set of options given at the bottom of the application.
  9. Below Scrapbooks and memoriestap the shared album.
  10. Open the shared album and select all photos.
  11. Tap the plus icon (+) shown at top right.
  12. Under Create, tap Album to create a new album in your sub account.
  13. Add a title for the album and tap the checkmark option to save all selected photos to your secondary account.
  14. Once registered, go to your main account and delete all uploaded photos.

9. Resize media files before taking backup

Whenever you save high quality photos or videos from your DSLR camera or smartphone, resizing them is essential. These large media files take up unnecessary space on your Google Drive which might otherwise be saved by uploading resized images. Thus, resize your DSLR and smartphone media files as long as they do not deteriorate in quality and help you save a substantial amount of space.

Optimize free space in Google Photos

These tips can help you free up storage space in Google Photos and save more media files without having to pay for additional storage. If you still think you need more storage from Google, you can create a secondary Google Account and start backing up your remaining media files. However, if you still need more storage space, you can always opt for Google’s paid storage plan.


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