7 Ways to Free Up Storage Space on Google Photos

Discover practical ways to free up Google Photos storage, ensuring your precious memories are backed up efficiently.

By Abhishek Chandel
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7 Ways to Free Up Storage Space on Google Photos

7 Ways to Free Up Storage Space on Google Photos

Google Photos is an incredibly helpful service for backing up all your phone's images and videos. But as those collections grow larger over years of use, you may suddenly get a notification that you've used up your free 15GB of cloud storage. Luckily, there are many techniques you can try to open up storage capacity again. This article will provide detailed directions to put several space-freeing methods into action.

Method 1: Delete Burry or Unwanted Photos

Clearing out photos you don't actually want to be backed up is the fastest way to create space. Here's how to get started:

  1. Open the Google Photos app and view the photo grid. Scan for any obvious unwanted photos, like accidental screenshots or blurred images, and delete those right away.

  2. Next, use the search bar to find types of photos to delete in bulk. Try searching for "screenshots", "documents", "large", or "videos" if you only want to keep photos backed up. Delete entire batches at once.

  3. Switch to the Library view rather than the Grid view for better sorting options. Scroll through the folders like Screenshots, Recently Added, Archive, Large Files, etc. Delete entire folders you don't need.

Deleting even a hundred forgotten screenshots or accidental captures can already free up several GB of capacity!

Method 2: Download Favorites to Devices

For your most cherished photos that you want to keep access to, downloading them prevents needing to store everything in the cloud automatically.

  1. In Google Photos, search or filter to find your absolute favorite people, places, holidays, or time periods you've captured.

  2. Tap the photo menu button (3 vertical dots) and choose "Download" to save an individual file to device storage rather than the cloud storage.

By keeping special photos and albums stored directly on your phone, computer, or external drive, you take up zero cloud storage while still preserving the pictures.

Method 3: Enable Storage Saver Setting

Using Google Photos' built-in storage saver compression is a handy option to shrink the size of newly added files.

  1. Open the Google Photos app and tap your profile icon.

  2. Select Photos Settings.

  3. Tap on Backup.

  4. Go to Backup quality & select the Storage saver.

With this setting enabled, any new photos or videos backed up from your devices will be compressed to take up less storage room in your cloud storage. The quality is reduced a bit, but file sizes are minimized significantly.

Method 4: Empty Trash Frequently

When you delete photos in Google Photos, they sit in the Trash folder for 60 days before being removed permanently. Make sure you manually clear out this trash regularly:

  1. Open Google Photos and view the Library tab.

  2. Look for the Trash folder and tap into it.

  3. Tap on the 3 dots at the upper right corner & Select "Empty trash" to wipe all contents.

Doing this monthly prevents deleted files from continuing to occupy your valued cloud storage.

Method 5: Use External Backup Drives


For another layer of photo backup beyond the Google Photos cloud, external storage devices provide sizable capacities to offload files.

There are desktop hard drives, wireless flash drives, and NAS (Network Attached Storage) options available from brands like Western Digital, SanDisk, Seagate, and more. Many provide 1TB+ in storage space to save photo and video backups without relying solely on cloud accounts.

Once you invest in reliable external drives with massive room to grow into, you can configure Google Photos to automatically back up to local disk in addition to the cloud. Then you're covered with multiple secure copies of all precious memories.

Method 6: Upgrade to Google One for More Cloud Storage

If you find yourself constantly battling storage limits in Google Photos and don't want to depend only on external device backups, upgrading to a Google One membership includes sizable cloud capacity.

Google One works across Google services like Drive and Gmail too. Here are the storage allotments with each plan:

  • 100 GB - $1.99 per month

  • 200 GB - $2.99 per month

  • 2 TB - $9.99 per month

To upgrade:

  1. Open the Google One app or visit one.google.com.

  2. Select one of the upgraded plans with more storage allotted.

  3. Enter your payment method and subscribe.

The expanded Google Photos (plus other Google apps) storage will be applied instantly after subscribing. No need to move or manage files; the capacity limit is simply increased on your account.

Method 7: Selectively Toggle Off App Photo Backups

Dive into the backup settings to disable uploads from specific camera folders and apps you may not necessarily need to be archived online constantly. Sweeping through and pruning these integrated backup sources prevents expending cloud storage on non-precious content.


With Google Photos being so integral for backing up our precious memories, hitting storage limits can be alarming. Luckily this issue can be mitigated through various methods like deleting unwanted images, downloading favorites, adjusting quality settings, leveraging external drives, or upgrading cloud capacity limits. Strategically adopting just a couple targeted techniques here can easily open up many extra years of vital Google Photos space.

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