How to Free Up Space in Google Drive

It’s easy to run out of space on Google Drive, since it stores data across much of your Google account. Fortunately, it’s also easy to delete data and free up some storage. As you will see, I am running out of space. Let’s explore how to do this.

RAYMOND OGLESBY @RaymondOglesby2
August 10, 2021

It’s easy to run out of space on Google Drive, since it stores data across much of your Google account. Fortunately, it’s also easy to delete data and free up some storage. As you will see, I am running out of space. Let’s explore how to do this.

This is for devices using Google Drive. Screenshots are from Drive on Windows 10 PC

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If you use Google Drive to share large files, it’s quite easy to hit the 15GB free data limit on your Google account. While you can upgrade, for a price, it’s best to manually delete some data for more space first. After doing this, I upgraded to the 100GB plan, yet I am still out of space.

You will not need to spend hours combing through every nook and cranny in Google Drive. The website has a storage management feature that lists all your files, sorting them based on their file size.

First, open the Drive website in your browser.

You will see the Storage section at the bottom of the left sidebar. This will show you how much storage space you have left in your account. Now, click the Storage button. Refer to below image:

Drive 1
Your used Storage space

Next, you will see a list of all the large files in your account. Just click a file to select it. To select multiple files, hold the Command/Control key while selecting the file.

Now, to delete the file (or files), click the Remove button (the Trashcan icon) in the top toolbar. See below image:

Drive 2
Delete a file

Google Drive will remove the file and send it to the Trash.

If you want to find and open a folder where a particular file is saved (or find more files to delete), right-click and choose the Show File Location option. See following image:

Drive 3
Find more files

Next, you can select multiple files and use the Remove (Trashcan icon) in the toolbar to delete all the files at once. (You can use this method to delete entire folders as well.)

If you do not have a backup of the file that you are planning to delete, click the Download button in the right-click menu to download a copy of the file to your local storage. Refer to below image:

Drive 4
Download a file before deletion

Once you delete files like this, the files are no longer available in Google Drive, but you have not recovered any storage space yet. That’s because Google Drive does not actually delete the files for 30 days. So, if you change your mind, you have up to 30 days to recover the data.

If you want to reclaim the storage space, you will have to force Google Drive to permanently delete the data. To do this, go to the Trash or Bin section in the sidebar. See below image:

Drive 5
Accessing the Trash

Now, in the Trash, you will see a list of files that have yet to be deleted. To individually delete a file, right-click and choose the Delete Forever option. Or, click Empty Trash to delete all the files. See following image:

Drive 6
Delete your file(s)

Next, in the pop-up that appears, confirm using the Delete Forever button. Refer to below image:

Drive 7
Confirm to delete the file(s) forever

Now, all the files will be deleted. Once you reload the page, you will see that the storage space has been recovered.

Quote For the Day

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Stephen Hawking

You now know how to clean up storage space on Google Drive. Please feel free to share this post! One way to share is via Twitter.

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The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong: Events and Aftermath

How to Protect Your Google Drive on iPhone and iPad

Storing important and or sensitive documents in Google Drive isn’t the most secure way to protect your data, but if you are, your iPhone and iPad can help keep everything safe. Let’s see how to protect this cloud storage mobile app using Face ID or Touch ID.

Your mobile device may already be setup to use Face ID or Touch ID. You may ask, why set this up for a particular app, the Google Drive? A friend may ask to see your device. What if they accessed your documents via Google Drive without your knowledge? There is nothing to stop them because you already unlocked your device. So, we are going to add another layer of protection. Of course, enabling two factor authentication for your Google account is the best way to keep prying eyes out of your cloud files.

Note! To follow this guide, you will need the Passcode for your device. The screenshots are for an iPhone.

This is for iPhone and iPad devices

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Open Google Drive

Start by opening the Google Drive app. Use Apple’s built-in Spotlight Search if you can’t find it on your Home screen. Refer to below image:

Google Drive Protect 1
Locating Google Drive app

Next, tap the Hamburger icon in upper left of the screen. See following image:

Google Drive Protect 2
The Hamburger icon

Open the Settings

From the slide out menu that appears, select the Settings option. See below image:

Google Drive Protect 3
Opening Settings

Next, tap on the Privacy Screen option. Refer to below image:

Google Drive Protect 4
Opening the Privacy Screen option

Set the Privacy Option

From here, toggle on the Privacy Screen option. See following image:

Google Drive Protect 5
Turning on the Privacy Screen option

Allow Permission

Now, your iPhone or iPad will display a pop-up box asking for permission to access Face ID or Touch ID. Tap the OK button to allow permission. Refer to below image:

Google Drive Protect 6
Allowing permission for Google Drive by Face ID

The next time you exit and reopen Google Drive, you will be presented a screen for your face or fingerprint to access your cloud storage.

Now that the Privacy Screen setting is enabled, you will see several new options to customize the feature further.

Set Privacy Screen Delay

By default, the Privacy Screen feature locks the Drive app the moment you lock your iPhone’s or iPad’s display or leave the app. If you want to add a time delay, tap on the option that corresponds to the Delay listing. See below image:

Google Drive Protect 10
Accessing Privacy Screen Delay options

You have four options to choose from:

  • Immediately (the default)
  • After 10 seconds
  • After 1 minute
  • After 10 minutes

Once you have checkmarked your selection, tap the Back arrow. By default, the Immediately option is selected and is the recommended setting. Refer to below image:

Google Drive Protect 11
Setting the Privacy Screen Delay option

Using the Passcode Method

You have the option of using your Passcode to protect your files instead of your Face ID or Touch ID. This feature offers a more secure method of accessing Google Drive.

To do this, let’s go back to the Privacy Screen settings menu, then tap the Open System Settings blue link. See following image:

Google Drive Protect 7
Opening System Settings to change access method

You are taken to the Drive’s section for your iPhone or iPad Settings menu. Here, just toggle off permission to use Face ID or Touch ID. See below image:

Google Drive Protect 8
Turning off Face ID permission

Now, the next time you open the Google Drive app,you will be required to enter your device’s lock screen Passcode. Refer to below image:

Google Drive Protect 9
Entering your Passcode to access Google Drive

You have successfully locked your Google Drive app either using your Face ID/Touch ID or your Passcode. That’s it.

I Would Like to Hear From You

Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love hearing from you. Do you have a computer or smart device tech question? I will do my best to answer your inquiry. Please mention the device, app and version that you are using. To help us out, you can send screenshots of your data related to your question.

The author’s Vietnam eBook on the Battle for Tra Bong: Events and Aftermath

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