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5 Great Ways to Clean Up Your Google Drive

Cloud Data

Google Drive is one of the most popular Cloud storage and collaboration tools in the world, loved by home users and professional teams alike. With apps for all operating systems, flexible privacy and security settings, and lots of teamwork options, it's not surprising why this Google service is so popular. Drive also offers a fair amount of storage space for free - 15GB.

However, these days we've become so accustomed to nearly unlimited storage modern hard drives provide, we don't realize that 15GB is actually not a lot. If you don't pay attention to what you add to Google Drive, your free space can get filled up pretty quickly. The solution is to avoid cluttering your Drive storage in the first place and clean it up regularly. In this article, we're going to share with you some great ways to clean up your Google Drive.

1. Remove Old Files

The first step towards a clean and organized Google Drive is getting rid of the files you don't need anymore. These can be anything, from PDFs you downloaded in the past to photos you've added to the Drive before Google released its Photos app.

Here's how you can find your oldest files quickly:

  1. Open Google Drive and click on the “Last modified” column to sort all files by date
  2. Click on the “Reverse selection” arrow to show your oldest files first
    Sort View
  3. Your subfolders will be shown first. Scroll down to get to the old files that are located in the Drive’s root folder.
  4. Review the files and delete the ones you no longer need.

2. Move Photos from Drive to Google Photos

If you’re still using Google Drive for keeping your photos, it’s time to move them to Google Photos instead. Unlike Drive, Photos offer unlimited space for your content provided you’re not storing photos and videos in full resolution (original quality). Moving your photos from Drive can help you recover a great deal of space.


If you want to make sure you’re using the free storage option on Google Photos, go to Google Photos Settings and select “High quality (free unlimited storage)”.

3. Empty Google Drive Trash

Did you know that when you delete a file from Google Drive, it’s put in Trash first and stays there until you empty the trash can? I bet you didn’t. Another thing you probably didn’t know is that files in your Drive trash count towards your storage quota. This means that emptying Google Drive trash will help you to recover space. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on the Trash item in the left sidebar
  2. Click on the arrow next to “Trash” and select “Empty trash”
    Empty Trash
  3. Confirm deletion 

4. Delete Duplicate Files from Google Drive

Duplicate files are the bane of every computer - they take up disk space while you don’t know they’re there, make the files you need hard to find, and create versioning mayhem. The same applies to your Google Drive - duplicate files eat away that precious free storage space! Deleting them will not only help you to clean up your Drive, but also help you stay organized and more productive if you use Google Drive for collaboration.

The easiest way to remove duplicate files from Google Drive is to use Easy Duplicate Finder. Check out this page to see how to do it.

5. Delete Hidden App Data from Google Drive

Some apps store hidden data on your Google Drive. Depending on your setup, the amount of that data could be a huge space hog. Luckily, it’s easy to remove:

  1. On your computer, go to Google Drive
  2. Click on the Settings icon and then on “Settings”
  3. On the left, click on “Manage apps”
  4. If there's any hidden data, you’ll see how much space it’s taking up under the app's description. If there isn’t - good for you!
  5. If you see that an app is using lots of storage by storing hidden data, click “Options” and then “Delete hidden app data” to delete the data
    Manage Apps

Follow these tips and you’ll see how your Google Drive will become cleaner, more organized, and you’ll recover lots of that valuable storage space you get from Google for free!