Tips for Cleaning Up Your U-M Google Account


U-M Google, Drive, Photos, Mail


Strategies and tips for reducing storage in your U-M Google account (Mail, Drive, and Photos)


General tips

  • You can view the breakdown of your storage usage across Drive, Mail, and Photos while signed in to your U-M Google account. Hovering your mouse over the blue, yellow, and red sections of the bar will display the storage usage of Drive, Photos, and Mail, respectively. (More information on checking your Google storage.)
  • The contents of the Trash in Google Drive and Mail will continue to count toward your storage usage. You need to ensure you are emptying the Trash when you are certain you no longer need to review deleted data. It may take several attempts to empty the Trash to remove all items successfully. (Google may only delete a few thousand or fewer items at a time, depending on size. Unfortunately, this is a Google issue.) (More information on how to delete items from trash in Drive, Gmail, and Photos.)
  • When deleting large quantities of data from your account, it may take hours or several days for Google to accurately update the amount of storage used in your account. 
  • Cleaning up your U-M Google account storage is more easily accomplished using a web browser on a computer rather than a mobile device.


  • Selecting the All Mail label in the left navigation of Gmail will allow you to see the total number of emails stored in your account, including received, sent, and filtered messages outside of the inbox.
  • The total number will be displayed in the top right of the email list (e.g., 1-50 of 12,345 -- 12,345 would be the total number). This can help you benchmark how much email you must delete before observing a significant change in storage usage.
  • Using search modifiers is more efficient than deleting pages worth of emails or emails individually.
  • Refer to Clean Up Your Google Mail for thorough details and steps on using search modifiers, bulk selecting/deleting, and emptying your Trash.

Google Drive

  • You can find all the files and folders you own in Google Drive by using the search function. More details on how to search for files/folders you own.
  • The Storage section in the left navigation will show your current storage usage across your account, as well as a list of files sorted by the amount of storage space used (Under "Files using Drive Storage").
    • This list may include files that are not in your My Drive.
    • Items shared with you do not consume your U-M Google storage but the storage of the item's owner.
  • Bulk deletion of items in the same folder or location can be performed by clicking and dragging your cursor over multiple files to select them. Alternatively, hold the CTRL/CMD key and click the files to select OR click the first file, hold the SHIFT key, and click another file to select multiple files in a row.
    • Click the trash can icon at the top of the file list to bulk delete them.
  • Refer to Clean Up Your Google Drive for thorough details and steps on using search modifiers, bulk selecting/deleting, emptying your Trash, and transferring ownership of data.
    • Although Google shared drives don't count toward your individual account storage, they do count against the shared drive's storage.

Google Photos

  • If you have a personal (non-UM) Google account with enough storage to accommodate your U-M Google Photos data, the Partner Sharing feature may be the easiest method of migrating your photos/videos out of your U-M Google account. More information and detailed steps on how to use Partner Sharing.
  • When the Google Photos app is installed on a mobile device, it will attempt to sync photos taken with the camera to a Google account associated with the device. You can check how this is configured for an account directly from the Google Photos app on the device. More information on checking and disconnecting your U-M account.
  • Refer to Clean Up Your Google Photos for thorough details and steps on bulk selecting/deleting, emptying your Trash, transferring your photos/videos to a different account, and turning off mobile backup.
    • Bulk deletion options are very limited in Google Photos. The documentation linked above provides instructions on how to bulk select and delete photos and videos.

Additional Information

Additional details can be located at Tips for Cleaning Up Your U-M Google Account.

Need additional information or assistance? Contact the ITS Service Center.

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Article ID: 11892
Tue 4/2/24 1:18 PM
Thu 4/4/24 1:59 PM

Related Articles (2)

This article provides information on how to check your storage usage/limit in U-M Google for both individual accounts and shared drives.
This article provides information on emptying the Trash in Google to update the current storage usage displayed.