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I'm unclear as to how "sharing your drive with a family member" works.

My wife and I both have free Gmail accounts. We are both maxed out close to 15GB each.

My question: If I purchase (say) a 200 GB plan, My understanding is that my limit for drive, photos and emails will increase from 15GB to 200GB and I won't have to do anything (apart from paying the bill).

Can I then share this with her, such that our combined holdings (my/her drive, photos, emails) have a limit of 200 GB? Is that how it works?

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To create a Google family and become a Family Manager, go to https://families.google.com . You need to add accounts there in order for them to be in your Google family.

The storage space a Family Manager has will be shared with the family members, so yes, your combined holdings will use up that storage space.

However, the storage that each individual family member has will be used up first. For example, if your wife has a free account, her Drive will first use up the 15GB, then start using your paid storage space. Another example: if your family member has 100GB paid storage (or any amount of paid storage), they will first use up that storage space, and only once that is used up will they start using up the Family Manager's storage space.

Once you have paid for a subscription (called Google One), you will easily be able to view the storage your family members are using from your own, by going to one.google.com. Google One comes with telephonic, chat and e-mail support. Here is a screenshot showing an example, where the first family member has not used up all of her storage (hence, it shows that 0GB of the Family Manager's storage is used), and the second family member has used up all of his storage (and it shows that he is using 3.12GB of the Family Manager's storage):

Example of Google One

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  • Comprehensive answer. Many thanks.
    – rossmcm
    Oct 2 '19 at 10:45
  • I wanted to add that your own "free" 15 GB count towards the paid total, so your family would have 85 GB to use (if you buy 100 GB) after they use their own 15 GB
    – juan
    Dec 2 '20 at 12:13
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    @juan yes, you are correct that the subscription plans do not visibly separate out free storage from paid storage, but on the other hand, family members will share the entire storage space of the Family Manager—not just the additional space over and above the free quota. For example, if the Family Manager only uses, say, 5GB (for whatever reason), their family members will be able to use the rest: 95GB.
    – ahorn
    Dec 8 '20 at 7:59
  • @ahorn, can it limit how much shared space can be used by individual family? for ex) 85GB is the total shared space. 10GB for dad, 10GB for mom, 10GB for son, and the rest is mine. something like that.
    – Solti
    Jan 20 at 20:49
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    @Solti 😆 no. Families have to negotiate about that offline, with each other. I think it requires helping family members understand what files are taking up their space. Solutions to finding the largest folders are at webapps.stackexchange.com/a/146236/109353
    – ahorn
    Jan 21 at 14:04
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To add a point that is indeed alluded to by ahorn's note, one can increase the quota to 30GB for free. Just create a new account and make it the manager of the family group. Since creating a family group is free of cost, you can bite into the 15GB of that new account's free storage.

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    This does not really provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post (this requires 50 reputation).
    – Glorfindel
    Jul 10 at 20:58

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