My google storage recently filled up, mostly because of google photos. I deleted some things in drive and freed up a couple gb, which was somewhat mysteriously used up again within about a week. Since then I've been deleting photos (deleting includes emptying the trash). The problem is that it didn't seem to be freeing up any space. Curious, I checked one.google.com/storage, deleted some pictures, and checked again. Nothing changed. I figured maybe it took time so I waited. About a week and 2,000 deleted photos later, there was negligible change (the space used actually increased by 10 mb). And to reiterate, I did delete all the files out of trash too. I have no idea what's happening. Does anyone have any idea what's going on?

  • I found out that photos saved as "high quality" (as opposed to the larger "original quality") don't count against storage space. So the question isn't why deleting these photos doesn't free up space, but why they're taking up space at all
    – Shane
    Apr 1, 2020 at 9:46
  • I'm not sure this is an answerable question, since the answer was just another unsolved problem (photos taking up space they shouldn't be). I think this question should be closed but not deleted since other people might have the same issue
    – Shane
    Apr 2, 2020 at 8:43
  • 1
    The Activity Pane shows what changes have been made to your storage recently. You can find out there what files have been added, which would be increasing your storage usage. Click on the ⓘ on the right-hand side, then "Activity", then scroll down, and report back on what you think have been the major changes to your storage. I'm talking specifically about Google Drive storage, so if you are rather talking about Google Photos, please make that clearer.
    – ahorn
    Apr 2, 2020 at 9:59
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    Since I posted the question, it's become clear the issue is with Google photos. They're taking up space even though they allegedly shouldn't be
    – Shane
    Apr 3, 2020 at 3:10
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    If you found my answer useful, please consider upvoting it. Reputation points provide an incentive for volunteers to continue answering questions on StackExchange.
    – ahorn
    Jun 2, 2020 at 6:53

1 Answer 1


If your Google Photos storage usage has recently increased, you can see which photos were recently added at https://photos.google.com/search/_tra_ . The storage usage would only have increased if they were uploaded in original quality (as opposed to the "high quality" option, which takes up no storage space).

The photos could either have been added by a mobile device that took photos and is signed in to your account, or by someone uploading photos at photos.google.com . On the web app, photos can either be added directly, by uploading them in the browser, or via copying them from Drive storage. Note that copying them from Drive storage duplicates the amount of space they take up.

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