It's unclear to me what exactly fills my "57% of 15 GB used". I imagine attachments count, but is that both on attachments sent and attachments received? If I delete the last remnant of that attachment (either my sent copy or all copies received), does that free the space, or is it permanently part of my space as long as the recipient/sender holds it? If we both use Gmail, does it use space in both of our accounts?

Do uploaded (non-external) embedded images count similarly, with the same rules as above? Do uploads re-included in a forwarded email count doubly (i.e., once for the original message, again for every instance of reinclusion)? Is the space freed upon move to the trash or upon actual deletion a month later?

To clarify: I know that Google Drive shares the space—I'm interested in how Gmail handles these specific edge cases.

  • If you also use Google+ Photos and Google Drive - these also count towards the same space. Google unified it a short while ago. – MrWhite Aug 21 '13 at 15:55

The 15 GBytes is not just Gmail, it is also Google drive and Google photos.

Life gets a bit easier when your Google products work well together—whether that’s inserting a Drive file into an email or sharing a photo from Drive on Google+. As this experience becomes more seamless, separate storage doesn’t make as much sense anymore. So instead of having 10 GB for Gmail and another 5 GB for Drive and Google+ Photos, you’ll now get 15 GB of unified storage for free to use as you like between Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos.

They even give you a page to tell you how much you are using. Hover over the pie chart to see the details.

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Gmail allocates you a certain amount of space to use. In this case, 15GB. Anything that you do related to email is stored in this allocated space. Everything you send, receive, forward, reply, spam, trash, and so on. You send an email, it gets stored in your sent folder. If you delete it, it gets placed into your Trash folder. Once you remove it from your Trash it is completely removed, therefore it takes no more space.

The size an email occupies is determined by the content of the email. HTML formatted emails are larger than plain text. Any attachment takes up more space depending on the size of the attachment. A 1MB photo takes more space than a 123KB pdf file.

If you reply of forward an email and you include the original content into your new email, the new one will be the size of the original plus whatever you added.

So yes. Everything counts towards the size of occupied space.

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Google Drive

Store files up to 10GB each. Anything you create with Docs, Sheets, or Slides won’t use up any of your storage.


Attachments sent and received in Gmail as well as your email messages use your storage.

Google+ Photos

Photos bigger than 2048x2048 pixels use your storage. Everything smaller than that is free

From: https://www.google.com/settings/storage/summary?hl=en

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