Google has announced an end to unlimited storage for all higher education institutions and will start implementing quotas based on our contract and student population. As a result, we can all take steps to decrease our storage use to maintain normal business operations. 

What Counts Towards Storage Space

Google Workspace for Education uses pooled storage that is shared across all users and includes everything in their accounts and shared drives. This includes, but is not limited to Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photo files.

The following file type will count toward storage space:

  • Most files in My Drive (including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, or Jamboard files).
  • Photos and videos backed up in original quality.
  • Large attachments in Gmail (sent or received).

Items that do not use storage space:

  • Deleted messages and files.

Note: Items that are deleted from Google Drive, Gmail, or Photos can be restored from the Trash within 30 days. Learn how to retrieve deleted files within this timeframe from this article Google Apps Backup and Restore Limits.


To bring our storage use to the current level set by Google, quotas will be set on all App State accounts by March 28, 2024. 

  • Student account quota — 50GB 
  • Faculty/Staff account quota — 200GB  
  • Generic Google account quota — 10GB 
  • Share Drive quota — 100GB per Shared Drive

Another area of high impact is Google Photos–this service will be discontinued for students and turned off for employees by March 28, 2024. Faculty and Staff will be able to request access based on academic or business needs in the future.

Check Your Storage

  1. Navigate to
  2. Currently used storage is listed at the bottom of the left sidebar menu. Click on Storage in the left sidebar to see a breakdown of storage space usage. This will help you determine which files are consuming the most space in your Google Drive. 

  3. Click on the arrow to the right of Storage used to sort by size. You can also sort files by type or date modified by clicking the Type or Modified drop-down menus in the top left of the Storage screen.

    Reminder: Listing files by size will be the fastest way to determine which files take up the most space in your Drive

Shared drives will allow users to save and share up to 100 GB of data per Shared drive.

To see how much storage your Shared drive uses:

  1. Navigate to your Google Drive and click the right arrow next to the Shared drives tab in the left sidebar menu.
  2. Click on the Shared Drive you want to view.
  3. In the Shared drive, click the details icon at the top of the page.
  4. Details sidebar will open where you can view the amount of storage space used by your Shared Drive. 

Clean up & Manage Storage


Not sure where to start? As a university, the bulk of our storage is in Google Drive. We recommend reviewing content in this order:

  1. Personal Google Drive
  2. Google Photos
  3. Shared Drives
  4. Generic accounts
  5. Email

If you don't have time to tackle all areas, make an impact where you have the most content, and be sure to backup or move any personal files to an alternative solution to reduce our collective university storage.

Review and Delete


  1. Identify and remove dated or obsolete files. 
  2. When you click on a specific file from the Storage window (1), you can see the file path in your Google Drive (2) or navigate directly to that folder by clicking on the file name in the path (3).

    Note: It can take up to 24 hours for changes in your drive storage amount to adjust and may at times not show a decrease in storage until the trash has been deleted. You can wait the 30 days allowed for the trash to empty or if you are sure you have content you can delete altogether, you can go ahead and empty your trash as well. Then refresh your page to see changes.
  1. Navigate to
  2. Review the activity of the drive after clicking the circle i icon (for more information) in the top right of the screen.
  3. Open the Shared Drive you want to delete.
  4. Click the name of the Shared Drive at the top to open a drop-down menu.
  5. Select Delete Shared Drive from the drop-down menu.
  6. Confirm you want to delete this drive by clicking Delete Shared Drive in the pop-up that appears.

    Note: Important things to note if you want to delete a Shared Drive:

    • Delete only old or dated content.
    • You must be a Manager of the shared drive to remove it.
    • The drive must be empty (i.e., no files or folders).
    • If all content has been removed from the drive, and the option to delete it is still grayed out (you are unable to click on it), refresh the page or relaunch your browser.
    • The drive will be removed from the Shared Drive Manager tool within 24 hours.

  1. Search your inbox using the following filters:
    1. Size–set to (greater than) (20) (MB)
    2. Date within–(1 year) and set year in the calendar slot (ex: 2015, 2016, 2017)
    3. Search–All Mail (including Mail & Spam & Trash)
    4. Check the box for all mail that has attachments

  2. You could even sort by certain to or from addresses.
  3. This will help you find any emails with attachments that are over 20MB taking up space within a set timeframe in your inbox. By going back to years past, you can likely establish some content you are able to purge from your inbox.
  4. Doing this in increments, such as by year, can limit the amount of results and make it easier to find large files.
  1. Go to
  2. Click on the "Photos" Icon on the left. This is a collection of ALL your photos, including ones with Album labels.
  3. Hover over the photo you would like to download to reveal a check box.
  4. Place a check in the box beside each photo you would like to keep by clicking the check mark icon (the number of selected images will appear at the top of the page.)

    1. Hover over a date to reveal a check box that will allow you to select all photos from that date.
    2. Note: To date, there is no way to select all photos at once in Google Photos.

  5. Click the Share icon at the top right of the page.

  6. Type your personal Google email address in the search bar and then select the email from the list.

  7. This will open the Photo Send dialog screen, click the blue Send button.

To Add Sent Photos to your Personal Google Account Library

  1. Navigate to and log in to your personal Google account.
  2. Click Sharing and select the name of the account you sent the images from.

  3. Click the Save icon.
    1. There is no need to select individual files, clicking on Save will add a copy of the shared collection to your personal Google Photos Account.  

Organize Files and Folders

  1. Organize files into folders based on projects, classes, or other relevant categories. 
  2. Use a consistent naming convention to make finding files easier. It is best practice to create a system for naming that is descriptive and informative but most importantly be consistent.
  3. Use Shared Drives for collaborative projects.
  4. Use Google Drive for Desktop to organize files and sync changes to your Google Drive.
  5. Learn more about how to filter by people or groups in Google Drive so that you can see which files or folders have been shared with specific people or groups.
  6. For more detailed guidelines and tips see the Knowledge Base article File and Folder Organization.

Additional Resources

Download Content from Google

To download and back up content at another location or to another account, use Google Takeout.

Managing Personal vs. Professional Data

App State Google Drive storage should be a dedicated space for professional data and files. It should not be used for backup of personal photos or music. For personal files, it is best to utilize a personal cloud storage account or a personal storage device. 

Learn more about creating backups of your Google account content.

University accounts and data contained within are the property of Appalachian State University. Every effort should be made to adhere to the Acceptable Use of Computing and Electronic Resources Policy for data integrity and retention: 

The University shall not be responsible for any personal material or information stored on University Information Technology. The University assumes no responsibility for backing up personal material or personal information stored on University Information Technology and shall have no obligation to produce any such personal material or information at any point during or after an individual’s period of employment, enrollment, or other affiliation. The user accepts all responsibility of removing personal materials prior to their separation with the University. This provision does not apply to current students’ academic work stored on University Information Technology.

Security Considerations & Limitations

For storage options that involve files containing data elements that must be treated as Confidential or Sensitive use the following resources:

Record Retention

For questions or guidelines on record retention, visit App State’s Records Management Services or UNC System Records Retention.

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