Google is warning users that emails, photos and documents could end up deleted - here’s what you need to do

By Rhona Shennan
Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 11:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 11:58 am

Google has revealed a new storage policy which could result in the deletion of important files, photos, documents and emails belonging to some of the 1.5 billion people around the world using Gmail on a monthly basis.

In a statement released by Google Workspace Vice President, Jose Pastor, and Google Photos Vice President, Shimrit Ben-Yair, it was revealed that a host of new changes would be coming to Google accounts.

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“These changes will apply to Photos and Drive (Specifically Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jambord Files) and will enable us to continue investing in these products for the future,” the tech giant explained.

It added, “We’re also introducing new policies for consumer Google Accounts that are either inactive or over their storage limit across Gmail, Drive (including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms and Jambord Files) and Photos, and to bring our policies more in line with industry standards.”

The storage policy changes from Google won’t be implemented until 1 June 2021.

In an email sent to users, Google said, “As this policy goes into effect 1 June 2021, the earliest it would be enforced is 1 June 2023.”

Files could be deleted

After 1 June 2021, accounts that are either inactive or over their storage limit across Gmail, Drive and/or Photos could see content being deleted.

If you’re inactive in one of more of these services for two years (24 months), Google may delete the content in the product(s) in which you’re inactive.

Similarly, if you’re over your storage limit for two years, Google may delete your content across Gmail, Drive and Photos.

Google says, “We will notify you multiple times before we attempt to remove any content so you have ample opportunity to take action.

“The simplest way to keep your account active is to periodically visit Gmail, Drive or Photos on the web or mobile, while signed in and connected to the internet.”

New content counting towards your storage

Starting from 1 June 2021, any new documents, sheets, slides, drawings, forms or Jamboard files will begin counting towards your free 15GB of allotted storage.

Similarly, new photos or videos uploaded in high quality in Google Photos after 1 June 2021 will count towards your free 15 GB storage quota, or any additional storage you’ve purchased as a Google One member.

Existing files will not count towards your storage, unless they’re modified on or after 1 June 2021.

“To make this transition easier, we’ll exempt all high quality photos and videos you back up before June 1 [2021],” Google explained.

The tech firm said that most people who back up in high quality should have “years” before needing to take action, with Google estimating “that 80 per cent of you should have at least three years before you reach 15 GB.”