Google Drive has a cap of 5 million items, even if you have storage space left
Google Drive now limits users to 5 million items. A Google Workspace spokesperson confirmed the change in an email late Monday.
It comes as a Reddit user posted a thread on Monday saying Google had imposed a 5 million post limit on people’s Drive accounts, without warning. The Reddit user said people started getting “Failed to upload” notifications around February 14 for any action, including creating a new empty folder.
“To maintain high performance and reliability, individual users are limited to 5 million total items created in their Google Drive,” a Google Workspace spokesperson said. The spokesperson went on to say that this change only affects a small number of users and recommended removing some files.
For those with a plethora of files, suddenly being asked to delete millions of items is a major inconvenience, as noted in a report created on Google’s issue tracker. A user in the UK said their animal health business was badly affected by the change. This caused major disruption to the “tens of thousands of users in practice and their day-to-day work”.
Others wonder why, if there is a hard limit, Google hasn’t provided any guidance. Rolling out this change may not go smoothly either, with some users claiming that even at 1 million items they cannot create a new folder.
For many users and businesses, storing files online is often more convenient than local storage. The global cloud storage market was valued at $78.6 billion in 2022, according to Markets and Markets.
People can upgrade their Google One account, the service that contains Gmail, Drive, YouTube and others, to have additional storage space. This storage can be up to 30 TB. Google One competes with OneDrive, Dropbox, Amazon Cloud Drive and Microsoft’s Box. Of course, Google One integrates better with Google Workspace apps like Docs and Sheets.
Some Google One competitors also have file limits. OneDrive for Business has a limit of 50,000 items per folder. But it’s unclear whether Microsoft has a hard cap on the overall number of items. Dropbox, on the other hand, says there is no limit.
Representatives for Microsoft, Amazon and Box did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It seems that whoever Google One plan, whether 100 GB or 20 TB, the 5 million item limit applies. As a result, users with small file sizes are likely to hit the item limit before hitting the storage limit: someone on a 2TB plan should exceed an average file size of 400 KB to run out of storage space before reaching the item limit. So, unless someone is storing large files like photos and videos on their drive, some may be paying for more space than is realistically possible to use.
Alternatively, other Reddit users have pointed out that compressing files into a .ZIP folder ends up counting as an item.
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