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Google has built its cloud storage systems to handle your entire digital life, including all your photos, videos, emails, and other files. However, there’s now a limit to the number of individual files you can keep in Google Drive.

Update, 4/4/23: Google has now reverted the change that added a limit of five million files for every account in Drive. In a series of tweets, the company said, “We recently rolled out a system update to Drive item limits to preserve stability and optimize performance. While this impacted only a small number of people, we are rolling back this change as we explore alternate approaches to ensure a great experience for all. If we need to make changes, we will communicate them to users in advance.”

The original article continues below.

Google placed a new limit on how many files you can store in Drive, seemingly without any warning — the earliest reports came from support threads in February 2023. The issue affected normal people storing many files in Drive, and a thread on Google’s official issue tracker revealed how it affected some larger organizations. One person said, “We have a business-critical operational system in the animal health space which is currently affected by this. This is causing major disruption for tens of thousands of users in-practice and their work on a daily basis.” Another said, “Suddenly [our customer] cannot upload the files to the Google Drive through our software based on Google API. This is a huge problem while the service is out of function now.”

Google eventually started showing a more detailed warning to affected accounts, which explains that there is a new limit of five million files in Drive for every Google account. The company told Ars Technica that it’s “a safeguard to prevent misuse of our system in a way that might impact the stability and safety of the system,” and noted that it only affects files you create yourself — files shared from other accounts do not count towards the new limit.

Even though five million files sound like a lot of files, it’s not difficult to hit that limit if you’re backing up files from a few computers, or you’re using Drive to manage logs and other automated data collecting. The only fix is to move some of your files to another Google account, or package them into a ZIP file or other archive that Google will only count as one file. You could also try another cloud service, or even setting up a local NAS.

Source: Ars Technica, Reddit, Google Issue Tracker

Profile Photo for Corbin Davenport Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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