Google Drive rolls back file limit, will explore 'alternate approaches'

Google Drive home page on the web
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

Update (Apr 4, 1.25 pm ET): Google announces that it has removed the file limit.

What you need to know

  • Google quietly rolled out a new 5 million file limit to Drive accounts on a larger scale.
  • The change came without warning, and many have had their accounts locked until they delete hundreds, thousands, or millions of files.
  • Google officially states this was done "to prevent misuse of our system."

Google has introduced a head-scratching new file limit to those heavily using its cloud storage service Drive.

A Redditor received a new message put forth by Google when they went into Drive (via Ars Technica). The failure message reads, "this account has exceeded the creation limit of 5 million items. To create more items, move items to the bin and delete them forever." This is how it was discovered that Google has quietly introduced a 5 million item limit to users' Drive storages without forewarning.

The Redditor explained that they have a 2TB Google Drive account which is currently sitting at 1.67TB out of that cap. It was then explained that even if your files are small (<400KB, as an example), you'll hit the new 5 million file limit well before your account data storage cap.

This warning is taking no prisoners as those who have purchased the 2TB, 5TB, 20TB, or 30TB for their Drive accounts (both business and consumer) will receive this message regardless. There is also a 400,000 shared file limit, but that's rectifiable by unsharing those files — you don't need to delete anything.

Google Drive on an Android phone and a laptop

(Image credit: Future)

Both Ars Technica and the user on Reddit did a little digging and found that this has been a problem since February. Users started reporting it on the IssueTracker as confusion began to set in, with many assuming this was some sort of critical bug. That's unfortunately not the case, as some users reported a quiet confirmation about this new file limit by Google Support.

Furthermore, Ars Technica received confirmation from Google stating the new file limit is "a safeguard to prevent misuse of our system in a way that might impact the stability and safety of the system." The company clarified that this limit pertains to "how many items one user can create in any Drive" before stating that "the number of impacted users here is vanishingly small."

Text files, specifically, can be quite small, and there are times when we store tons of these for work or educational purposes. Google One sells different storage size plans, such as its 2TB plan for $10 a month or $100 per year, and its largest package also offers 30TB for $150 per month. Google may have to change how it displays packages for users now, or at least be more upfront about its file limit, considering they'll probably run out of "space" long before they hit the data cap they've actually paid for.


Following backlash over quietly introducing a new file limit that limited the number of new items that could be created (separate from the data cap), Google announced this week that it is rolling back the change in order to "explore alternate approaches."

The company also ensures that any changes that are made will be appropriately communicated to users.

While this seemingly affected a small number of users, the change should still come as a relief for some who may have otherwise been forced to delete items from their drives.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.

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