Google Drive has a hidden file limit

Google Drive is a useful place to store files in the cloud, but a new limitation has emerged that may be problematic for some users. Google Drive imposes a new file limit on the total number of files you can create in Drive.

Update 4/3: in Twitter feedTonight, Google confirmed that it’s rolling back the limit on files created for all Google Drive users. The limitation, which was imposed by surprise, was implemented “to maintain stability and improve performance.” Google says it is now looking into “alternative methods” though stressing that only a handful of users have been affected by the limit.

Google too directed Its flaw is in notifying users of the limit, saying it will “communicate” any further changes to users before they are implemented.

Our original coverage follows.

Some Google Drive users have recently noticed a message on their account stating that the account has reached the “Creation Limit” and will not accept any new files until the existing ones are deleted. The issue was first highlighted by ArsTechnicaand appears to be enforced on both free accounts as well as shared Google Workspace and Google One accounts.

The issue has been reported by users on Reddit as well Google Issue Tracker It appears to have been put into place around mid-February.

The applicable file limit caps the total number of files stored in Google Drive at five million items. This limit ignores file size and type, and is a simple calculation of the number of files in your online storage container. This also includes items stored in the Trash (which is automatically emptied every 30 days). When this limit is reached (or if the account has already been exceeded), Google Drive displays the following message.

This account has exceeded the creation limit of 5 million items. To create more items, move the items to the trash and delete them forever

Single user reports Their account had seven million items before the limit was enforced, and their account can no longer add any new files. Effectively, that user and anyone else in the same situation is locked out of their account, as files are now stored in “read-only” mode.

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Google It seems to have confirmed Some users max out via support, but haven’t spoken publicly about it yet. There’s no documentation around Google’s support pages, and there’s also no mention within Drive. Apparently, Google also did not provide any warning to users who have already reached and/or exceeded the limit. Google It has documented the total number of files on the files that can be subscriber through Google Drive (400,000), but there was no such storage limit. Dropbox, another cloud storage service, It mentions a weak limit 300,000 files to sync to a computer, but it’s not an account file total limit.

This popup is the only official file limit notification on Google Drive

like Ars Ron Amadeo rightly points out that the problem here doesn’t seem to be the limit per se, which would be understandable for free accounts or with ample forewarning (or if only applied to new accounts). Instead, this limit has not been discussed in any official capacity, and applies to existing accounts that pay for and actively use storage. Google Drive sells storage plans that start at $2 per month for 100GB of storage, which can easily be filled with 5 million files at 4KB a piece. In fact, it will only take up 20 GB of storage space. It’s a lot easier to hit that limit if you also own a business, like the millions who pay for Drive storage through Google Workspace.

to update: Google says the number of users affected by this is “very small” and has explained that this is “a precaution to prevent abuse of our system in a way that could affect the stability and integrity of the system.” The company also clarified that the limit applies to “the number of items a user can create in any Drive,” rather than the total limit for files in Drive (meaning that files uploaded to shared folders by another user don’t count towards that total, even if count them from your total storage capacity).

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