Free email programs from AOL, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and others have storage limits — some more generous than others.
If you don’t monitor the size of your email accounts, Google’s Gmail, the most used email program ahead of Microsoft’s Outlook.com and Yahoo Mail, could add another expense to your carefully balanced budget. And you’ll spend your time slogging through a mass of online clutter to find what you really want.
In June 2021, Google discontinued its policy of free photo uploads to the Google Photos app beyond the 15 gigabytes (GB) of storage it automatically allots to Google account holders. But that 15 GB is for storage across Gmail; Google Drive, which includes word processing Docs, spreadsheet system Sheets and presentation-maker Slides; and Google Photos, where you’ll need to stash large files if you want to have big prints for framing.
But go over 15 GB, and you’ll have to pay. AOL Mail limits your number of emails and size of attachments, and Outlook.com also limits its free storage to 15 GB. With Gmail, you could wake up to this error message from Google:
If you run out of space in Gmail, you won’t be able to send or receive messages. Messages sent to you will be returned to the sender.
Houston photographer Rob Greer doesn’t mind paying Google for the extra storage space. He doesn’t have time to go through his inbox and delete emails to make room.
“I pay $1.99 a month now,” says Greer, 53. Gmail is “really inexpensive when you think about it. They could charge me $9.99 a month and I’d still pay it.”
Google charges $1.99 a month, $19.99 annually for 100 GB of storage; $2.99 a month, $29.99 annually for 200 GB of storage; or $9.99 a month, $99.99 annually for 2 terabytes (TB) of storage.
Other services also levy fees
Email service storage limits
Free has its limits for email providers:
AOL Mail, 5,000 emails — 1,000 in new mail, 4,000 in old mail — of up to 25 megabytes (MB), including attachments.
Apple iCloud, 5 gigabytes (GB).
Google’s Gmail, 15 GB.
Microsoft’s Outlook.com, 15 GB.
Yahoo Mail, 1 terabyte (TB).
Because inboxes are stuffed with endless sales, newsletters, notifications, updates and all those personal emails with big photo and PDF attachments, your inbox will continue to balloon unless you tame it.
Google isn’t alone in enforcing storage rules. An iCloud email account on your Apple phone hits its free ceiling even more quickly. The company offers 5 GB of storage and charges if you go over: 99 cents monthly for 50 GB; $2.99 for 200 GB; or $9.99 for 2 TB, the equivalent of 2,000 GB.
On Android phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy series or the Google Pixel, most email defaults to Gmail since Google makes Android software.