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New Google Storage Limitations


Google previously announced an end to unlimited storage for the academic community starting July 2022. The new storage model will provide CU Boulder with much less free storage than the campus consumes today. In order to ensure that the free storage allocated to CU Boulder is being used for mission-critical functions, the campus’s new quota will be pooled and shared in a manner that prioritizes Google for collaboration with the primary focus being on teaching and learning.

To ensure we can keep within the new quota, we will be making some significant changes to our service, including eliminating Google Photos and setting individual quotas for Google Drive. Most of the Google storage space is currently consumed by non-Google file types (e.g., Microsoft documents, PDFs, videos, photos, etc.). In the coming weeks and months, OIT will directly email users of Google Photos, Google Drive, and Shared Drives to provide guidance on how to download and relocate the files you wish to keep and how to best utilize OIT's recommended storage options.

Reduce Your Google Storage Usage

To avoid service disruption of your CU Google account, OIT highly recommends reviewing your current storage usage and deleting any unnecessary files in Drive, Shared Drives, Gmail, and Photos if your total Google storage exceeds 5 gigabytes. Complete the following steps to reduce your storage usage: 

  1. Visit the Google Drive Storage Settings to confirm your personal data usage 
  2. Review and delete large or unnecessary files from your Google Drive
  3. Move personal files to your own storage (e.g., a personal Google account). Your University Google account is only for University use. 
  4. To search for and delete unnecessary or large emails, use Google's manage files in your Drive storage guide and follow the instructions for Gmail.

Migrate Content From Google Photos

Starting with the fall 2021 semester, Google Photos is no longer available for newly created accounts or accounts that had not previously used Google Photos. Current users of Google Photos should download and move their photos/videos to another service. If the photos/videos are essential for CU functions, OIT recommends uploading to OneDrive instead. 

  1. Disable back up & sync of photos on all mobile devices. 
    • Open the Google Photos app
    • At the top right, tap your account profile photo or initials
    • Select Photos settings then Back up & sync
    • Tap Back up & sync off
  2. Review your photos and delete any duplicates or unwanted photos/videos from
  3. Download the photos/videos you would like to keep.

Alternative Storage Options

Visit the File Transfer, Storage, and Infrastructure page for more guidance on types of data and storage options for each option. Depending on the type of data you need to store and the amount of storage you need, there are several options supported by OIT, including: 

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive allows users to keep all files in one location in Microsoft's cloud environment, with the ability to access from a phone, tablet or computer. Use OneDrive's desktop or mobile applications to access up to 5 TB storage quota with 250 GB maximum file size, version history, and integration with Teams, SharePoint and other Office 365 products.

Learn more about Microsoft OneDrive


The PetaLibrary is a University of Colorado Boulder Research Computing service supporting the storage, archival, and sharing of research data. It is available at a subsidized cost to any researcher affiliated with the University of Colorado Boulder.

Learn more about PetaLibrary.

UCB Files

UCB Files is OIT's file server providing on-campus, backed-up storage for faculty, staff, and student groups. Some features include Shared file storage spaces for collaboration, daily data backups, security permissions for your data restricted to your department or university affiliates you authorize, compatibility with macOS, Windows and Linux.

Learn more about UCB Files.

Please note: OIT will continue to support Google Workspace Apps for collaboration, communication and more, but we want to broadly discontinue using Google for storage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Google have migration tool available to help move files?

We expect Google to provide migration tools by the end of 2021. In the meantime, OIT recommends that you take steps to prepare, including cleaning out your Google Drive using our Migrating Data tips.

What types of data will be impacted by this change?

Any/all data stored in your CU Boulder Google account will be impacted, including files from Google Drive, Google Shared Drives, Gmail, and Google Photos.

How much storage space will CU Boulder have on Google Workspace?

At this time, OIT is planning on setting storage limits for individuals at 5 gigabytes.