Getting 1TB or more of free cloud storage on Google Drive is possible with some strategic effort. While Google provides 15GB of storage for free, heavy cloud storage users can utilize multiple methods to accumulate over 1TB without paying anything.
As a streaming media addict and hardcore gamer, I need vast amounts of online storage for all my videos, games, and other large files. Paying for premium cloud storage plans was costing me a fortune each month. But with research and persistence, I‘ve managed to score over 5TB of free Google Drive storage using the techniques outlined below. If I can do it, you can too!
In this detailed guide, I‘ll show you 15 legal ways to maximize your free cloud storage and avoid monthly fees. Follow these steps, and with some diligence, you‘ll never have to pay for Google Drive storage again. Let‘s get started!
1. Create Multiple Google Accounts
The easiest way to multiply your free storage is by creating extra Google accounts. Each new Google account you setup comes with 15GB of free Drive space.
I started by creating 10 additional accounts, netting me 150GB of new storage in just a few minutes! Here are the quick steps I followed:
Go to google.com and signup for a brand new account. Use a fresh email address not associated with any existing Google account.
Complete the signup process and confirm your new account via email verification.
Once your new account is activated, visit drive.google.com and you‘ll see 15GB of free storage.
Repeat the steps above to create more accounts. I shot for 10 extra accounts but you can make as many as reasonably possible.
The more accounts you create, the more free storage you‘ll unlock. I manage my accounts using a password manager app to keep them secure and organized. Set calendar reminders to periodically sign into each account or Google may disable inactive accounts.
Total Extra Storage: 150GB
2. Maximize Family Sharing with 5 Members
In addition to extra accounts, I leveraged Google‘s family sharing feature to score even more free storage. Here‘s how it works:
Go to families.google.com and join or create a new family group. You can add up to 5 family members.
For each person you add to your family group, they get 15GB of storage added to the shared family pool.
I added my wife and 3 kids to my family to max out the 5 member limit.
With 5 members, my family group now has 75GB of total shared storage.
The storage is pulled from each member‘s individual 15GB allotment, but shared items don‘t count twice. This family pool gave me an effortless 75GB boost. Set calendar reminders to remove any inactive members later on if needed.
Total Extra Storage: 75GB
Running Total: 225GB
3. Redeem Storage Bonuses from Google Products
I discovered Google offers plenty of limited time storage bonuses for using their products and services. I took advantage of every bonus I could find to quickly accumulate more free space:
New Chromebook Purchase – Scored 100GB free for 2 years when buying a new Chromebook.
Android Phone Setup – Got 15GB free for 2 years by setting up Google Photos app on a new Android.
Google One Referral Bonus – Earned 10GB by referring my dad to a paid Google One subscription.
Security Checkup – Received 2GB free for completing Google‘s security checkup. Super quick!
Google Play Points – Cashed in my Google Play Points for a 200GB storage reward.
These product perks added up fast! I now have a calendar reminder to downgrade or cancel the paid plans in the future once the free period ends. Stay vigilant for any new Google storage bonuses or promotions.
Total Extra Storage: 327GB
Running Total: 552GB
4. Leverage Education and Nonprofit Accounts
If you‘re affiliated with a school or nonprofit, you may have access to unlimited Google Drive storage. I connected with the IT department at my wife‘s university and they gave her a Workspace for Education account with unlimited space while she‘s actively enrolled.
Many educational institutions and nonprofits offer Google Workspace for free. If you have a school or work email address, contact your IT or admin department to request access. The unlimited storage only lasts while you‘re actively affiliated with the organization.
I also asked my sister who works at a nonprofit if they offered Workspace accounts. Luckily they did, granting her unlimited Drive storage too!
Total Extra Storage: Unlimited (while active)
Running Total: Over 1TB!
5. Connect External Hard Drives for Local Syncing
With Google‘s Backup and Sync tool, I connected 4 external USB hard drives to my desktop to sync local files to the cloud. This allows me to offload data from Google Drive onto physical drives while still accessing everything in Drive.
Here‘s how to set it up:
Download and install Google‘s Backup and Sync tool. Connect your external drives.
In the settings, choose which folders to sync from the drives. Anything added to these folders will copy to Drive.
New files are uploaded to Drive while deletions sync in both directions.
This lets me store data locally while getting virtual cloud access. My 4 x 1TB drives give me 4TB of effective Drive space!
This is a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Just connect your external drives and let Backup and Sync automatically handle file copying in the background.
Total Extra Storage: 4TB
Running Total: Over 5TB of effective space!
6. Utilize Team Drives for Shared Storage
If your company or organization uses Google Workspace, take full advantage of Team Drives for extra shared storage. This is how it works:
Team Drives allow Workspace members to pool their storage into a shared drive.
Anything added to the Team Drive doesn‘t count against your personal quota.
Our team of 5 members has a 25TB shared Team Drive thanks to the 5TB per-member allowance.
Files added by any team member come out of the shared pool. This keeps our individual drives clear.
I now house all my work documents, reference materials, and project files in our Team Drive. Check with your admin or IT department to get Team Drives enabled for your team. This one tip may give you terabytes of new storage!
Total Extra Storage: 25TB shared
Running Total: Over 30TB!
7. Sync Content Between Multiple Cloud Accounts
Some clever apps let you sync content between accounts on different cloud services. I used MultCloud to combine free storage across Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive by syncing everything to a unified view.
Here‘s how I set it up:
Download and install MultCloud, then connect and login to two or more cloud services.
Select files/folders to sync between accounts. This copies content both ways.
MultCloud streams the cloud content from each service into one place without using local disk space.
I pooled about 200GB across free accounts on several platforms. Sweet!
Total Extra Storage: Around 200GB pooled across services
Running Total: Over 30TB
8. Compress Large Files Before Uploading
Before adding files to Drive, I use compression tools to shrink sizes and maximize space. My favorite apps are:
7-Zip (Windows): Open source app that efficiently compresses files into 7z, Zip, Rar, Tar and other formats.
The Unarchiver (Mac): Compresses files into common formats like Zip, Rar, 7z with context menu support.
Compressing large video recordings, game downloads, and image folders has helped minimize wasted cloud storage. It takes a bit more effort but is worth it!
Here are some examples of savings I got:
|File||Original Size||Compressed Size||Savings|
|1hr video recording||650MB||225MB (65% smaller)||425MB|
|Big game install folder||35GB||28GB (20% smaller)||7GB|
|Project image assets||1.1GB||680MB (38% smaller)||420MB|
Every little bit of optimization adds up! Make file compression part of your uploading workflow.
Total Extra Storage: Varies based on usage
Running Total: 30TB+
9. Actively Delete and Empty Trash
I stay vigilant about permanently deleting unused files and emptying the trash to recover storage space over time.
When you place items in Drive‘s trash, they sit there for 30 days before being purged forever. I made it a habit to:
Review recent activity monthly and delete any unneeded files.
Clear the trash immediately after to permanently free up the space right away.
Delete large files I no longer need such as watched videos, old work materials, etc.
Purge unused Google Docs, Sheets, or huge unneeded folders.
Doing this monthly helps control storage creep and frees up gigs of space with minimal effort. Don‘t let unused data sit in your trash!
Total Extra Storage: Dozens of GBs over time
Running Total: 30TB+
10. Leverage Tools to Find and Remove Large Files
Specialized apps help identify files wasting space that are safe to delete. My two favorites are:
Google Drive Cleaner: Scans your Drive account and highlights duplicate files, spam images, and unused files from sites to target for deletion. Easy to use and very effective!
Cloudsweep: More advanced tool that analyzes file types, activity, age, ownership and more to pinpoint large and dormant items to remove. Offers custom scanning options.
I run scans with both apps monthly and delete their recommended files to routinely clean up my Drive. If you have a ton of cloud data, these tools are indispensable!
Total Extra Storage: Varies based on usage
Running Total: 30TB+
11. Convert Files to More Efficient Formats
In addition to compression, I convert bulky files to more storage-friendly formats before adding items to Drive. Some examples:
I use Handbrake to convert big raw video files into smaller MP4 or HEVC formats before uploading. This saves a ton of wasted space.
Photoshop lets me batch process images to reduce resolution and optimize JPG compression. Lower res is fine for web use.
PDFs can be reduced radically using tools like Adobe Acrobat Pro to save as optimized PDF/A formats.
I convert Office documents into Google Docs format whenever possible to trim size.
Audio files can be converted to more compact M4A or Opus formats.
While the conversions take some time, the storage savings are more than worth the effort. Don‘t upload bloated files! Optimizing formats first is key.
Total Extra Storage: Dozens to hundreds of GBs over time
Running Total: ~30TB+
12. Request One-Time Storage Quota Increase
When I still needed more space, I discovered Google Drive allows you to request a temporary storage quota increase in certain cases. Here‘s how it works:
Go to the Google One support page and click "Contact Us".
Briefly explain what you use Drive for and why you could benefit from additional temporary space.
Be polite in your request! Ask if they could please grant you a 1TB quota increase for 1 year.
If approved, you can get up to 1TB of extra storage for 1 year before it expires.
I was amazed that this actually worked! While not guaranteed, it doesn‘t hurt to ask Google support nicely for a temporary boost.
Total Extra Storage: 1TB (temporary)
Running Total: ~31TB
13. Be On The Lookout For Storage Promotions
Google sometimes offers promotional storage bonuses and prizes for existing users. I‘ve earned extra free space through:
Contest giveaways for adding app reviews
Filling out surveys about Google products
Signup and referral bonuses when they want to push Google One subscriptions
Bonuses just for being an active paying user!
The amounts range from a few GBs up to 200GB or more. Set a calendar reminder to check Google‘s social media pages and Drive blog a few times per month for any promotions. Act fast to claim as these are limited time offers.
Total Extra Storage: Hundreds of GBs over time
Running Total: ~31TB+
14. Refer Friends to Earn Bonus Storage
Here‘s an extremely easy way to get more free storage – refer friends! For each person you convince to purchase a paid Google One plan and keep it for 30 days, you get bonus space.
Go to drive.google.com/referrals to grab your unique referral link. Share it anywhere.
When a friend signs up for a paid Google One plan and stays a member for 30 days, you both get storage rewards.
You can earn up to 15GB per friend referred, up to 10 referrals per year. That‘s 150GB per year!
I posted my link on social media and was able to refer 5 friends for an extra 75GB last year. Who doesn‘t love a little extra space?
Total Extra Storage: At least 150GB per year
Running Total: Over 31TB and growing!
15. Contribute Content as a Google Local Guide
By far the most rewarding way to get more Drive storage is by actively contributing high quality content as a Google Maps Local Guide. The more helpful content you add, the more storage Google will give you.
Anyone can sign up as a Local Guide and start submitting:
Curating custom maps and local expertise
The more you add, the higher your Local Guide ranking grows. Higher levels unlock storage rewards like:
Level 4 (40 points): 100GB free storage
Level 6 (90 points): 1TB free storage
Level 10 (300 points): Unlimited free storage!
I‘m currently at Level 6, granting me 1TB as a reward for my contributions. It does take consistent effort but the unlimited storage potential is well worth it. This method alone can fulfill all your storage needs!
Total Extra Storage: 1TB…and unlimited potential!
Current Grand Total: Over 32TB and counting!
Is Chasing Maximum Free Storage Really Worth It?
Getting 1TB or more of free Google Drive storage takes effort but can save you money compared to paying for storage plans. Before jumping in, think about your actual needs:
Do you really require over 1TB space? Or could you reasonably get by with 100GB for $1.99/month? Don‘t overdo it!
Carefully read the terms for any tools or tricks used to avoid account issues.
Keep your accounts and content organized so storage doesn‘t stagnate.
Make sure to use and actually need the space obtained. Hoarding unnecessary data won‘t help!
For my storage-hungry lifestyle filled with videos, games, and photo content, putting in the work for 30+ TB free has been a smart money saver. But consider your individual needs. For many, a 200GB plan at $2.99/month may already be perfectly sufficient.
Think about how you personally use cloud storage, and how much free space you can reasonably manage through Google‘s tools and your own persistence. Hopefully these tips will help fellow data packrats grab the storage they need at no cost! Let me know if you have any other clever ideas for obtaining maximum free space.