Google’s cloud storage service, Google Drive, appears to have quietly imposed a limit on the total number of files that can be stored by users. The restriction was implemented without prior public announcement, leaving some users perplexed and frustrated. If a user’s total file count exceeds the specified limit, they are unable to upload new content or create new folders. To continue uploading, users must first delete some existing files.
Google’s Official Confirmation and Limit Details
A Google spokesperson has confirmed that Google Drive does indeed have a file quantity limit, specifically capped at 5 million files per account. Importantly, this file quantity limit is unrelated to the user’s storage space. Even if there is available storage space remaining, users will be unable to upload additional files once the quantity limit is reached.
Error Messages and API Restrictions
Users facing this restriction may encounter an error message that reads: “The limit for the number of items, whether trashed or not, created by this account has been exceeded.” For those using the Google Drive API, the error message reads: “Error 403: This account has exceeded the creation limit of 5 million items. To create more items, move items to the trash and delete them forever., activeItemCreationLimitExceeded.”
Impact on Specific User Scenarios
For most users, storing such a large quantity of files may be unlikely. However, certain user scenarios can trigger this limitation. For example, a researcher studying animal health in the UK shared that their company uses Google Drive to store a massive number of small files, exceeding the 5 million limit. The imposition of this unannounced limit has significantly disrupted a key business system for the company, as they can no longer use Google Drive to sync and share files. Moreover, the company is a paying subscriber of Google Workspace, raising questions about why Google chose to implement this limit without advance notice.
Potential Bugs and Ongoing Issues
While the stated limit is 5 million files, some users have reported encountering issues with Google Drive even when storing fewer than 1 million files, suggesting a potential bug. These users are unable to upload files via the API, and attempts to delete files or folders have not resolved the issue. One user’s company, a subscriber of Google Workspace’s Enterprise Standard edition, continued to face issues even after clearing millions of files from the trash.
Google’s Response and Concerns
Google is currently working to address these issues. However, concerns have been raised about the company’s decision to modify limits without notifying users, especially for services provided to businesses. Users argue that at the very least, an advance public announcement should have been made.
It is important to note that the 5 million file quantity limit applies to all versions of Google Drive, regardless of whether the user has subscribed to the most basic or most expensive plan.