Google introduced a limit on the number of files that you can create and save in Drive, as reported earlier by Ars Technica and CNET. The company confirmed to The Verge that the change allowed you to create a maximum of 5 million files in Drive even if you paid for extra storage. But Google rolled the change back soon after, saying it would find a better solution.
“We recently rolled out a system update to Drive item limits to preserve stability and optimize performance,” said Google in a tweet. “While this impacted only a small number of people, we are rolling back this change as we explore alternate approaches to ensure a great experience for all.”
The 5 million file cap only applied to the number of files that you’d create in Drive — not the total of files shared to your Drive. This means you could have had over 5 million files in the system as long as they’re not solely created by you.
Google spokesperson Ross Richendrfer originally said that the change came as a way to “maintain strong performance and reliability” and that it should help prevent “misuse” of the company’s systems. If you reach the limit, Richendrfer said you’d receive a notification and that you can contact Google support to address the issue.
Google didn’t alert those affected by the newly implemented limit before it took place
While 5 million may seem like an absurd number of files for one person to upload, some users have actually reached that limit. In a Reddit post spotted by Ars Technica and CNET, a user with 7 million files in Drive says that Google suddenly barred them from creating new files in February despite not hitting the 2TB storage limit that they pay for. Meanwhile, several other users on Google’s issue tracker site say they encountered the file cap around the same time and were initially under the impression that it was a bug.
As pointed out in the Reddit post, the file cap meant that someone with 2TB of storage with an average file size over 400KB would reach their file limit before they even ran out of storage space. In other words, some users could be paying for more storage than they can actually use unless they opted to compress their files into zip folders.
Judging by users’ comments, it seems that Google didn’t alert those affected by the newly implemented limit before it took place, leaving them scrambling to relocate or compress excess files once the policy came into effect. It also doesn’t look like Google updated its Google One or Workspace support pages to note the cap, although it does state that shared Workspace drives can contain a maximum of 400,000 files. While the majority of people likely don’t have 5 million files stored in Drive, Google could’ve at least given those who do a proper warning.
Update April 4th, 3:11AM ET: Updated to say that Google rolled the limit back.