Google Drive quietly introduced (and then repealed) a file creation limit for all users.


Google has put a limit on the number of files you can create and store in Drive, as previously reported by Ars Technica And CNET. The company confirmed that The edge that the change would have allowed you to create up to 5 million files in Drive, even if you paid for extra storage. But Google reversed the change soon after, saying it would “examine alternative approaches to ensure a great experience for everyone.”

“We recently rolled out a system update to boost item limits to maintain stability and optimize performance,” Google said in a tweet. “While this only affected a small number of people, we are reversing this change as we explore alternative approaches to ensure a great experience for everyone.”

The 5 million file limit only applied to the number of files you would have to create in Drive — not the total of files shared to your disk. This means that you could have had more than 5 million files in the system as long as they were not created by you alone.

Google spokesperson Ross Richendrfer originally said the change came as a way to “maintain strong performance and reliability” and that it would help prevent “misuse” of the company’s systems. If you hit the limit, Richendrfer said you’d be notified and you can contact Google Support to resolve the issue.

Google did not warn those affected by the newly implemented limit before it took place

While 5 million may seem like an absurd amount of files for one person to upload, some users have actually hit that limit. In a Reddit post spotted by Ars Technica And CNET, a user with 7 million files in Drive says that in February, Google suddenly banned them from creating new files, despite the fact that they didn’t reach the 2 TB storage limit they’re paying for. Meanwhile, several other users are up Google problem tracker site say they encountered the file cap around the same time and initially thought it was a bug.

As pointed out in the Reddit post, the file limit meant that someone with 2TB of storage space with an average file size of over 400KB would reach their file size limit before they even ran out of storage space. In other words, some users might pay for more storage space than they can actually use unless they choose to compress their files into zip folders.

Judging by user comments, it seems that Google failed to warn those affected by the newly implemented limit for it happened, causing them to rush to move or compress redundant files as soon as the policy went into effect. It doesn’t look like Google has updated it either google one or Workspace support pages to note the cap, although it does state that shared Workspace disks can contain up to 400,000 files. While the majority of people probably don’t have 5 million files stored in Drive, Google could have at least given those who do a good warning.

Update April 4, 3:11 AM ET: Updated to say Google has rolled back the limit.