How to Delete Attachments in Gmail Without Deleting the Messages

Even the basic free Gmail accounts offer a generous storage allowance of 15GB (split between Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos). That said, it could be easy to encroach on your storage limit over time, especially if you receive a lot of attachments.

Rather than purchasing more storage from Gmail (from $5 per year per 20GB), here’s how to delete messages with attachments from your Inbox. Unfortunately, it’s not yet possible to delete the attachments only, unless you use a third-party tool to help you.

Step 1: Check your storage space

First of all, it’s worth double-checking how much storage you have left of your 15GB allowance. To do this:

1. Go to Settings (gear icon, top right hand side of your Gmail dashboard)

2. Navigate to the Accounts and Import tab

3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and find Add additional storage, where you will see how much of your storage you’ve used up (as a percentage). You can also opt to purchase more storage here.

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Step 2: Locate your Attachments

To locate your attachments:

1. Go to the search bar and type “has:attachment”

2. To narrow down the search, you can specify the size of the attachment by typing in, for example, “has:attachment larger:25MB.” This will ensure that only attachments larger than 25MB will show up in the search results. Narrowing down your search to show only the larger attachments will help you to clear more storage by deleting fewer messages.

Step 3: Select Attachments you Want to Delete

1. Check the box to the left of the email(s) you want to delete

Step 4: Delete Selected Attachments

1. Click on the trash icon at the top of the screen

2. Your message(s) will be sent to the trash where they will stay for 30 days. Within this timeframe, you can opt to recover them into your inbox, but once the 30 days is over, they will be permanently deleted.

Step 5 (optional): Permanently Delete Selected Attachments

1. Go into your Trash in the left hand menu

2. Select the message(s) you want to permanently delete by checking the box on the left hand side

3. Click on Delete forever at the top of the window

Step 6: Review your Storage Space

Once you’ve finished your clear-out, it’s worth checking back to see how much storage you now have left of your 15GB. To do this, repeat step 1.

A regular clear-out of your inbox will save you from reaching your storage and having to purchase more. And while it’s impossible to delete attachments from emails natively in Gmail without having to delete the original message itself, it’s worth deleting obsolete messages with large files attached to save some space.

Additional Reading: Gmail Attachment Limit – 3 Ways to Send Large Files via Gmail

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