A colleague here at The Verge tells this story: “This weekend my wife was like, ‘Google says I’m almost out of storage!’ and I was like ‘We have 2TB with Google One, that’s not possible!’” What was the problem? Well, just because you’ve established family sharing with your Google account, you don’t automatically start to share your extra storage from Google One. You’ve got to turn it on.
First, the basics: Google One is essentially the paid version of Google Drive. It gives you extra storage (beyond the free 15GB) to use across Drive, Gmail, and Photos, and lets you share that storage with up to five family members. Plans begin at 100GB for $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year. If that’s not enough, you can go up to 2TB for $9.99 a month / $99.99 a year, or if you’ve really got a lot of stuff to store, plans go up to 30TB for $149.99 a month.
(If you’re still on a free Google account and don’t want to switch yet, you can go to the Google One page to take advantage of a tool that may help you free up some extra storage space, although you’ll have to withstand the strong urgings to buy into Google One.)
If you want to share your storage, you first have to create a shared family group. Here’s how:
- You can invite up to five family members, as long as they have Google accounts. There will be some suggestions listed, but you can type in a name (if they’re on your contacts list) or an email. You can also skip this step for now, if you want.
- The person you invited will be sent an email, and you’ll be emailed when they accept the invitation. The invitation will expire in two weeks.
Once you’ve set up your family account, you can then set up your shared storage:
- In your Google One account, click on the settings icon on the left side.
- Look for “Share Google One with family” under the “Manage Family Settings” drop-down and toggle it on.
Now members of your family can share the storage largess with you. What this means is that once they use up their free 15GB, they will gain access to the additional storage that your account gives them — it does not mean that you have access to their files, unless they share them directly with you.
If you want to see how much of your storage each family member is using, go to your Google One account, click on “Storage” on the left side, and select the down arrow next to “Family Storage.”