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How to delete everything from Google Drive

delete everything google drive

If you decide to refresh your Google Drive storage and start from scratch, you’ll probably want to delete everything before uploading new stuff. The 15GB is not a lot in this day and age, and if you don’t want to invest in extra storage space or just have everything backed up elsewhere, wiping everything is a viable choice. Today, we’ll do our best to explain how to delete everything from Google Drive using your phone or PC. Learn more about it below.

How do I delete all Google Drive files and folders at once?

You can delete everything from Google Drive in an old-fashioned way, by selecting all files and folders. On your Android, iPhone, or PC. So, the answer is that there’s no wipe-all kind of tool and the only way to delete all Google Drive is to select each file and folder and remove them.

Now, if you have a lot of files and sizable ones at that, this can take some time. Selecting all files on a web-based client is simple (Ctrl + A on your PC will select all files), but because this is cloud-based storage, processing everything and moving all files and folders to Trash and later deleting them for good, will take some time.

We understand that there are users who are unhappy with this but, on the other hand, imagine accidentally deleting all your data with a simple click or tap. Not being able to select all files and folders with a simple tap on Android is a travesty, though.

This is a precautionary measure, a reasonable foolproof concept, but we would still like to see an option to wipe everything hidden somewhere deep in Settings. Once you select all files and delete them, they’re not deleted permanently. Google Drive stores deleted files in Trash.

Change Ownership of your shared files

If you delete shared files, you just remove won’t see them anymore, but the owner will still have them on their Drive. Also, if you want others to keep files you shared with them, you need to give them ownership.

This is a good method to keep some of your data, by transferring it to an alternative/secondary Google Account. Every account gets 15GB for free so make good use of it.

You need to use your PC and the web-based Drive client to transfer file/folder ownership to another Google Account. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Open Google Drive on Web.
  2. Sign in with your Google Account.
  3. Select the folders/files you want to share and click on the Share icon at the top.
  4. Enter the Gmail address (Google Account address) of the user you want to share your files. You can choose multiple users by entering their individual Gmail addresses. They’ll be notified about it. You’ll see the person icon on the folders and files you shared once they accept the invitation.
  5. Now, once the user accepts (or you, with your secondary account), select all shared files again and click Share. You’ll see that you’re still the owner of these files.
  6. Click on the account you want to make an Owner of these files/folders and select Transfer ownership.delete everything google drive

That’s it. It might take some time before changes are made, but you can safely delete these files/folders and the new owner will keep them on their Drive.

Delete all files on Google Drive

After that small digression, let’s move back to the actual procedure of file deletion on Google Drive. An important thing to do, before deleting everything, is to sign out or disable sync on all other devices where you have Google Drive enabled.

This mostly applies to Google Drive for Desktop, since users report that their files, like undead zombies, always get back after they remove them. Basically, they re-sync from your PC’s local storage.

Also, there’s a chance that the storage readings won’t update for some time. Wait it out and it will refresh eventually.

Here’s how to delete all Google Drive files on your Android/iPhone:

  1. Open the Google Drive app.
  2. Select the Files tab from the bottom.
  3. Tap and hold on one file and then, once the Select mode triggers, toggle all other files. This can take some time if you have a lot of individual files.
  4. Once you highlight all files, tap on the 3-dots menu and select Remove. These files will still take up your storage even though they’re in the Trash bin.
  5. Now, tap on the hamburger (3 parallel lines) menu and open Trash. Once again (thanks a lot, Google!), select all files as you did before and tap on the 3-dots menu.delete everything google drive
  6. Tap Delete forever. Confirm when prompted.

The procedure is a bit faster on the web-based client. This is how to delete all files on your PC in the fastest way possible:

  1. Open Google Drive on the web and sign in.
  2. Press Ctrl + A to select all files.
  3. Click on the Trash bin icon to remove all files.
  4. Confirm when prompted and then open Trash from the left pane.
  5. Click Empty trash and confirm.

With that said, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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