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Fix: Gmail won’t attach files

Gmail wont attach files

Having the option to attach a file to your email can be a lifesaver. However, some users report that Gmail won’t attach files, both on the Android app and the web client. And, considering how important this feature is for many users, we made sure to look into it. If you are among the affected users, check the instructions we provided below.

Gmail is not letting me attach a file, what should I do?

If Gmail won’t let you attach a file, check the file size and format. After that, try switching the platform and use your PC (web browser) to sign into Gmail. Alternatively, clear the cache in the app/web client, disable all browser extensions, and confirm that there’s enough storage space in Google Drive. Switching to an alternative browser is also a valid option.

1. Check the file size and file format

Gmail supports attachments up to 25MB so ensure that the file you’re trying to send is smaller than that. If you’re on your PC, you can easily archive and compress files (using WinRar or 7Zip). This will not only reduce their size but make them easier to store and re-share later on.

Also, besides the size, the important thing is to remember that not all file formats are supported by Gmail. You can’t attach and send executable files (EXE, APK, etc.). You can find the complete list of unsupported (blocked) file formats on the official Google Support page. The idea is to prevent files that can hold viruses and are a possible security risk.

On the other hand, the vast majority of media files and archive files like ZIP (there are some exceptions) are supported. The list of supported files includes the following file extensions:

  • All major Microsoft Office file formats – DOC, XLS, PPT,…
  • Adobe File types – PDF, PSD, SVG, and others.
  • Image files – JPEG, PNG, GIF,…
  • Audio and video files – MP3, MPEG, MPEG4, AVI, WMV,…
  • Archive files – ZIP, RAR…

2. Try attaching files on Gmail for the Web or use Google Drive

If you can’t attach files on your mobile device, try using the web client. Just navigate to Gmail on the Web and compose the email there. Make sure that you have the file you want to send as an attachment stored on your PC.

As an alternative to uploading files to Gmail as attachments from your PC or phone, you can try uploading them to Google Drive first and then adding them from there. Here’s how to add an email attachment file on the Gmail web client:

  1. Navigate to Gmail for the web in any desktop browser.
  2. Select Compose.
  3. Click on the Paper Clip icon to add files from the local storage or click on the Google Drive icon to add files stored in Google Drive.
  4. Select the file and wait for it to upload.

If that did nothing and Gmail still won’t allow you to attach files, move to the next step.

3. Clear the Gmail cache on your Android or PC

The next step you can try is to clear local data from the Gmail Android app. Also, don’t forget to keep the app up to date. Clearing local data won’t delete any emails or make any changes to Gmail settings because the service is online-based and the app is just a client. Here’s how to clear the local data from Gmail for Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Choose Gmail from the list of available apps.
  4. Tap Storage.
  5. Clear data and restart your device.Gmail won't attach files

On the other hand, if you have issues with Gmail for the web, you can clear the cache there, too. In addition, we suggest disabling any browser extensions you might have running, especially content blockers and VPN/proxy extensions. Instead of clearing cache and browsing data completely, you can just open Gmail in a tab and then click on the padlock icon. Select Site settings from the contextual menu and then click Clear data. Sign in again and check if you can add attachments.

4. Check the Google Drive storage space

The next thing to do is to check how much free storage space you have at your disposal in Google Drive. As you probably know, all of Google’s services come with a shared storage quota (15 GB is free with every Google Account but you can pay a monthly subscription for more storage space). All Gmail conversations and their content are stored in Google Drive and, if your storage is full, you won’t be able to send new emails until you clean up some space.

Either delete some files from Google Drive, some big video files from Google Photos, or emails in Gmail. Don’t forget to empty the trash after deleting files. After you create some space, try sending an email with an attachment again.

5. Use an alternative browser

Finally, we can recommend using an alternative browser because there are reports that everything works in Edge while the issues were most prominent, weirdly enough, in Chrome. Give it a try and tell us if that worked for you.

With that said, we can conclude this article. Thank you for reading and feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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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