How to Remove Attachments from Gmail

By Varghese David

Google provides you storage space of 15 GB for free. This free 15 GB Storage Space is shared between Gmail, Google Photos and Google Drive. If you have used up your quota of free storage space from Google, your Gmail will showthe message “Your Gmail is out of space.”.

Having consumed 15GB free storage space, you will stop receiving new emails in Gmail. You will also not be able to send emails. However, you can always remove unwanted emails and free up space in Gmail.

You can free up space in your Google Account in the following ways:

Removing large files & photos from Google Drive.
Removing large photos from Google Photos.
Deleting large attachments from Gmail
Deleting unwanted emails from Gmail
In this post, I will be sharing the ways to delete attachments from Gmail to free up space in your Google Account.

Ways to delete attachments from Gmail
When you are left with no storage space in Google Account even after removing files from Google Drive and Google Photos, it’s time to free up space in Gmail. You can start by deleting unwanted emails, spam mails and trash folder. But, it won’t be sufficient. In most of the cases, we have found that the maximum space is occupied by large attachments in Gmail.

Deleting attachments in Gmail is the best way to free up space in your Google Account. There are many ways to do it. I have listed it below:

Delete attachments without removing the email message using Mozilla Thunderbird.
Remove attachments without removing the email message using Dittach Extension in Google Chrome browser.
Removing large attachments using the search function in Gmail.
I have explained below all three methods in detail for you.

  1. Delete Attachments without removing Email using Mozilla Thunderbird
    To use this method to delete attachments from Gmail without deleting the email message, you must have Thunderbird Email Client. Thunderbird allows you to extract the attachment from your email using an add-on called “Attachment Extractor Continued”. Let’s find out how:

If you are not using Thunderbird Email Client, download and install one. You can download it from
After installing Thunderbird, you have to install the add-on “AttachmentExtractor Continued”.
Having installed Thunderbird and the required Add-On, it’s time now to add your Gmail Account via IMAP in a new folder in Thunderbird. If you have 15 GB of emails in your Gmail account, it will take time for all the email to download/sync in Thunderbird. You should let the syncing complete.
Go to the Add-On Settings in Thunderbird. Set a Default Save Path where all your attachments will be stored. Tick the Checkbox “Delete Attachments from the Message” and “Delete without Confirmation”.
Go to the Filenames Settings in the Add-On Settings. Remove the tick from the Checkbox “Ask Always for Filename Pattern”.
Go to Option in the Thunderbird Menu and open the Option Window. Click on Display from the Menu and create new five new tags – Detached, DetachedRecently, PendingDeletion, PendingDetach and GmailLabel.
Create two new Folders in Local Folders in Thunderbird. Name it “Inbox” and “Sent Mails”. You can label it differently if you want.
Go to the Inbox in Thunderbird.
Using QuickFilter option, filter all emails containing attachments and add “PendingDetach” tag to these emails. Now, you have to move all these emails to the Inbox folder in Local Folders of Thunderbird.
Select all emails in the Inbox Folder of Local Folders and right-click to select “AE Extract from Messages”. Choose the “Default Folder” as path to download the attachments.
Now, all the attachments have been extracted from the emails in your Local Folders. Next, you should tag these emails “DetachedRecently” and remove the old tag “PendingDetach”.
Go to All Mails and using Quickfilter, filter out messages with “PendingDetach” tag. Add the tag “PendingDeletion” to these messages and remove the “PendingDetach” tag.
In the Inbox in Local Folders, select all messages and copy them to paste it to your Gmail “Inbox” folder in Thunderbird. Use the Quickfilter to filter out messages with “DetachedRecently” tag. Add the tag “Detached” to these messages and remove the “DetachedRecently” tag.
Now, you can go to “All Mails” and delete the messages with tag “PendingDeletion”. You can also delete all the messages in the Inbox folder in Local Folders.
Note: AttachmentExtractor Continued Add-On works with the older versions of Thunderbird. It is not successful with the newer versions of Thunderbird.

  1. Remove Attachments without removing Email using Dittach Extension in Google Chrome Browser
    This method involves use of Chrome browser. Other browsers will not work. You have to add the Dittach Extension in your Chrome browser to use this method. I have explained the steps below:

Open your Chrome Browser or install one if you haven’t installed it yet.
Install the extension “Dittach” in Chrome and enable it.
After adding the extension in Chrome, log in to your Gmail Account. A pop-up from Dittach will show up after logging in. Click on “Continue” button.
You have to log in to Gmail again by entering your username and password. A new pop-up from Google will show up saying “Dittach wants to access your Google Account”. Click on “Allow” button to give permission to Dittach for your Gmail application. Now, Dittach will be connected to your Gmail Account.
After connecting Dittach with your Gmail, you will see the list of all attachments in your Gmail messages in the left-side of the screen. You can also search and filter the attachments by name and category.
For every attachment, you will see the options to: 1. View Email 2. Delete 3. Download and 4. Share.
With Dittach, you can delete the email message with attachment or you can delete only the attachment without deleting the message. When you click on the Delete option against the name of the attachment, it will ask for deleting: 1. One Attachment Only 2. All attachments on this email OR 2. The Whole Email (including attachments). You can select as per your requirement and click on “Delete” button.
Your attachment is deleted. It cannot be recovered now.

  1. Remove Large Attachment using search function in Gmail
    The other simple method to free up space in Gmail is to delete the large attachments. Below I am explaining the steps to delete attachments larger than 5 MB in Gmail. You can change the size of the attachment depending on your requirement.

Open Gmail in your browser.
Sign in to your Gmail Account using your username and password.
In the Search Box in Gmail, type in “has:attachment larger:5MB” and press ENTER to search the attachments larger than 5 MB.
You have the search results on the screen with email messages having attachments larger than 5 MB. Now, you can delete all the emails in the search results by using the “Select All” option or you can select specific emails to delete them to free up space in Gmail.
After selecting the required messages with attachments, you have to click on the “Delete” icon/button.
The messages are deleted from your Inbox/Sent Mails and moved to the Trash folder. Now, you should empty the Trash Folder to free up space in Gmail.
To delete all the messages in your Trash Folder, go to the Trash Folder on the Left-Side of Gmail screen. Click on “Empty Trash Now” visible on top of the messages.
You have freed up enough space in Gmail.
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