Gmail raises the maximum email attachment size to 20 Megabytes

Martin Brinkmann
May 24, 2007
Updated • Mar 16, 2014
Email, Gmail

You can bet that every tiny bit of new information about Google or one of their services will make headline news in a matter of minutes after it was discovered or announced. This time it was the announcement that the maximum attachment size for emails on Gmail has been raised to 20 Megabytes.

While a 100% increase may seem nice it raises some questions about the usefulness of such an increase. Many mail servers will not accept emails of that size and bounce them back. It should also be noted that emails were never supposed to be used for large file transfers in the first place.

FTP and HTTP servers are the usual way of storing and offering files. I can only speak for myself but I would be very annoyed if I would find out that someone was sending me a 20 Megabyte attachment to my Gmail account. (or from his gmail account to one of my other accounts)

I don't think that many users will notice the increase in first place and even less will really use it. It might be nice for sending someone high-res images for instance but that's about it.

What is your stance in the matter?

Update: The situation has changed quite a bit ever since the increase of the attachment size to 20 Megabyte. Some providers, like Hotmail for instance, are now making use of cloud based storage solutions to provide their users with a way around the attachment size limit.

It basically stores the attachments in the cloud, and replaces the attachments in the emails with links pointing to the cloud storage. This makes it possible to send much larger files to email recipients without emails bouncing from the receiving server due to size limitations. You can read more about the new feature here.

gmail attachment size

Update 2: The current attachment size limit is 25 Megabytes on Gmail. However, you can use Google Drive to make available larger files to recipients. Gmail basically enables you to attach any Google Drive file link to emails so that recipients can download those files from your Google Drive storage instead.

You can upload new files to Google Drive of course so that you can add them to attachments this way.


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  1. laila said on January 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    i like gmail more and it is very nice that we can send 20 MB it was a very big problem i faced before but now its done thanks to gmail

  2. Jim Allan said on January 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Who exactly decided that email was not “supposed” to be used for large file transfers? Presumably someone back in the days when large file transfers were mostly impossible using email.

    Now that it is possible, what is the problem?

    If someone is sending you material you don’t want, regardless of size, then you have the right to be annoyed.

    On the other hand, when at work, it is sometimes annoying to have to work with someone at another company to arrange a one-time access to their FTP site to provide them with some files. It is far easier to just email the files.

    Find something reasonable to complain about other than the increased power of dp technology.

  3. Jesse said on May 25, 2007 at 11:30 pm

    Yeah I was just thinking of gmailspace as well. If I have to send something larger than an mp3, I use something like rapidshare or supload or yousendit. Cause I don’t need it archived permanantly.

  4. Thinker said on May 25, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Yeah, google could buy any antivirus company they need :P

  5. anders said on May 25, 2007 at 5:49 am

    For the firefox addon gspace its good news :)

  6. Dante said on May 25, 2007 at 12:47 am

    I have both Gmail and YahooMail. And I find that I use YahooMail a lot more. Why? Because I can store executable files up in Yahoo’s servers – for download at whatever site I happen to be at. Gmail forces you to first zip any file with .exe or .com extensions before you can email it to yourself for storage – a pain.

    Gmail calls the blocking of emailing .exe and .com files as “security”. But Yahoo allows it with virus scan. And I use Yahoo’s free email virus scan to double check my own scans to make sure the program is reasonably clean for use. Why can’t Gmail have it’s own email virus scan engine? I though Google had already bought an antivirus company.

  7. Thinker said on May 24, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    About 1/3 of my friends got gmail, and most of others have will accept 20mb attachments too I think.
    It’s very good, when I’m sending for example pack of photos packed into archive.

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