Exceeding the Proton free plan limits

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Common issues and questions
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If you’re a free Proton user, it is possible to exceed your plan limits, either by using more storage than allowed or having extra members in your plan. In the event that either of those scenarios happen, access to your account will be limited, and your data will eventually be deleted. You’ll receive notifications ahead of time with options to free up space or upgrade your plan for additional storage and features.

What are the free plan limits?

The Proton free plan provides up to 5 GB of Drive Storage and up to 1 GB of Mail storage. You cannot have extra members as part of your plan. Exceeding one of these limits could lead to limited access to your account. Learn more about what’s included in Proton plans.

Why is access to my account limited?

Access to your account will be limited if you use more Mail or Drive storage than what’s allowed in the Free plan, or if you have extra members. Proton provides a basic service for free, but since we don’t show you ads or monetize your data, we cannot let users exceed the limits of their plan. 

Was my account downgraded?

It is possible that you had a paid plan that was downgraded to a free plan. If you don’t recall canceling your subscription manually, your account may have been automatically downgraded to the free plan in the following scenarios: 

  • You previously were on a paid plan, and we couldn’t renew it due to an expired credit card or invalid payment method.
  • You were on a trial as part of our Referral program but didn’t upgrade to a paid plan at the end of the trial.

What can I do with limited access to my account?

Once access to your account is limited, you’ll receive email notifications and see warning banners on Proton apps informing you of the limits you’ve reached and what you can do to resolve the situation.

If you’re over your Mail storage quota:

  • You can’t receive new emails, other than from Proton
  • You can’t send emails with attachments
  • You can’t manage your calendar

If you’re over your Drive storage quota:

  • Your devices won’t sync with Proton Drive
  • You can’t upload new files
  • You can’t backup photos from your smartphone

If you previously had an organization with members as part of your plan:

  • If you invited existing Proton accounts to your plan, they were removed from your organization
  • If you created members, their storage quota has been set to 0 MB, meaning they can’t receive or send emails, or upload new files
  • If you had a custom domain set up, it is now disabled and can’t be used to send or receive emails

Once access to your account is limited, you have one year to resolve the situation until your data (Emails, files or members of your organization) is subject to deletion, depending on the limits of the free plan you are exceeding.

How do I resolve this situation?

If you exceed your Mail or Drive storage quota, you can easily upgrade your account to get more storage and restore normal access to your services. Just make sure your new plan matches your actual usage.

You can also free up space by manually deleting files or email if you are over your Mail and Drive storage limits. By going to your account settings, you can see how much space you’re using in Proton Mail and Proton Drive. You can then delete files to reach your storage quota. Make sure you permanently delete files by emptying the trash to make sure your storage usage is accurately reflected.

If you previously had an organization with members, you can delete them in the settings in order to regain access to the full functionality of your account. If you are an employee encountering limited access to your account, you must contact your administrator to upgrade your organization’s plan.

What will happen to my data?

If your account exceeds the free Mail or Drive storage quota, we’ll notify you through multiple emails. If you are still over your storage after 12 months, your data will be deleted in the apps where you exceeded storage limits. 

The deletion process includes:

  • Emails and Calendars if you exceed Mail storage
  • Files stored in Drive if you exceed Drive storage

Given Proton cannot access your data, all your files or emails will have to be deleted. We cannot selectively delete files or emails. 

If your account has additional members inherited from an organization, their accounts and user data will be deleted after 12 months.

How can I upgrade my Proton plan?

You can upgrade your Proton plan at any time from your account settings. Learn more in our dedicated article

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