Google Drive users have been dealing with an issue for years where they get an ‘allowed playbacks has been exceeded’ error when trying to play videos. And Google has still not stepped up to offer more clarity about the situation officially.

Basically, Drive is not letting users play videos regardless of the web browser or device being used. ‘Unable to play the video at this time. The number of allowed playbacks has been exceeded. Please try again later‘ is the error that pops up while playing a video.

The notification can be seen clearly in the following screenshot shared by a user on X:


A few among those complaining have also added that the ‘Download’ button that appears below the playback exceeded error (see above screenshot) doesn’t work, making the video(s) in question completely inaccessible.

While most of those affected encounter the error while playing videos shared with them, some are greeted with this error notification even for the videos owned by them. Interestingly, users note that the issue appears to be time-dependent, as the ones in GMT- zones can only play the videos in morning, while GMT+ zone users can play them in the evening only.

The issue has been around for a few years now and we’re still seeing reports (1,2,3,4,5) popping up every now and then to this date. While initially, the problem seemed to be a bug, product experts on the official forums have clarified that this is intended behavior. One expert points out a few reasons why you could be seeing the error message:

Playback limit: Google Drive has a limit on the number of times you can play a video within a certain timeframe. This limit is in place to prevent abuse of the service. For example, you might not be able to play a video more than 10 times in a day.

File format: Not all file formats are supported by Google Drive’s built-in video player. If the video you’re trying to play is in an unsupported format, you’ll need to download it and play it using a different media player.

Internet connection: A slow or unstable internet connection can also cause playback issues.

They further added a few potential troubleshooting steps that you can try out:

Check the playback limit: Google doesn’t publicly disclose the exact playback limit, but you can try waiting a while and coming back to the video later. If you’re still having trouble after a few hours, you may have reached the limit for the day.

Try a different format: If you suspect the file format is the issue, try downloading the video and playing it using a media player like VLC or QuickTime. Most media players can handle a wider range of formats than Google Drive’s built-in player.

Check your internet connection: Make sure you have a strong and stable internet connection. If you’re using Wi-Fi, try moving closer to the router or restarting your modem/router. If you’re using cellular data, try moving to a location with better signal strength.

Clear your browser cache and cookies: Sometimes, corrupted cache or cookies can cause playback issues. Clearing them can sometimes resolve the problem.

The increasing number of user complaints suggests that Google needs to revise its policy on the number of playbacks it allows on Google Drive. That said, the information shared by experts on the forums does help shed light on the matter rather than leaving users in the dark.

Granted that this is an intended limit, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a fix or bump in the number of allowed playbacks anytime soon.

Dwayne Cubbins
1025 Posts

My fascination with Android phones began the moment I got my hands on one. Since then, I've been on a journey to decode the ever-evolving tech landscape, fueled by a passion for both the "how" and the "why." Since 2018, I've been crafting content that empowers users and demystifies the tech world. From in-depth how-to guides that unlock your phone's potential to breaking news based on original research, I strive to make tech accessible and engaging.

Next article View Article

Gboard is still broken in some Wear OS 4 apps on Galaxy Watch devices 5 months later with no fix in sight (workaround inside)

Some Wear OS 4 users have been facing a frustrating bug for months now, with Gboard, their preferred keyboard app, malfunctioning in specific apps. The issue, first reported in September...
Feb 20, 2024 1 Min Read