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AuthorJan Dougherty
Last Updated


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How is Drive File Stream different from the older Google Drive app?

Drive File Stream (New)

Google Drive Sync (old)

Stores files only on Google Drive; they don’t take space on your computer unless you specifically set them to.

Stores files on both your computer and your Google Drive (always take space)

Compatible with Team Drives

Not compatible with Team Drives

Can’t share directly from files on your computer

Can share directly from files on your computer

Is represented as a separate drive letter on Windows

Is represented as a folder on Windows

Files are removed from your computer when you uninstall.

Files remain on your computer when you uninstall


First Time Setup

Drive File Stream will not automatically start up after you install it.  You need to start it and sign in.  


Please note that if you switch Drive accounts or uninstall Drive File Stream, your files will all be removed from your computer, including the ones that you have chosen to make available offline.

Mac OS

Using Drive File Stream

Drive File Stream is different from previous versions of the Google Drive app.  It is listed as an attached device in Finder and on your desktop.

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When you click on the drive, you’ll see both your drive (called My Drive) and any team drives you have.  

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You can browse these folders, open documents, and create/edit files just as if they were on your computer.

Making Files/Folders Available Offline

Unlike in the old Google Drive app, files are not stored on your computer by default.  This means that you cannot access them unless you have an active internet connection.  Items in this state are represented by a cloud icon.

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To make a file or folder available when you aren’t connected, hold the Control key and click on the file/folder you’d like to make available.  Then, from the Drive File Stream menu, choose Available Offline.

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Before you’re able to access the files offline, you’ll have to wait for it to sync.  You’ll know it’s done when the Drive File Stream icon on the right side of your menu bar stops moving.

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