Who can access your files on Google Drive?

Plus tips for managing the space used on Google Drive

You may not be the only one that can access your Google Drive content and apps may also have access. Which apps are they and why do they have permissions? Find out and block them.

In the interests of security it is best to limit the number of people and apps that have access to your Google Drive contents. Most users don’t let other people access their files, except for ones that they have explicitly shared, but apps you have long forgotten about and never use any more might still have permission to access your data.

Services you sign up for on the web, software you run on your computer, and apps you install on your Android phone or iPhone, can all be given permission to access everything on Google Drive.

You might decide not to keep an app and delete it off your phone or tablet, you ay uninstall software on your computer, or never use a particular web service again. But access permissions continue.

To find out who or what has access to Google Drive, go to drive.google.com in a web browser. Go to the gear icon in the top right corner and select Settings on the menu.

 Google Drive settings

In the window that appears, select Managing Apps on the left. The result is a list of everything that has permission to read and write files on Google Drive.

 Google Drive

Is there anything on the list that you do not use? Anything you once used, but deleted? Click the Options button and select Disconnect from Drive.

 Google Drive

The fewer things that have access, the more secure your account will be.

 Google Drive

Go ahead and disconnect it. I couldn’t even remember what this item was and had to Google it to find out. It was something I once used on a phone – a phone I no longer have. There is no point in keeping it.

Running out of Google Drive space?

Are you keeping an eye on the amount of free space left on your Google Drive? It is easy to forget to check and before you know it, there is no space left. Not even you can access Drive, never mind other apps.

Down in the bottom left corner of the Drive home page is the amount of storage space used and the total space. Mouse over this and you can see how much of that used space is due to Drive files, Gmail, and Photos.

 Google Drive

Click Upgrade Storage to open a new tab with a usage pie chart and upgrade options. Let the mouse hover over the usage chart to see the details.

 Google Drive usage

If the space is nearly used up, you need to free up space on Google Drive in order to continue using it to store files. You may not realise it, but Google Photos can consume drive space. As the usage info above shows, it can be a gigabyte or more. It depends how many photos you shoot and whether you have set your phone to back up photos to your Google account.

Go into the Photos folder and delete any you don’t need. We all take bad photos from time to time and they get backed up along with the good ones. Spend some time browsing your photos on Google Drive and delete the worst. I take lots of screen shots on Android phones and so need to delete them otherwise I end up with hundreds cluttering up the drive

 Google Photos

You may be surprised to discover the that space usage on Drive is not changed, no matter how many photos and other files you delete. This is because they are not really deleted, they are just moved to the Bin. Like the Recycle Bin on the Windows desktop and the Trash on the Mac, you have to empty the Google Drive Bin to actually recover disk space.

 Google Drive Bin

Select Bin on the left, then go to the Bin menu and select Empty Bin. Check the space used and free afterwards.


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