Set up and Use Google Drive on Your Mac

Save, sync, and access files on Google Drive from your Mac

What to Know

  • Download the Google Drive app for Mac and go through the setup process.
  • Place files in the Google Drive folder to access them from your other Macs, PCs, iOS devices, and Android devices.
  • Select the Google Drive menu icon to monitor activity and configure settings.

This article explains how to set up and use Google Drive on a Mac. Instructions apply to Macs with OS X Yosemite (10.10) and later.

How to Install Google Drive for Desktop

Here's how to download and install Google Drive for Desktop on your Mac.

  1. Launch your web browser and go to the Google Drive download page.

  2. Select Download Drive for Desktop.

    Download Drive for Desktop highlighted in Google Drive
  3. When the download is complete, locate and double-click the installer you downloaded. The file is called GoogleDrive.dmg. Wait for the file to open.

    GoogleDrive.dmg opening on a Mac desktop
  4. Double-click the file GoogleDrive.pkg.

    GoogleDrive.pkg file highlighted on Mac desktop
  5. The Google Drive installer will open. Select Continue.

    Continue highlighted in Google Drive installer window
  6. You'll see a message that a standard installation will take place. Select Install. Enter your system password if prompted. (Select Change Install Location if you want to change the default location.)

    Install highlighted in the Install Google Drive dialog box
  7. Wait for the installation to complete.

    Google Drive installation process with monitor bar
  8. You'll see a message that the installation was successful.

    Google Drive Installation Successful message

Get Started With Google Drive for Desktop

The first time you start Google Drive, you have to go through a few steps to set it up. After that, accessing Google Drive is simple.

  1. Click Sign in With Browser to get started with Google Drive.

    Google Drive sign-in window with Sign in with Browser highlighted
  2. Select an account to continue configuring Google Drive for Desktop.

    Google Choose an account screen to continue to Google Drive for Desktop

    Google Drive may ask you to accept notifications. Select Allow or Don't Allow.

  3. You'll see a message advising you not to sign in unless you downloaded Google Drive for desktop intentionally. Select Sign in to continue.

    Sign in highlighted on Google Drive warning message
  4. You'll see a message that you've successfully signed in, followed by a message that Google Drive is loading your files.

    Message from Google saying Google Drive sign-in was successful
  5. You'll see a Google Drive icon in the top menu bar of your Mac. You can now use Google Drive for Desktop to store and share files across your devices.

Using Google Drive on Your Mac

After you install Google Drive on your Mac, you can upload files to your drive and sync all your files and folders. Any item you upload to Google Drive is copied to Google's cloud storage system, which you can access from any supported device.

You get 15 GB of free storage space with Google Drive, but the storage is shared by Google Drive files, Gmail messages and attachments, and Google Photos. This means that your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, and Jamboard files all count toward your free 15 GB storage allotment. If that amount isn't sufficient, you can purchase more space from Google One.

Google Drive is well integrated with other Google services, including Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides.

Google Drive Menu Bar Item

The menu bar icon gives you quick access to Google Drive. It displays recent documents you added or updated and tells you if cloud syncing is complete.

Here's a look at some additional Google Drive for Desktop settings.

  1. Select the Google Drive for Desktop menu bar icon and choose the Activity tab. You'll see any recent files that have been uploaded and how much storage you're using.

    Google Drive for Desktop menu bar icon open with Activity highlighted
  2. Select the Notifications tab to see any messages or notifications about your files.

    Google Drive for Desktop Notifications tab
  3. Select Settings (gear) to access Preferences, Offline Files, Pause Syncing, and more.

    Google Drive for Desktop with Settings gear highlighted
  4. Select Preferences to customize your Google Drive options.

    Preferences highlighted in Google Drive for Desktop menu icon
  5. The Google Drive Preferences window opens.

    Google Drive preferences window
  6. Select your Mac and Add Folder to upload, store, and sync your files to Google Drive.

    Google Drive preferences with Mac and Add Folder highlighted
  7. Select the Google Drive tab to set up your syncing options.

    Google Drive Preferences with Google Drive tab highlighted

Your Mac now has additional storage available in Google’s cloud to use as you wish. However, one of the best uses of any cloud-based storage system is to link the storage to multiple devices for easy access to synced files with all of your devices: Macs, iPads, iPhones, Windows, and Android platforms. So, be sure to install Google Drive on any device you own or have control over.

There are other cloud-based storage systems you may want to consider, including Apple's iCloud Drive, Microsoft's OneDrive, and Dropbox. All offer some usable form of cloud-based storage for Mac users.

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