How to Use Google Drive Offline

Access your docs, slides, and sheets without Wi-Fi

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Belisario Roldan / Getty Images.

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If you don't have an internet connection, you can still access your Google Drive offline on your PC, Mac, or mobile device. When you edit your Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets offline, the updates will be applied automatically the next time your device syncs with the internet.

How to Access Google Drive Offline on PC

Setting up your Google Drive for offline use requires an internet connection. To enable offline access to your Google Drive on a PC running Windows:

The following instructions will not work while using Google Chrome in incognito mode.

  1. You must make Google Chrome your default browser to open your Google Drive files from your computer without an internet connection.

  2. Download and install the Google Docs offline Chrome extension.

    Download and install the Google Docs offline Chrome extension.
  3. Log in to your Google account if you're not already signed in.

    Log in to your Google account if you're not already signed in.
  4. From your My Drive page, select the gear icon in the upper-right corner to open the Settings menu.

    From the My Drive page, select the gear icon in the upper-right corner and choose Settings.
  5. Select General from the panel on the left, then check the box beside Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline.

    Check the box beside Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline.

    Whenever you are editing a file without an internet connection, you will notice a lightning bolt beside the document's name. Once you're back online, any changes will sync up, and the symbol will disappear.

  6. Select Done. Now you can continue working on Google Docs, Google Sheets, or Google Slides files within the Chrome browser without a Wi-Fi connection. Any changes you make will be cached locally, and the online version will be updated the next time you connect to the internet.

    This is sufficient if you just want to save your work in case you lose internet connection; however, if you want to download your Google Drive files to your computer so you can edit them whenever you want, you must continue to install Backup and Sync.

  7. Download and install the free personal version of Backup and Sync for Google Drive.

    Download and install Backup and Sync for Google Drive.
  8. Open Backup and Sync and sign in to your Google Account.

    Open Backup and Sync and sign in to your Google Account.
  9. If you wish, you can now choose to save files on your computer directly to Google Drive. If you don't want to do that, deselect the boxes beside each folder and select Next.

    You can choose to saves files on your computer directly to Google Drive.
  10. Select the box beside Sync My Drive to this computer, then select Start.

    screenshot of google drive
  11. After a few minutes, your Google Drive files will be downloaded to a folder named Google Drive, and any future files you add to Google Drive will be automatically downloaded to your computer.

Access Google Drive Offline on Android and iOS

Although mobile devices do not support Chrome extensions, Google has individual iOS and Android apps for Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets that let you edit files offline. If you have an Android phone or tablet, some of these apps come preloaded on your device, but iOS users will have to download them from the Apple App Store. To access your Google Drive files on a mobile device without Wi-Fi:

  1. While connected to the internet, open the Google Drive app.

  2. Tap the three vertical dots next to the name of the file you wish to edit offline.

    Tap the three vertical dots next to the name of the file you want to edit offline.
  3. Tap Available offline on the menu that appears to enable offline editing.

    Tap Available offline on the menu that appears to enable offline editing.
  4. To view files you've made available offline, tap the hamburger icon in the top-left corner to open a menu, then tap Offline. Any files you have made available offline on other devices will be automatically cached locally if you're currently connected to the internet.

  5. You can make any files you've worked on recently automatically available offline within the Google DocsSheets, or Slides apps. Just tap the hamburger menu in the top-left corner of the app window, tap Settings, then tap Make recent files available offline.

    google drive settings

    Avoid editing Google Drive files offline from different devices to avoid losing progress due to syncing issues.

  6. You're done!

Access Google Drive Offline on Mac

Before you can access your Drive files offline using a Mac, Google Chrome must be set up as your default browser. If you try to open a Docs, Sheets, or Slides file offline without taking this step, you'll arrive at an error page; you can always switch back to Safari later on. To edit Google Drive files offline on macOS:

  1. Download and install Chrome for Mac.

  2. Click the Apple icon on your dock, then click System Preferences.

  3. Click General from the panel on the left.

  4. Using the Default web browser dropdown box, switch from Safari to Google Chrome.

    If you just installed Chrome and don't see it listed as an option, try restarting your computer and trying again.

  5. Using the Chrome browser, download and install the Google Docs offline Chrome extension.

  6. From your My Drive page, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner to open the Settings.

  7. Click General from the list on the left, and then check the box beside Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline.

  8. Click Done. You can now work on Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides files within the Chrome browser without a Wi-Fi connection. Any changes you make will be cached locally, and the online version will be updated the next time you connect to the internet.

  9. Download the personal version of Backup and Sync for Google Drive.

  10. Move Backup and Sync to your Applications folder, then open it.

  11. Sign in to your Google account.

  12. Choose to save files on your computer directly to Google Drive if you wish and click Next.

  13. Click the box beside Sync My Drive to this computer and click Start. After a few minutes, your Google Drive files will be downloaded to a folder named Google Drive, and any future files you add to Google Drive will be automatically downloaded to your computer.