Google Drive is a cloud-based storage solution that allows you to save files online and access them anywhere from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.Using a cloud storage service like Google Drive has plenty of advantages, such as easier file sharing and having a remote location to backup your files. But when compared to competitors like Drop Box and Apple icloud service Google Drive’s popularity is built on useful collaborative tools and built-in integrations with Google’s suite of products and services.

If you have a Google account, you already have  15 G of free storage on google drive So how to take advantage of all that space? Our guide covers all the basics, from how to use Google Drive to upload and access files on any device, to all the tools that make collaboration with others a breeze.

How does Google Drive work?

Think of Google Drive as a latter-day hard drive.

Google Drive gives you the power to upload and save a range of file types documents, photos, audio, and videos to Google servers, or the “cloud.Drive can serve as a backup solution, or as a way to free up space on your device.

To understand why Google Drive is so popular, it’s important to note that it’s built to work seamlessly with Google. And one of Drive’s best features is its integration with Google’s office suite of cloud-native apps, which, if you have experience with Microsoft Office, will look familiar.

Most users will gravitate to these programs, which include Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more. Not only do they let you create and edit documents, they’re also equipped with intuitive tools that allow for real-time collaboration.

Here is a breakdown of the most commonly used Google Drive applications:

Google Drive works with an integrated suite of apps powered by Google. Yuqing Liu/Business Insider

Some of Google Drive’s other key features:

  • Storing files: By default, Google gives you 15 GB of free storage space across Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos. If you ever hit that limit, you can always pay for more space by upgrading to a google one account
  • Sharing files: Files are private until you share them. But at any time, you can invite others to view, edit, or download files and documents.
  • Accessing files from anywhere: Files can be accessed from any smartphone, tablet or computer. Offline access is also available.
  • Comprehensive search: Drive can recognize images and even text in scanned documents, making searching for files easier
  • Secure storage: Drive files are protected by an AES256 or AES128 encryption , the same security protocol used on other Google services.

How to use Google Drive

Access to Google Drive requires a Google account.

To get started with Google Drive, you’ll need to create a google account if you don’t already have one.

Creating a Google account is free, and gives you access to Google Drive, as well as other Google Services, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google photos

Once you’ve signed up for an account (or signed into an existing account), you can access Google Drive in your browser by going to . This will bring you to Drive’s web interface, which is fairly intuitive and easy to navigate.

As you begin to familiarize yourself with all the things you can do with Google Drive, you’ll most likely want to first learn how to upload, create, manage and share files.

Uploading and creating files

To get started, you can drag and drop files into Drive, or create something new. Michael Nolledo/Business Insider

To access files on Google Drive, you\ll need to upload them There are two ways you can upload files from the web client, and they’re both straightforward.

The first method is the simpler of the two, and it involves dragging the file or folder from your desktop, and dropping it into the browser window. The second option is to click on the “Newbutton on the top-left side of the screen and select either “File uploador “Folder upload.

You can also use the “Newbutton to create a new file, document, spreadsheet, or presentation. Depending on your needs, just click on the app from the dropdown menu. All new files are automatically saved and accessible from your Drive.

Managing and organizing files and folders

Creating folders is an easy way to organize your files. Michael Nolledo/Business Insider

Once you have enough files, you may want to organize them. Much like organizing files on your desktop, the easiest way to manage your Drive is to create folders. To create a new folder on the web interface, navigate to your Drive and click “New,then “Folder.”

After you name your folder, you’ll be able to drag and drop files to the folder, which can found under “My Driveon the pane to the left of your screen.

If you no longer need a file and want to keep your Drive tidy, the easiest way to delete a file is to right-click on the file. This will bring up a context menu. From there, select “Remove.Alternatively, you can select the file you want to delete and then click the trash icon on the upper-right hand corner of your screen.

Sharing files and folders

Sharing files is as easy as a right click

The biggest draw of Google Drive is the ability to share files and folders with others. From sharing videos to entire Drive folders Drive makes sharing simple. To share a Google Drive file or folder, right-click on it to bring up the context menu, then click “Share.”

From there, you’ll be able to add collaborators using their email address, and decide whether people can edit, comment on, or simply just view the file.

Any files created in Drive have the option to be edited by multiple people at once, meaning you’ll be able to collaborate with others in real-time.

Accessing Google Drive

Now that we have some basics out of the way, it’s important to note that there are multiple ways to access your Drive. In addition to using Drive in your web browser, you can also access the cloud from your mobile device or desktop.

Google Drive on mobile

The Google Drive mobile app allows you to access files anywhere. Michael Nolledo/Business Insider

The Google Drive mobile app is available for both iOS and Android , and it’s a must-have for anyone who wants immediate access to their files from anywhere

The app lets you to view, download and delete files all from your mobile device.

If you’re interested in creating, editing, and organizing files on-the-go, you’ll need to download the relevant standalone mobile app. Each app has offline support built in so they can function on their own without internet connection, but they’re also designed to work seamlessly with the Google Drive app:

Google Drive on desktop

Back Up and Sync allows you to synchronize local files to Google Drive. Michael Nolledo/Business Insider

If you’re more inclined to work on a desktop than in a web browser, Back Up and Sync is an app for Mac and PC that makes it easy to back up files to Google Drive. The desktop client integrates seamlessly with Google Drive, and simplifies the back up process. Not only does it require minimal effort to use, it’s also easy to install:

 Install Drive On desktop

  1. On your computer, go to Use Drive for desktop with work or school and follow the installation instructions to download and install Drive for desktop. 
  2. At the bottom right (Windows) or top right (Mac), click Drive for desktop ""and thenOpen Google Drive "".

When you install Drive for desktop on your computer, it creates a drive in My Computer or a location in Finder named Google Drive File Stream. All of your Drive files appear here.​

1.2 Pause syncing



If you pause Drive for desktop, any changes to files are not uploaded. And, new versions of files made available offline won’t be downloaded.

  1. Click Drive for desktop "".
  2. Click Settings ""and thenPause Syncing.
  3. (Optional) To start syncing again, click Resume Syncing.​

1.3 Check your sync status


While Drive for desktop is actively syncing your files, any changes made in either interface are reflected in the other. When you delete something locally in Drive for desktop, it’s also deleted from Drive.

On the web

When you see Upload complete, your files have uploaded successfully and can be accessed in any browser or device that has Drive installed.

On your computer

Dragging files to a folder in Google Drive for desktop automatically uploads them to Drive on the web (though it might take a moment for files to sync). For details, see Move files to folders.

  • Files with Sync "" haven’t been uploaded to Drive yet.
  • Files with Done "" have uploaded successfully and can be accessed from Drive in any browser or from any device with Drive installed.
Pause Drive file stream sync

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