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How to download files and folders from Google Drive

If you want to back up your files for safekeeping, here's how.
By
June 23, 2022

Uploading a file to your Google Drive is one thing, but if you want to save a backup or open it in another program, you’ll need to know how to download them to your devices. Here’s how to download files and folders from Google Drive.

Read more: How to use Google Drive: Everything you need to know

SHORT ANSWER

To download a file or folder from Google Drive, right-click it and select Download.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to download a file from Google Drive (desktop)

While it may seem like you should be able to click and drag a file or folder directly to your desktop, the process isn’t quite so simple.

First, open Google Drive on your browser, then click the file or the folder you want to download. If you wish to download multiple files or folders simultaneously, hold Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) while selecting multiple files.

download multiple files
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Next, right-click on your selection, and choose Download.

Alternatively, you can double-click on a single file to open it and click the Download icon in the upper right corner.

download file google drive
Adam Birney / Android Authority

How to download a file from Google Drive (iOS or Android)

The process is relatively straightforward on the mobile app. Tap the three-dot icon beside the file or folder you want to download, then scroll down and tap Download.

Drive download android
Adam Birney / Android Authority

It may ask you where you want to save the file on your phone. For example, you can save an image or video to your camera roll by tapping Send a copy and selecting Save image or Save video.

Why can’t I download a file from Google Drive?

If you can’t download a file, it’s likely because you aren’t the file owner. The owner may have limited your access to only viewing or commenting on a file. The owner will have to enable options to print, download, or copy for those with whom they have shared the file.

A less common reason may be that you are blocking third-party cookies in Chrome. You can still block those cookies for other sites but will need to allow them just for Drive.

First, open your Chrome cookie settings. Then, scroll down to find the Sites that can always use cookies section under See all cookies and site data. From there, click Add a site and enter drive.google.com.

Drive cookies
Adam Birney / Android Authority

Lastly, check the box that reads Include third-party cookies on this site.

If you still have trouble downloading a file or folder from Chrome, try turning off all extensions. If you can then download a file, turn the extensions on one at a time to identify which one was the source of the problem.


Read more: How to upload files to Google Drive

FAQs

If you are not the file owner and your access is limited to view-only, you cannot save a file from Google Drive. Instead, you will have to message the file owner to allow you to download.

When you save a file or folder from Google Drive, it will ask you where to store it. For example, you can download files from Drive to your desktop, documents on a PC, a different app, or external storage devices.

Select the ZIP file, right-click it and then click Download. Wait for the zipping process to finish then, and your download should start automatically. If it doesn’t start, click the link. Drive may ask you to leave the page, so click Leave, as clicking cancel will stop the process.