How to Turn OFF Sync for Files you own in Google Drive?

Shreyas Patil SEO
Shreyas PatilUpdated :
How to Turn OFF Sync for Files you own in Google Drive?

Google Drive is a popular cloud storage service that allows you to access your files from anywhere. By default, Google Drive syncs all the files in your Drive so they are available on all your devices. However, you may sometimes want to turn off syncing for certain files you own so they are no longer accessible on all devices. This article will show you how to turn off syncing in Google Drive for individual files you own.

Prerequisites for Turning Off Sync

Before diving into the steps to turn off sync, it's important to understand a few key things:

  • You need to be the owner of the file to turn off sync. You can't turn off sync for files owned by others.
  • Turning off sync for a file removes it from all your synced devices. The file still exists in Drive but can only be accessed from the web.
  • You can turn sync back on for the file later to make it available everywhere again.

Steps to Turn Off Sync for a File

Follow these simple steps to stop a file syncing across your devices:

1. Open Google Drive on the web

Go to in your browser and log into your Google account if required.

2. Locate the file you want to stop syncing

Browse or search for the specific file you want to turn off sync for. Remember you need to be the owner.

3. Right-click the file and select "Remove from sync"

Right-click on the file icon or name and select the "Remove from sync" option from the menu.

4. Confirm you want to turn off sync

A popup will appear asking you to confirm. Click "Remove from sync" to confirm.

And that's it! The file will now show as "Offline" and only be available through the Google Drive website. It won't sync and download to your other devices anymore.

Turning Sync Back On for a File

If you change your mind later, re-enabling sync is easy:

  1. Locate the offline file in Google Drive on the web.
  2. Right-click it and choose "Add to sync".
  3. The file will sync again to all your devices.

Managing Synced Devices

You can see all devices that sync with your Google Drive by:

  • Going to and clicking Settings > Manage Synced devices.
  • Here you can remove specific devices from syncing.

This is useful if you have old devices signed into Drive that you want to stop syncing.

Why You Might Want to Turn Off Sync

Here are some common reasons for turning off sync for certain files:

  • Free up storage space: Removing large files from sync frees up local storage on your devices.

  • Keep files private: Turn off sync for sensitive files to avoid having them download to devices you share with others.

  • Organize your Drive: Stop syncing old projects or unnecessary files to declutter your Drive.

  • Save bandwidth: Don't continue syncing large files you no longer access frequently.

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Downsides of Turning Off Sync

While useful, turning off sync can have some downsides to be aware of:

  • Lose offline access: The file will only be available online in your web Drive.

  • Can't directly share: You need to turn sync back on to directly share the file.

  • Changes don't sync: Edits made to the offline file won't sync across devices.

So weigh the pros and cons before turning off sync.

Turning Off Sync on Mobile Devices

The above steps cover turning off sync on the Google Drive website. On mobile devices, the process is:

On Android:

  • Open the Drive app and tap on the file.
  • Tap the three-dot menu and select "Available offline".
  • Toggle off "Available offline" to stop sync.

On iPhone/iPad:

  • Open the Drive app and tap the file.
  • Tap the three-dot menu and choose "Remove from offline".
  • This will stop the file syncing.

FAQs About Turning Off Google Drive Sync

Can I choose which devices a file syncs to?

No, it's all or nothing. Turning off sync removes the file from all synced devices, not select ones.

What happens to collaborators when I turn off sync?

Collaborators retain access. Only your sync is affected.

Is there a max limit of synced files?

There is no set limit. The available local storage determines the maximum synced files.

Can I see which files are currently not syncing?

Yes, filter to "Offline" files in Google Drive to see unsynced files.

Will unsynced files still show up in Drive search results?

Yes, they will show up in web search results, marked as offline.


Turning off file syncing in Google Drive is easy - just right-click and remove from sync. This allows you to manage which files take up space across your devices. But be aware of the downsides like loss of offline access. With great power comes great responsibility!

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