Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (2023)


There are many cases where you may need or are required to transfer ownership of files you own in Google Drive. This document provides instructions on how to transfer ownership to another individual at the university and how to transfer ownership to a Google shared drive owned by a department/unit. (Note that you cannot transfer ownership of files to a non-UM Google account using the steps below.)

Important: It is critical that you work with your department/unit as part of offboarding to have ownership of university business-related files/folders you own transferred to another individual at U-M or, preferably, a Google shared drive owned by the unit before you leave. For more information regarding U-M Google offboarding, refer to Google: Accounts for People Who Leave U-M.

Search for Files Owned by You

You should search for all files owned by you in My Drive and/or a specific folder in My Drive to then determine what should/shouldn’t be transferred to the new owner.

(Video) Change Ownership of a File in Google Drive (as User or Admin)

To search for all files owned by you in My Drive:

  1. Go to Google Drive.
  2. Click the Search options icon (Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (1)) to the right of the search field at the top of the page.
  3. Select Owned by me from the Owner drop-down menu.
  4. Select My Drive from the Location drop-down menu and click Select.

Tip: It is recommended that you narrow your scope to specific folders you want to search within as it will return a more manageable list of search results. Hover over the My Drive option in the Location drop-down menu, click the right arrow that appears, select the folder within which you want to search, and click Select.

  1. Click Search.

Note: Your search results may return a lot of files, so be sure to keep scrolling the page until all results have loaded. You can also adjust the search criteria from the Search results page by using the options at the top of the page.

Transfer Ownership to Another Individual at U-M

Note: You will need to change the ownership of files at the file level and not the folder level. Google folder ownership is not cascading, which means that changing the owner of a folder does not automatically change the ownership of each file within that folder.

To transfer ownership of a file to another individual at U-M, it must already be shared with them. If the user you intend to transfer ownership to is not shared on the file(s), do so before proceeding with the next steps.

(Video) Google Drive - How to Transfer File Ownership

Caution: If there are Google Shortcuts (i.e., links that reference another Drive file or folder) within your search results, you will need to unselect those before attempting to bulk share and transfer ownership of multiple files, or they will prevent you from bulk sharing/transferring. Unfortunately, there is no way to exclude Shortcuts from your search results at this time.

Bulk share files

If there are multiple files they need to be shared on:

  1. Click and drag your cursor over the relevant files from your search results to select them.

Tip: Click the List view icon (Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (2)) in the top right of the results to make it easier to view and select the files.

Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (3)

  1. Click the Share icon (Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (4)) in the top right of the results.
  2. Enter the email address of the individual to which you’d like to transfer ownership in the Add people and groups field.
  3. Uncheck the Notify people box to avoid sending the individual multiple email notifications and click Send.

Bulk transfer ownership

Once the individual has been shared on the files, you can now bulk transfer ownership to them.

(Video) Google Drive - Transfer Ownership of Folder / Document

  1. Click and drag your cursor over the relevant files from your search results to select them.

Tip: Click the List view icon (Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (5)) in the top right of the results to make it easier to view and select the files.

  1. Click the Share icon (Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (6)) in the top right of the results.
  2. Click the drop-down menu beside the individual to which you want to transfer ownership and select Transfer ownership.
  3. Click Yes and then click Done.

Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (7)

The individual will automatically become the new owner. Depending on how many files are transferred at once, the individual may receive several emails alerting them, “You're now the owner of # items.”

Note: If you transfer ownership of a lot of files/folders at once, it may take some time for you to notice the changes reflected in your My Drive.

Transfer Ownership to a Google Shared Drive

It is recommended that you choose to move your university business-related files into a Google shared drive. Shared drives are owned by a group rather than an individual, which makes offboarding easier for your department/unit. If your team does not have a shared drive, refer to Shared Drives in U-M Googlefor more information.

(Video) Transfer Ownership of Google Drive Files, Folders & Shared Drives To Different Domains

Note: You are unable to move folders from My Drive into a shared drive at this time.

To transfer ownership of your files to a shared drive:

  1. Ensure you have the correct permissions to move files from My Drive to the shared drive.

Note: You must be assigned at least a Contributor at the shared drive level to move files from your My Drive into a shared drive.

  1. Click the Shared drives drop-down in the left sidebar and find the drive into which you’ll be moving the files. (If there is a specific folder within the shared drive you’ll be moving the files into, ensure that it is visible by clicking the shared drive name drop-down.)
  2. Click and drag your cursor over the relevant files from your search results to select them.

Tip: Click the List view icon (Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (8)) in the top right of the results to make it easier to view and select the files.

  1. Click and drag the files into the shared drive shown in the left sidebar.
  2. Click Move to confirm.

Transfer Ownership of Files in Google Drive (9)

(Video) How To: Transfer Ownership of Files and Folders in Google Drive

Additional Resources


Why can't I transfer ownership of a file in Google Drive? ›

Unfortunately, you can only set a new owner for files created in Google apps. In other words, you can change the owner of Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings and My Maps. You can transfer ownership of a folder as well, but changing the owner of the folder won't change the owners of the files within that folder.

How do I change ownership of a file? ›

Use the following procedure to change the ownership of a file.
  1. Become superuser or assume an equivalent role.
  2. Change the owner of a file by using the chown command. # chown new-owner filename. new-owner. ...
  3. Verify that the owner of the file has changed. # ls -l filename.

Does transferring ownership of files on Google Drive free up storage space? ›

You can transfer the ownership to anyone you would like (or you can transfer the ownership to your other Google accounts) but it won't free up storage space on your G Drive. This is because it stores the files in your storage space. To free space, you can delete or move the files to other locations.

Can you transfer ownership of multiple Google Docs at once? ›

Transfer Ownership of Multiple Documents

You can do this the same way as you'd select multiple files on your computer: To select several documents in a row, click the first, then hold down shift, and click the last one in the list.

What happens when you change the owner of a Google Drive folder? ›

When you make someone else the owner of a folder, you still own the files inside. Learn more about sharing folders. Tip: If you transfer ownership of a lot of files and folders at once, it may take some time for you to see the changes.

How do I transfer ownership of a subfolder in Google Drive? ›

Change Ownership of a File or Folder
  1. Click on the file/folder.
  2. Click Share.
  3. Share the file with the designated person and click the Down arrow.
  4. Click Make owner.
  5. Click Save changes.

How do I change ownership of a folder? ›

Change Ownership From the Collaborators menu
  1. Open the folder. You will see a list of Collaborators in the right pane. ...
  2. Find the collaborator you want to give ownership to.
  3. Click on the button to Change collaborator permission.
  4. Select Owner from the drop-down.
  5. Click Okay to confirm the change.

How do I change ownership of a shared folder? ›

Right-click or control-click the correct folder and select Share…. Click the dropdown arrow next to the person you'd like to make the owner. Select Make owner.

How to transfer ownership of Google Drive folder outside domain? ›

Transfer Ownership of All Documents in Google Drive
  1. Sign-in to the Google Admin console.
  2. Go to Apps > Google Apps > Drive.
  3. Click Transfer ownership.
  4. Complete the Document ownership transfer section:
  5. In the From field, enter the username of the current owner and select the user's domain.
Sep 18, 2018

What happens to Google Drive files when the owner account is deleted? ›

If you don't transfer files at the time you delete a user, the user's files are deleted 20 days later. If you act quickly, you can restore the deleted user and transfer ownership of their files before they're permanently deleted.

What happens to my data if I stop paying for Google Drive storage? ›

Until you reduce the amount of storage you use, neither you nor anyone else can edit or copy your files. Syncs stop between your computer's Google Drive folder and My Drive. Important: As of June 1, 2021, if you remain inactive or go over your storage quota for 2 years or longer, all of your content may be deleted.

Does removing a file from Google Drive delete it for everyone? ›

After you delete a file permanently, anyone you've shared the file will lose access to it. If you want others to be able to view the file, you can transfer ownership to someone else.

How do I take ownership of multiple files? ›

Here's how to take ownership and get full access to files and folders in Windows 10.
  1. MORE: How to Use Windows 10.
  2. Right-click on a file or folder.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Click the Security tab.
  5. Click Advanced.
  6. Click "Change" next to the owner name.
  7. Click Advanced.
  8. Click Find Now.
May 23, 2022

How do I take ownership of all subfolders and files? ›

Input cmd in your search box and open Command Prompt with elevated rights by selecting Run as administrator. Type in this takeown command: takeown /F "C:\Program Files\WindowsApps” Press the Enter keyboard key to take ownership of the folder.

What does transfer ownership mean in Google Drive? ›

Note: You continue to own the files inside when you transfer folder ownership Google Drive to another person. However& you will no longer transfer ownership to someone else or permanently or uninstall the file from Google Drive after moving ownership to another person.

What happens if owner delete shared folder in Google Drive? ›

If you delete a folder that you shared with others& you and others will lose access to it. This is because you own it and deleted it as the owner.

Can only the owner of a Google Doc delete it? ›

If you're the owner of the file, others can view it until you permanently delete the file. If you're not the owner, others can see the file even if you empty your trash. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides app. Tap Remove.

When you delete a user which of the following can be transferred to a new owner? ›

All of a user's data is deleted, unless you transfer it to another user. You might need to transfer some data, such as Gmail data or Drive files, before you delete the user. Some data isn't deleted, such as any groups the user created.

Will the owner know if you open their file in Google Drive? ›

You can see information about the activity on your file, including: Shared with tab: Shows people you've shared the file with. You can also email collaborators. All viewers (organization) tab: Shows people in your organization who have viewed the file.

Does Google Drive ever expire? ›

How long do I have until my content gets deleted? If your account is subject to this policy change, we'll attempt to give you ample notice (at least three months) before your content may be deleted. Your content will be eligible for deletion when you have been over your storage quota for 2 years.

Will Google Drive delete my files if I don't pay? ›

None of the data will be deleted from your cloud storage account and you can still access all your files without any problem. Following things will happen when you stop paying for cloud storage: Drive: After your account expires, all the items will stay perfectly fine, and downloadable and you can view them just fine.

Is Google getting rid of free storage? ›

Google Photos will no longer include unlimited free storage

You'll have just 15GB of free storage starting in June 2021.

How do you stop people from deleting you on Google Drive? ›

Prevent users from deleting files and folders
  1. In Google Drive, open an AODocs library where you are defined as an library administrator.
  2. Press the gear button and select Security center.
  3. In the Security center pop-up, select the Security tab.
  4. Select the checkbox Only administrators can delete files and folders.
Jan 4, 2023

How do I fix permissions on Google Drive? ›

Get permission to open a file
  1. Open the file.
  2. On the "You need permission" page, click Request access.
  3. The owner of the file will get an email asking for approval. After they approve your request, you'll get an email.

Why am I not the owner of my Google Docs? ›

It is most likely caused by the following reasons: The person who owns the file is the only user who can transfer ownership of the file. Perhaps you do not have the right to transfer ownership. In Google Drive, the transfer of ownership is limited to documents, pictures, etc., but not to video files.

What are the different permissions in Google Drive? ›

To set permissions for a file:

Click the drop-down arrow. under Get Link. Choose to share the file with Anyone with the link. To decide what people can do with your file when you share it, select either, Viewer, Commenter, or Editor.

What does changing drive permissions mean? ›

That means a user with edit permissions on a folder can edit, move, or copy files and folders located inside it — and even delete if your settings are configured to full access on Team Drives.

How do I tell who has permission to access my Google Drive? ›

How to Check Who Has Access to a Google Drive File. To check the list of people who can see your file, right-click the file in question and click Share. A window will appear showing you all the people who have access to your file. If you haven't shared it with anyone, you'll only see yourself on the list.


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