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Google Drive Desktop App to Shut Down in 2018

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In March 2018, Google will unveil yet another change that has been in progress since mid-2017. The Google Drive app for PC and Mac is being retired, to be replaced with two relatively new tools. For consistent users of Google Drive, there is no need to fear; the actual service of Google Drive isn’t being done away with. It’s just the desktop app, Drive for Mac/PC, that will be shutting down.

Google Drive Desktop

What Does This Change Mean?

First, don’t expect your desktop Drive app to work much longer; Google support for the app has been cut off since December of 2017. If you haven’t yet, you will soon begin seeing messages guiding you toward one of two replacement options that will provide you with what you need.

Keep in mind that the point of the change is to make it easier for you to store and access your files on the cloud; this doesn’t change the actual cloud service, just the way you get to your files. So after March 12, 2018, expect to delete your desktop Drive app. If you haven’t already, check into the replacement option that might be best for you or your company.

Two new desktop clients will be available to use with Google cloud storage, providing you with a few more tools overall to make your file access and storage more user-friendly. These two will take the place of the Drive app and will work on both Mac and PC.

  •        You can transition to Google’s Backup and Sync. The Backup and Sync app, released mid-2017, will replace the Drive app for desktops and works in a similar way to Drive. This allows you to easily sync files from your Drive and Google Photos and is ideal for individuals, replacing both Google Drive app and Google Photos Uploader. Rather than place all your files into the Drive folder, with Backup and Sync you can pick and choose which folders (but not files) you want to back up.
  •        You can also use Drive File Stream. Designed primarily for organizations, Drive File Stream allows you to stream files directly from the cloud and make them available offline. No need to wait to sync files; just access them directly. File Stream also offers Team Drives, while Backup does not; benefits to this app are freed-up disk space and storage as well as less bandwidth usage.
  •        Google Drive will still be accessible from the Web and smartphones. If you have files stored on the drive, you can still easily access them on the Web and through a smartphone; you just won’t be able to use your desktop app any longer.


Options for both replacement apps will be different from each other but will function in a similar way. For example, with Drive File Stream, you can access both My Drive and Team Drives when you go into Google Drive on your computer, and to sync files from your computer, it is necessary to move it to My Drive first. For Backup and Sync, you can only access My Drive; Team Drives are available only from the Web. You can sync content directly from your computer with Backup and Sync without moving it to My Drive first.

Drive File Stream allows you to access Google Drive just the same as you would any other network or local drive; Backup and Sync gives you access to Google Drive like it’s a folder on your own hard drive. Both of these apps are already available, so there’s no reason to wait until March 12 to begin the transition. If your workplace or company uses Drive and you haven’t made the switch yet, it’s best to do it sooner rather than later so employees can get used to the new desktop client or switch to Web access.

As you prepare for a Google Drive change, don’t panic; you will still be able to do the same things you could do before—with just a couple more options for getting there. If you’re used to using the Drive desktop app, it won’t take long to transition to using one of the new apps to access your content stored in the Drive. For most users, the transition will likely be fairly seamless; most users probably access Drive from a browser or tablet anyway, in which case, you won’t see any difference at all. Regardless, there are new options for accessing your content in Drive, and you can take your pick as to which will work best for you.

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