Moving to Linux? Bring your Google Drive with you

Welcome to the world of Linux, newbie! It may take some time getting used to the network of distros and repositories but if there’s one thing you shouldn’t be worried about when making the switch, it’s your Google Drive files. Seamlessly managing and accessing your Google Drive files is a must, especially if you don’t plan on abandoning your macOS or Windows machine entirely.

A Google Drive workflow for multiple machines

Unfortunately, there’s no official Google Drive client on Linux but fortunately, there’s Insync! I’ve used multiple methods of synchronising my Google Drive (and Google Photos) with Linux, but Insync must be by far the easiest and most reliable way of doing it. It runs across Linux, Windows, and macOS.

Insync can do a plethora of things for you but we’ll be highlighting three workflows that will let you easily manage and access your Google Drive files. These are:

  • Syncing Google Drive files to a local machine
  • Syncing local files to Google Drive in two clicks
  • Syncing Google Drive files across multiple computers and platforms

To make use of these features, you’ll need Insync installed on all your machines.

All set? Let’s dive right into it.

Syncing Google Drive files to a local machine

This workflow will give you offline access to your Google Drive files. To do this, follow these simple steps:

Open Insync. When you do, you’ll see your Google Drive directory in the app UI.

  1. Click the Selective Sync icon to enter Selective Sync mode.
  2. Select which files and folders you wish to sync. Click apply and wait for Insync to finish syncing.
  3. Insync with Google Drive
  4. You’ll find your Google Drive files now available locally in your Insync folder.
  5. Insync with Google Drive

    Syncing local files to Google Drive in two clicks

    This workflow allows you to sync your files up to Google Drive without having to open your browser. To do this, follow these simple steps:

    1. Locate the file or folder you wish to sync in your computer.
    2. Right-click the file or folder and select Add to Insync. Then, select which Google Account you wish to sync it to.
    3. Insync with Google Drive
    4. Wait for Insync to finish syncing your file and you’ll find your local file now available in Google Drive!
    Insync with Google Drive

    Syncing Google Drive files across multiple computers and platforms

    This workflow allows you to seamlessly access your Google Drive files across multiple computers and platforms. This is great if you use multiple computers on a regular basis such as a Linux desktop for work and a Macbook for home. To do this, follow these simple steps:

    1. Make sure Insync is installed in both computers (Computer A and Computer B).
    2. Right-click the file or folder you want to sync and click Add to Insync. Then, select which Google Account you wish to sync it to.
    3. Insync with Google Drive
    4. Go to Computer B and open your Insync folder.
    5. You’ll find your file from Computer A now available locally in Computer B!
    Insync with Google Drive

    Conclusion

    Insync makes it really easy to synchronise all your content from your Windows, Mac and Linux machine to and from Google Drive. It is definitely my choice when it comes to Google Drive sync tools and is well worth the cost. 

    It’s worth knowing too, if you are a command line junkie you can do all of the insync items from the insync cli tool, and run it completely ‘headless’. 

    If you’re interested in syncing your Google Photos to a Linux desktop, there’s another workflow that can help you achieve that! You can check Insync’s blog post about it here.

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