Access Your Files From Anywhere With Google Drive [Android]

Chris Hoffman 12-09-2012

If you’re using Google Drive on your computer A Look At Google Drive, Google's Long-Awaited Cloud Storage Service After more than 6 years of rumors and a long-ago cancellation because "files are so 1990", Google Drive is finally here. Coming with 5 GB of free storage space, a Dropbox-like desktop sync client, and... Read More and you own an Android smartphone or tablet, you should install Google Drive for Android. With the app, you can access the files in your Google Drive from anywhere – just drop a file into the Google Drive folder on your computer and it will be available in the app. Google Drive for Android also incorporates Google Docs, so you can edit your documents and spreadsheets on the go.


Google Drive has support for making files available offline, which is ideal if you have a Nexus 7 Google Nexus 7 (16GB) Android Tablet Review and Giveaway We purchased a 16GB Nexus 7 for $249 which I've been reviewing for a week or so now, and I've really grown to love the little thing. We'll be giving it away at the end... Read More (or other Android tablet 4 Reasons to Buy an Android Tablet Over an iPad There are alternatives to the iPad on the market, and not all of them are as crappy as some would have you believe. Read More ), or just don’t want to use much expensive cell phone data Keep Your Cellphone Bill Under Control With DroidStats [Android 1.6+] Read More .

Using the App

You can install Google Drive for Android from Google Play – although many Google apps come by default with the Nexus 7 and other Android devices, Google Drive doesn’t. If you already had the Google Docs app installed, you’ll notice that it was automatically upgraded to the new Google Drive.

Google Drive has both a smartphone interface and a tablet interface, so it’s optimized for the screen size you’re using it on.

google drive

Using it is simple – just open the app and select a category to browse your files. Google Drive uses the Google account you have set up on your device, so there’s no need to log in. If you have multiple Google accounts configured, you can tap the name of your account in the app to switch between accounts.


Tap a file to open it – the file will be downloaded to your device. This makes it easy to send files between your computer and Android – just drop them in the Google Drive folder on your PC and open them in the app.

Note that Google Drive for Android doesn’t work like Google Drive for PCs — files aren’t automatically synchronized to your smartphone or tablet. Files are only downloaded to your device when you open them or when you make them available offline.

Accessing Files Offline

Long-press a file to access more options. From the long-press menu, you can share files with others, make them available offline, or perform other file operations, such as renaming or deleting the file.

google drive android


Files you’ve made available for use offline can be accessed from the Offline category. Other categories allow you to view all your files, files shared with you, favorite files you’ve starred, or files you’ve recently used.

google drive android

Uploading Files

Google Drive makes it easy to upload pictures and other files from your smartphone or tablet to your Google Drive account. You can use the Upload button within the app to upload a file or select a file in any application, tap the Share button, and select Google Drive. For example, you can easily upload photos and screenshots The 5 Best Ways to Take a Screenshot on Any Android Phone We show you how to take a screenshot on Android. Choose between default shortcuts and apps to capture your Android phone. Read More from the Gallery app – your pictures will then be accessible in the Google Drive folder on your computer.

google drive android


Editing Google Docs

Google Drive incorporates the old Google Docs app, so you can create and edit documents and spreadsheets from within the Google Drive app. You can create a new document or spreadsheet from the New button.

To view or edit an existing document or spreadsheet, just tap it in the Google Drive app – an in-app Google Docs editor will appear. Like with Google Docs in your browser, you can collaborate with other people in real time from the Android app – any changes you make will be immediately visible to others. Other people will also be able to see your edits as you make them. Unfortunately, you can’t yet edit documents offline, although you can view them offline if you’ve made them available offline.

google drive

Google Drive is a solid Android app that’s essential to anyone that uses Google Drive on their PC. Most of the features you’d need are here, although the lack of offline editing is something that sticks out — Google will hopefully add offline editing in the future.


For more Google Drive tips, check out our list of tips and tricks for Google Drive 7 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Google Drive Google Drive is a great service, but installing the Google Drive application and synchronizing some files is just the first step. These tricks will help you take advantage of Google Drive, both on the desktop... Read More .

Have you tried Google Drive for Android? How did it work for you? Or do you prefer another cloud storage service Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You? Have you changed the way you think about cloud storage? The popular options of Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive have been joined by others. We help you answer which cloud storage service should you use. Read More , such as Dropbox 8 Of The Best Mobile Apps For Your Dropbox [Android / iOS] We've really only just reached the point were lots of apps are being written with integration to cloud storage in mind. Because of this, you may not have realised that quite a few very useful... Read More ? Leave a comment and let us know!

Related topics: Google Docs, Google Drive, Remote Access.

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  1. Dymond
    March 10, 2016 at 2:02 am

    My daughter did an assignment at school with Google drive but I cannot access it with my tablet. How can I find it?

  2. Mamello
    December 19, 2014 at 5:39 am


    I installed Google drive on my work PC and my personal laptop but i cant access files on my laptop.

  3. Neil Fleming
    March 6, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    How do you change the program to open documents on google drive for Android? After the initial selection, that screen is never shown again so if, for example, you choose Acrobat and want to change it to Kindle, there seems to be no way to do this. Please help.


  4. Aeman Amin
    October 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    good app to backup your assgnmnt,if u forgot to bring the pendrive,just online and download..=D

    • Chris Hoffman
      October 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      When I was in school, we had to email files to ourselves! Of course, when I was younger, we stored our files on floppy disks.

      Man, I'm only in my mid-20's, but I already sound ancient.

  5. Aravind Pk
    September 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    wow..this is such an amazing app

  6. GayashanNA
    September 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I use Google Drive for most of my work in university. It's great on android on the go and useful for pc if you use it on office with Google Cloud Connect. [Broken Link Removed]

  7. Cora B
    September 13, 2012 at 3:52 am

    I love my google drive. Good to know they have it for android.

  8. xbalesx
    September 13, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Cool beans, just launched my gdrive and made the switch over to Google apps for our business.

  9. Alex Downs
    September 13, 2012 at 1:57 am

    I love Google Drive, it's basically the only word processor, excel, etc... I use. I use it on my computer, netbook, and Android Tablet.

    • Chris Hoffman
      September 25, 2012 at 12:57 am

      Me too, really! Works for me, but I just do text documents and light spreadsheets.

  10. Bonnie Fung
    September 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Actually this is almost essential for post-secondary students.. Can't really do group work without it :) Great for saving research.

    • Chris Hoffman
      September 25, 2012 at 12:56 am

      Good point. The collaboration features in Docs are amazing.

  11. Alex Perkins
    September 12, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Google drive is an awesome app, I use it all the time for doing school work. I can save my work there, then say I need to do some corrections after going through an essay with a teacher, I can edit it on my phone instead of having to wait to go home to do it there.

  12. Bear Silvershade
    September 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Might also help people to mention that Google Drive is also available for iOS devices. Works the same. Download from Apple's app store.

    • Chris Hoffman
      September 25, 2012 at 12:55 am

      Yup -- the app will behave differently, but good point.