Google Drive can be accessed anywhere through a browser. But Google Drive for desktop Mac is also an option. A desktop app allows you to view and manage your files in Finder or other file managers. Depending on the settings you use, it can also keep a copy of your files stored locally as a backup. Overall, it’s worth considering if you’re a regular Google Drive user.
Use the first option to save hard drive space and data. With the second one, you will be able to access your files faster and while offline.
The Google Drive desktop app is well-made, but its main limitation is that it only supports the Google cloud service. In many cases, you’d also want to use OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, and other clouds. But it’s inconvenient to have many apps on your system at the same time, and some of them don’t offer the same level of quality. That’s where CloudMounter comes in - it can connect multiple drives from different service providers, and they will all be accessible in Finder.
This way, you can also make the most of free storage offered by each service. Connect them all, and you can save a couple dozen gigabytes of disk space. CloudMounter also has its own optional encryption layer.
Once the app is up and running, Google Drive for Mac will be shown as an icon on your Menu Bar. From there, you can expand it, see some stats, and configure the Drive to your liking. The Google Drive folder will show up in Finder as a separate external device. Depending on the settings you choose, the files will either be stored on your system (in the configurable cached files directory), or streamable, in which case they will show up as shortcuts.
In addition to your uploaded files, the desktop app allows you to access your Docs, Sheets, and slides. A basic free Google account can support 15 GB of storage, which can be expanded by subscribing to Google One.
There are two options for file syncing in the desktop version of Google Drive - Streaming and Mirroring. You can switch between them in the app’s Preferences, and there are also other related settings that affect local file storage, such as the caching directory.
Streaming is the option that doesn’t store files locally. If you select it, the files can still be seen and managed like the files on your hard drive, but if you want to open them, they will have to be downloaded on-the-go.
On the other hand, Mirroring will always keep a copy of your cloud-stored files on your Mac. It’s not the best mode to use if you have a limited internet data plan, or lack hard drive space. However, the files will always be accessible without downloading. And you can also open them without connecting to the Web.
The Google Drive web interface is already decent, but there are several reasons you might want to download Google Drive for macOS.
The Drive icon on your Menu Bar will open a pop-up when clicked. This pop-up can be used to configure the app and get some info about your Google storage, including recent file operations and syncing status.
Preferences can be found by clicking the gear icon in the top right of the pop-up, and selecting them from the menu. They include two tabs:
Additionally, you can use the gear icon in Preferences to access Settings, which are mainly centered around bandwidth and Internet data use.
The desktop app, and alternative apps such as CloudMounter, create an easy way to backup Mac to Google Drive. They are pretty safe, convenient, and come with features that can’t be found in the browser client. Try one of these apps if you want to optimize your cloud storage experience.
Frequently Asked Questions: