Introduction

This page explains the differences between My Drive and shared drives within Google Drive.

Shared drives are similar to a file share (like files.biola.edu), though they exist in Google Drive and are easier to use and manage.

Here is a summary of the most important differences between My Drive and shared drives:

  • Shared drives exist independently of any Google account, while My Drives exist within a single Google account.
  • Files in shared drives are owned by the drive itself, and not any individual user.
  • Multiple users can access and manage shared drives. Only one user can manage My Drive.
  • Files can only be added to a shared drive by members of a shared drive.
  • At this time, users cannot migrate folders to Shared Drives without contacting IT for assistance.

Comparison Chart


Shared DrivesMy Drive
Who owns files and folders?The team/group.Individual who created the file or folder.
Who manages the files and folder?Everyone with Content Manager or Manager permissions can manage the content of a Shared Drive.Only the single user who directly logs into the My Drive's account can manage the drive.

Can I restore files?

Yes, if you have the role of Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor in the shared drive.

Yes, if you created the file.

Can I move files/folders?

Can I move data within a shared drive? Yes, if you have the Manager or Content Manager role in the shared drive.

Can I move data from My Drive to a shared drive? 

  • Files: Yes, if you are the owner of the file and have the ManagerContent Manager, or Contributor role in the shared drive.
  • Folders: No, this feature is not yet available. Only an IT Google administrator can transfer folders from a user's My Drive to a shared drive.

Can I move data from one shared drive to another? Yes, if you have the Manager role in both shared drives.

Yes.
Sharing files with others.

All users added to the shared drive will see the entire contents of the shared drive.

It is possible to share files and folders with additional users who are not in the shared drive using the standard Share feature. These users will not have access to the entire shared drive, but they will find the content shared with them in their Shared With Me section of Google Drive, like normal.

Only you have access to your My Drive. You can share files and folders with users.

Different people might see different files in a folder, depending on their access to individual files.

Receiving files from others.

Anyone who is a member of a shared drive with the proper permissions can create or move files to the shared drive.

A person cannot share a file with a shared drive using the Share feature. In other words, if someone outside of your department wants to share a file with your shared drive, they will either need to be added as a member of the shared drive, or they will need to share it with someone who is a member, and that person can add it to the shared drive.

Any file shared with the associated My Drive account (e.g. the email address) will appear in the Shared with Me section of My Drive.

Note that this file does not reside in the recipient's My Drive. It still exists in the original creator's Drive.

How long do deleted files stay in trash?Each shared drive has its own trash. Only members with the role of Manager or Content Manager can delete files. After 30 days, all files/folders in the trash are deleted permanently. Members with the role of Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor can restore shared drive content from trash.Files in the My Drive trash folder are permanently deleted after 30 days.
Attaching a Google File to a Google Calendar inviteNavigate to any shared drive file from within a Calendar invite.Navigate to any My Drive file from within a Calendar invite.
Mobile device supportShared drives are supported on mobile devices.

My Drive is supported on mobile devices.


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