I have Google Drive installed on my iMac running High Sierra. I have a folder on my machine named Google Drive. I haven't used it in a while. I seem to recall that I once had a menu item for Google Drive. Well, I no longer have a menu item for Google Drive and if I open the Google Drive folder there is only a few MB's used.

If I go to Safari and go to Google Drive it says I'm using over 10 GB of my allotted 15 GB and it lists the files which I remember copying to the drive about 2 years ago. Have things changed for Google Drive? Why does the Google Drive folder not reflect what is actually on my Google Drive? At some time in the past, I copied close to 10 GB of data to Google Drive. I have no idea how to do that now.

  • Can you spot the Google Drive app in Launchpad or /Applications directory? The menu item is not visible because the app may not have been launched.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Nov 26, 2018 at 18:41
  • The only app I can find is one called 'Backup and Sync from Google.app'. I can not find a Google.app.
    – Natsfan
    Nov 26, 2018 at 18:50
  • That's what Google Drive's desktop client is called now. google.com/drive/download
    – Nimesh Neema
    Nov 26, 2018 at 18:51
  • When I run 'Backup and Sync from Google.app' it seems to start but i can't tell if its doing anything.
    – Natsfan
    Nov 26, 2018 at 18:53

2 Answers 2


Google Drive is a Online storage, not storing on your Mac.

Just like iCloud, one-drive and others.

What you have installed on you Mac is just the Google Drive app to manage online drive, not to store information on your Mac.

Go to your Google drive online (Log in) to see it directly. It will also show you how much storage you use and how much you have left.

Know that Google Drive also serves as storage for your Gmail.

If need be download and install the Google Drive app again.

I have 2 Google drives (one comes with each Gmail). I do not use the Google Drive app on my Mac (find it not nesessary). I go online log in to Google and can see and manage my drives there.

  • If you sync the app with your mac it will mirror eveything that is online (and vice-versa). Deleting or copying anything to the folder (or the website) will reflect on the other end. What seems to be happening is he is not synced anymore. Also starting a session with another user on the mac will probably break up the link. Nov 26, 2018 at 19:40
  • Yea I know the purpose of Google Drive and what it is intended to do. I'm just confused why the Google Drive folder has a few MB of files but when I logon it says I'm using over 10 GB.
    – Natsfan
    Nov 26, 2018 at 20:01
  • well since you know !, then you know the Google Drive folder on your Mac does not contains your files.
    – Ruskes
    Nov 26, 2018 at 20:43
  • yea i can see that. but if memory serves me right it used to. Since I can't use Google Drive how do I transfer files to it... Thanks for your input.
    – Natsfan
    Nov 26, 2018 at 21:38
  • 2
    download the new version of Google Drive, now called Backup & Sync google.com/drive/download/backup-and-sync it does same and more than previous version
    – Ruskes
    Nov 26, 2018 at 22:02

FWIW, the "new" Google Drive Sync is only for enterprise gSuite users. Us lowly civilians (even if you pay for storage) still have to use Google's seemingly-inefficient Backup-and-Sync which is a bit of a dog's breakfast in how it has multiple sync paradigms with Drive Mode, Backup Mode, and Photo Sync mode. If you don't fully understand how these work together it is easy make the mistake of making copies of copies of copies of your photos which is really painful if, say, you're a Google Photos user. Anyway, if you are looking for something a bit more specific to your needs where you Google Drive is a literal drive, there are other ways (and in my opinion, better ways) of making use of your Google Drive storage as true file-level storage that behaves as you would expect a local file system.

First off, I will mention odrive which is a multcloud consolidator that works really well, has Linux support, and a CLI-only version. I doesn't support Posix info (yet) but it allows you to pick and choose which folders you want fully synced and which you want synced on demand. Also, they have a massive update around the corner with odrive2 which does some other really cool stuff with aggregating cloud storage more invisibly which is great for people who like patching together free cloud storage plans to create one coherent drive. The preservation of Posix info (ownership and file mode, for instance) may continue to be an issue because so few cloud providers actually support that and I am not sure if this is being addressed, so caveat emptor in that respect.

If you are looking for a clean way to create a virtual file system on your computer rather than an synced folder (which honestly sounds like more your cup of tea) AND preserve things like Posix info (file ownership and mode, for instance), there are two open source projects that make use of Fuse called GCSF and google-drive-ocamlfuse. They both seem to offer the same function but the developer of GCSF explains on Reddit why GCSF is supposed to be faster. I cannot support or deny these claims. In case you don't know, OSX Fuse is a well-established kernel extension not just for MacOS but also for Windows and Linux as well. It provides access to APIs so your OS has driver emulation for all kinds of file system drivers that are otherwise not natively supported on your OS. In the early days, it was to allow Linux users the ability to mount NTFS volumes, but the project has evolved quite a bit since then to the point of being downright indispensable and the standard way of mounting everything from a non-native file system, to cloud storage, to even an SSH or FTP connection. You can install osxfuse either from their site or use homebrew to perform a cask install.

There are commercial products out there that appear to do the same thing like ExpandDrive and Mountain Duck which add some really nice features like Cryptomator support as a drive so you can mount portable encrypted volumes more seamlessly than the Cryptomater app does itself.

In other words, you have a LOT of options depending on what you need, how much you're willing to hand-roll things, and whether you're open to spending money. Sorry for the lengthly description but I figured it would be helpful to know what else is out there that will probably do what you want more explicitly.

Good luck!

  • Nowadays "Google Drive Syncs" (Google Drive Desktop) is available for users of free and paid Google accounts.
    – Rubén
    Dec 15, 2021 at 1:44

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