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My Google Drive client (version 54) on macOS Big Sur started insisting that I install some kind of system extension in order to mirror files locally offline.

It wants me to restart the Mac, go into some kind of system recovery mode, and set it to "reduced security" before restarting to allow Drive to run a system extension. Seems like a huge hassle for a simple task, potentially insecure, and wasn't required previously anyway. What gives?

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Answering my own question because I figured it out.

It was requiring this advanced scenario because I had chosen a different, custom folder in which it would store my offline Drive files. Somehow the system was preventing Drive from accessing this local folder without heightened privileges. The solution was easy:

  1. Delete Drive app, delete local Drive folder
  2. RE-install, choose "Mirror files"
  3. Let it keep its own defaults for the folder (do not rename it!)

After that, all files started syncing normally without any system extension need.

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  • It might be relevant to show the incorrect directory that you originally chose as that might be the reason. (My google drive works in a changed directory)
    – mmmmmm
    Jan 5, 2022 at 12:32
  • Well maybe I'm wrong then about the cause? When it asked me about a directory to use for the offline mirrored files, "/Users/MyUserName/My Drive" was the default suggestion but I only changed it to "Google Drive" instead of My Drive. That was when it wanted elevated privileges. I wonder if some conflict with folder/disk permissions? Or maybe that I already made the folder with that name, so that Finder considered it its own instead of having been "created" and managed by Drive? Jan 6, 2022 at 1:14

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