I am using a Mac running OS 12.1. I am switching to Google Drive from another cloud service.

I didn't notice it at the time of installation, but it installed to /Volumes/GoogleDrive, with My Drive and Shared drives subdirectories.

Should I keep it here, or should I move it to ../Users/[adamg]? What would be the advantage/disadvantage of each location? Which would be easier for syncing between the cloud and my local machine?

  • 1
    are you sure the virtual "/Volumes/GoogleDrive" drive is actually not in your User folder? Feb 5, 2022 at 17:59
  • Which exact version of google are you installing? Are you willing to update to a beta 12.3 to test if that software works with the impending release of 12.3?
    – bmike
    Feb 5, 2022 at 18:17
  • 1
    I would say do not beta unless your backup system is robust. Betas are stable until the moment they aren’t and then it’s too late… With APFS you can easily carve out space for a new OS and new data, partition though and not affect the current system - so again, it’s mostly do you have a backup and time to erase / restore to limit risk in testing.
    – bmike
    Feb 5, 2022 at 22:02
  • 2
    See the answer from @bmike. The next few months are going to be a tricky time for users of many cloud sync providers. So I would not be changing now unless you have a clear understanding how GoogleDrive (or any other) will work with macOS 12.2. At least with OneDrive, Microsoft have been upfront describing the changes even if you (and many others) are unhappy.
    – Gilby
    Feb 6, 2022 at 3:13
  • 2
    OneDrive changes: techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-onedrive-blog/…
    – Gilby
    Feb 6, 2022 at 3:37

3 Answers 3


As you have discovered, Google Drive install creates a volume called GoogleDrive (no space in the middle). This is not a real volume in the sense that it is an APFS volume. Rather it is a bit of software magic. The installation also creates an alias Google Drive (with a space) in your home folder pointing to /Volumes/GoogleDrive.

As far as I can tell, and if you have elected to "Stream Files", the cache for locally stored Google Drive files in in ~/Library/Application Support/Google/DriveFS.

If you have chosen to "Mirror Files" then all your Google Drive is synchronised to the location you specify. As before the installation creates an alias Google Drive in your home folder which points to the location you have chosen.

Note that, unlike the current OneDrive, you make a clear choice between steaming and mirroring your Google Drive cloud.

The above all works with macOS 12.3 beta 1, so may continue to work (without a Google update) with the release of macOS 12.3 (in April??). Someone else may have a more authoritative position on that.

I am unclear as to whether Google Drive has or has not made the transition to the Apple File Provider Framework, but note that it still uses the green tick mark for downloaded files when streaming files.


Apple is about to force all cloud sync products on macOS to use the system cloud file provider framework by cutting off FUSE and KAUTH type kernel extensions on macOS 12.3. This quarter is a very confusing time to understand how each provider has [or not] prepared us for this cutoff at the last possible moment.

If google drive in your case is already using the FileProvider Framework introduced on macOS 10.15 you can consult their guide and decide if you leave the sync folder alone.

I was not able to find any specific technical guidance on google drive, but welcome edits if others know better.

You probably want to leave the files where they are and make shortcuts to them until you’re sure google is done with changing their code and app and you’re sure you are using the new file provider frameworks for macOS.

  • 2
    Google Drive still uses the green tick mark for locally stored files on macOS 12.2, the new framework uses a grey one. That is purely from my observation, I have no documented source. So I think GoogleDrive is yet to make the transition.
    – Gilby
    Feb 6, 2022 at 3:33
  • I love your answer @Gilby I am very aware of how OneDrive will affect us at work and lack any G suite experience. I think once the transition is done and bugs patched, we all will be able to make use of the new tool. Uncertainty reins for me at present.
    – bmike
    Feb 6, 2022 at 16:10
  • Google hasn't been using a kernel extension for a while now. File Streaming has instead been based on an SMB mount, provided by the application itself. This continues to work on MacOS 12.3 and beyond, but they're still switching to the File Provider framework.
    – lxgr
    Jun 17, 2022 at 2:47
  • I just upgraded from macOS Catalina to Monterey (v12.6.1 21G217), as I was forced to because of a new-MacBook purchase (normally I only upgrade when forced to, to retain stability for exactly these scenarios). I depend significantly on Google Drive folder mirroring. This report/answer suggestions (if I'm understanding things correctly) that Google Drive macOS v12.3+ folder/storaging mirroring is essentially unreliable for the time being... which is a DISASTER for me. So... can anyone provide a status update or reference to the stability/reliability of the GoogleDrive-macOS solution? Nov 23, 2022 at 23:07

Presumably, if you did not alter the default settings, the application installer selected that location as to be the most suitable.

Depending on your system configuration the advantages and disadvantages may vary. So a list cannot be given without examining your specific configuration. A possible example of why moving it into a specific user directory may be disadvantageous would be that it would introduce issues if another user on your computer were to access the program, or some specific feature thereof. Obviously if you don’t intend to ever allow another user access to the program this would not be an issue. But there may be other issues peculiar to your configuration.

  • There won't be other users. But what about compatibility with stuff like python or conda. If my environments were created in /Users/adamg/opt/miniconda3/envs/..., will this create issues when running code stored on Google Drive?
    – Adam_G
    Feb 5, 2022 at 22:05
  • @Adam_G I think that you should mention that you have that specific use case because in the past have been a lot of post having issues around it i.e. file duplication as Google Drive on the cloud don't use path + file name but file ids.
    – Rubén
    Feb 6, 2022 at 4:53

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