Now Reading
Google Drive now lets you prevent other users from downloading, printing, and copying your files

Google Drive now lets you prevent other users from downloading, printing, and copying your files

by AshwinJuly 15, 2015

Google has announced that it is improving its cloud storage service, Google Drive, by adding a rather useful feature.


Ever heard of DRM? (Digital Rights Management). It is an anti-piracy measure employed by many websites which sell digital media, such as music, videos, and games (for e.g.: Steam).

Similarly, there are a set of rights called IRM. (Information Rights Management). These rules are used to protect digital files. Google has now employed IRM to Google Drive.

This is important, because Google Drive is not just a backup service, or something that you use to store attachments in Gmail. Google Drive is also used for professional purposes, including Google Docs.

The Mountain View company is no stranger to improving the security of its users, so its not really surprising that Google is cranking up the notch further by protecting their data.

Google Drive users can now disable downloading, printing, and copying of their files.

This new feature is available from the advanced sharing-menu of Google Drive.

Here is a screenshot of the option:


Ticking the checkbox beside it will prevent other users from accessing your data. This option isn’t exclusive to just documents. You can enable it for any file stored in Google Drive, be it spreadsheets, images, presentations, zip archives, etc.

I’m stating the obvious here, but this feature is only available for owners of the files (the uploader). It is also worth noting that this feature is exclusive to the web version of Google Drive, i.e., you can only enable it from desktops, and not from the Google drive Mobile apps.

Enabling the option will remove all sharing rights of the file as well, so if you have previously shared the file with other users, they will no longer be able to access the file for which the feature is enabled. It is unclear if the users will be notified whether a file they previously had access to, has now gone private.

For ease of identification, Google Drive will show a notification on the top of the File and Edit menus, of the files for which the option has been enabled.

It is a little weird that Google has chosen to hide this nifty little feature under “Sharing” settings. A more sensible option would have been Privacy or Security (both of which are not present in Drive).

Here is how to prevent others from downloading, printing or copying your files:

1. Right-click on any file in your Google Drive folder.

2. Click on the “Share” option, to enter the sharing settings. A small pop-up screen should open.


3. Then, click on the “Advanced” button to enter the “Advanced Sharing Settings”.


4. Now, at the bottom of the box, you will find an option which says ‘Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers’.


Check it and click on save changes to enable your new settings.