Google Drive

Paths are specified as drive:path

Drive paths may be as deep as required, e.g. drive:directory/subdirectory.


The initial setup for drive involves getting a token from Google drive which you need to do in your browser. rclone config walks you through it.

Here is an example of how to make a remote called remote. First run:

 rclone config

This will guide you through an interactive setup process:

No remotes found, make a new one?
n) New remote
r) Rename remote
c) Copy remote
s) Set configuration password
q) Quit config
n/r/c/s/q> n
name> remote
Type of storage to configure.
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
XX / Google Drive
   \ "drive"
Storage> drive
Google Application Client Id - leave blank normally.
Google Application Client Secret - leave blank normally.
Scope that rclone should use when requesting access from drive.
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Full access all files, excluding Application Data Folder.
   \ "drive"
 2 / Read-only access to file metadata and file contents.
   \ "drive.readonly"
   / Access to files created by rclone only.
 3 | These are visible in the drive website.
   | File authorization is revoked when the user deauthorizes the app.
   \ "drive.file"
   / Allows read and write access to the Application Data folder.
 4 | This is not visible in the drive website.
   \ "drive.appfolder"
   / Allows read-only access to file metadata but
 5 | does not allow any access to read or download file content.
   \ "drive.metadata.readonly"
scope> 1
Service Account Credentials JSON file path - needed only if you want use SA instead of interactive login.
Remote config
Use web browser to automatically authenticate rclone with remote?
 * Say Y if the machine running rclone has a web browser you can use
 * Say N if running rclone on a (remote) machine without web browser access
If not sure try Y. If Y failed, try N.
y) Yes
n) No
y/n> y
If your browser doesn't open automatically go to the following link:
Log in and authorize rclone for access
Waiting for code...
Got code
Configure this as a Shared Drive (Team Drive)?
y) Yes
n) No
y/n> n
client_id = 
client_secret = 
scope = drive
root_folder_id = 
service_account_file =
token = {"access_token":"XXX","token_type":"Bearer","refresh_token":"XXX","expiry":"2014-03-16T13:57:58.955387075Z"}
y) Yes this is OK
e) Edit this remote
d) Delete this remote
y/e/d> y

See the remote setup docs for how to set it up on a machine with no Internet browser available.

Note that rclone runs a webserver on your local machine to collect the token as returned from Google if using web browser to automatically authenticate. This only runs from the moment it opens your browser to the moment you get back the verification code. This is on and it may require you to unblock it temporarily if you are running a host firewall, or use manual mode.

You can then use it like this,

List directories in top level of your drive

rclone lsd remote:

List all the files in your drive

rclone ls remote:

To copy a local directory to a drive directory called backup

rclone copy /home/source remote:backup


Rclone allows you to select which scope you would like for rclone to use. This changes what type of token is granted to rclone. The scopes are defined here.

A comma-separated list is allowed e.g. drive.readonly,drive.file.

The scope are


This is the default scope and allows full access to all files, except for the Application Data Folder (see below).

Choose this one if you aren't sure.


This allows read only access to all files. Files may be listed and downloaded but not uploaded, renamed or deleted.


With this scope rclone can read/view/modify only those files and folders it creates.

So if you uploaded files to drive via the web interface (or any other means) they will not be visible to rclone.

This can be useful if you are using rclone to backup data and you want to be sure confidential data on your drive is not visible to rclone.

Files created with this scope are visible in the web interface.


This gives rclone its own private area to store files. Rclone will not be able to see any other files on your drive and you won't be able to see rclone's files from the web interface either.


This allows read only access to file names only. It does not allow rclone to download or upload data, or rename or delete files or directories.

Root folder ID

This option has been moved to the advanced section. You can set the root_folder_id for rclone. This is the directory (identified by its Folder ID) that rclone considers to be the root of your drive.

Normally you will leave this blank and rclone will determine the correct root to use itself.

However you can set this to restrict rclone to a specific folder hierarchy or to access data within the "Computers" tab on the drive web interface (where files from Google's Backup and Sync desktop program go).

In order to do this you will have to find the Folder ID of the directory you wish rclone to display. This will be the last segment of the URL when you open the relevant folder in the drive web interface.

So if the folder you want rclone to use has a URL which looks like https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1XyfxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxKHCh in the browser, then you use 1XyfxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxKHCh as the root_folder_id in the config.

NB folders under the "Computers" tab seem to be read only (drive gives a 500 error) when using rclone.

There doesn't appear to be an API to discover the folder IDs of the "Computers" tab - please contact us if you know otherwise!

Note also that rclone can't access any data under the "Backups" tab on the google drive web interface yet.

Service Account support

You can set up rclone with Google Drive in an unattended mode, i.e. not tied to a specific end-user Google account. This is useful when you want to synchronise files onto machines that don't have actively logged-in users, for example build machines.

To use a Service Account instead of OAuth2 token flow, enter the path to your Service Account credentials at the service_account_file prompt during rclone config and rclone won't use the browser based authentication flow. If you'd rather stuff the contents of the credentials file into the rclone config file, you can set service_account_credentials with the actual contents of the file instead, or set the equivalent environment variable.

Use case - Google Apps/G-suite account and individual Drive

Let's say that you are the administrator of a Google Apps (old) or G-suite account. The goal is to store data on an individual's Drive account, who IS a member of the domain. We'll call the domain example.com, and the user foo@example.com.

There's a few steps we need to go through to accomplish this:

1. Create a service account for example.com
  • To create a service account and obtain its credentials, go to the Google Developer Console.
  • You must have a project - create one if you don't.
  • Then go to "IAM & admin" -> "Service Accounts".
  • Use the "Create Service Account" button. Fill in "Service account name" and "Service account ID" with something that identifies your client.
  • Select "Create And Continue". Step 2 and 3 are optional.
  • These credentials are what rclone will use for authentication. If you ever need to remove access, press the "Delete service account key" button.
2. Allowing API access to example.com Google Drive
  • Go to example.com's admin console
  • Go into "Security" (or use the search bar)
  • Select "Show more" and then "Advanced settings"
  • Select "Manage API client access" in the "Authentication" section
  • In the "Client Name" field enter the service account's "Client ID" - this can be found in the Developer Console under "IAM & Admin" -> "Service Accounts", then "View Client ID" for the newly created service account. It is a ~21 character numerical string.
  • In the next field, "One or More API Scopes", enter https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive to grant access to Google Drive specifically.
3. Configure rclone, assuming a new install
rclone config

n/s/q> n         # New
name>gdrive      # Gdrive is an example name
Storage>         # Select the number shown for Google Drive
client_id>       # Can be left blank
client_secret>   # Can be left blank
scope>           # Select your scope, 1 for example
root_folder_id>  # Can be left blank
service_account_file> /home/foo/myJSONfile.json # This is where the JSON file goes!
y/n>             # Auto config, n
4. Verify that it's working
  • rclone -v --drive-impersonate foo@example.com lsf gdrive:backup
  • The arguments do:
    • -v - verbose logging
    • --drive-impersonate foo@example.com - this is what does the magic, pretending to be user foo.
    • lsf - list files in a parsing friendly way
    • gdrive:backup - use the remote called gdrive, work in the folder named backup.

Note: in case you configured a specific root folder on gdrive and rclone is unable to access the contents of that folder when using --drive-impersonate, do this instead:

  • in the gdrive web interface, share your root folder with the user/email of the new Service Account you created/selected at step #1
  • use rclone without specifying the --drive-impersonate option, like this: rclone -v lsf gdrive:backup

Shared drives (team drives)

If you want to configure the remote to point to a Google Shared Drive (previously known as Team Drives) then answer y to the question Configure this as a Shared Drive (Team Drive)?.

This will fetch the list of Shared Drives from google and allow you to configure which one you want to use. You can also type in a Shared Drive ID if you prefer.

For example:

Configure this as a Shared Drive (Team Drive)?
y) Yes
n) No
y/n> y
Fetching Shared Drive list...
Choose a number from below, or type in your own value
 1 / Rclone Test
   \ "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"
 2 / Rclone Test 2
   \ "yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy"
 3 / Rclone Test 3
   \ "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
Enter a Shared Drive ID> 1
client_id =
client_secret =
token = {"AccessToken":"xxxx.x.xxxxx_xxxxxxxxxxx_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx","RefreshToken":"1/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx_xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx","Expiry":"2014-03-16T13:57:58.955387075Z","Extra":null}
team_drive = xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
y) Yes this is OK
e) Edit this remote
d) Delete this remote
y/e/d> y


This remote supports --fast-list which allows you to use fewer transactions in exchange for more memory. See the rclone docs for more details.

It does this by combining multiple list calls into a single API request.

This works by combining many '%s' in parents filters into one expression. To list the contents of directories a, b and c, the following requests will be send by the regular List function:

trashed=false and 'a' in parents
trashed=false and 'b' in parents
trashed=false and 'c' in parents

These can now be combined into a single request:

trashed=false and ('a' in parents or 'b' in parents or 'c' in parents)

The implementation of ListR will put up to 50 parents filters into one request. It will use the --checkers value to specify the number of requests to run in parallel.

In tests, these batch requests were up to 20x faster than the regular method. Running the following command against different sized folders gives:

rclone lsjson -vv -R --checkers=6 gdrive:folder

small folder (220 directories, 700 files):

  • without --fast-list: 38s
  • with --fast-list: 10s

large folder (10600 directories, 39000 files):

  • without --fast-list: 22:05 min
  • with --fast-list: 58s

Modification times and hashes

Google drive stores modification times accurate to 1 ms.

Hash algorithms MD5, SHA1 and SHA256 are supported. Note, however, that a small fraction of files uploaded may not have SHA1 or SHA256 hashes especially if they were uploaded before 2018.

Restricted filename characters

Only Invalid UTF-8 bytes will be replaced, as they can't be used in JSON strings.

In contrast to other backends, / can also be used in names and . or .. are valid names.


Google drive stores revisions of files. When you upload a change to an existing file to google drive using rclone it will create a new revision of that file.

Revisions follow the standard google policy which at time of writing was

  • They are deleted after 30 days or 100 revisions (whatever comes first).
  • They do not count towards a user storage quota.

Deleting files

By default rclone will send all files to the trash when deleting files. If deleting them permanently is required then use the --drive-use-trash=false flag, or set the equivalent environment variable.


In March 2020 Google introduced a new feature in Google Drive called drive shortcuts (API). These will (by September 2020) replace the ability for files or folders to be in multiple folders at once.

Shortcuts are files that link to other files on Google Drive somewhat like a symlink in unix, except they point to the underlying file data (e.g. the inode in unix terms) so they don't break if the source is renamed or moved about.

By default rclone treats these as follows.

For shortcuts pointing to files:

  • When listing a file shortcut appears as the destination file.
  • When downloading the contents of the destination file is downloaded.
  • When updating shortcut file with a non shortcut file, the shortcut is removed then a new file is uploaded in place of the shortcut.
  • When server-side moving (renaming) the shortcut is renamed, not the destination file.
  • When server-side copying the shortcut is copied, not the contents of the shortcut. (unless --drive-copy-shortcut-content is in use in which case the contents of the shortcut gets copied).
  • When deleting the shortcut is deleted not the linked file.
  • When setting the modification time, the modification time of the linked file will be set.

For shortcuts pointing to folders:

  • When listing the shortcut appears as a folder and that folder will contain the contents of the linked folder appear (including any sub folders)
  • When downloading the contents of the linked folder and sub contents are downloaded
  • When uploading to a shortcut folder the file will be placed in the linked folder
  • When server-side moving (renaming) the shortcut is renamed, not the destination folder
  • When server-side copying the contents of the linked folder is copied, not the shortcut.
  • When deleting with rclone rmdir or rclone purge the shortcut is deleted not the linked folder.
  • NB When deleting with rclone remove or rclone mount the contents of the linked folder will be deleted.

The rclone backend command can be used to create shortcuts.

Shortcuts can be completely ignored with the --drive-skip-shortcuts flag or the corresponding skip_shortcuts configuration setting.

If you have shortcuts that lead to an infinite recursion in your drive (e.g. a shortcut pointing to a parent folder), skip_shortcuts might be mandatory to be able to copy the drive.

Emptying trash

If you wish to empty your trash you can use the rclone cleanup remote: command which will permanently delete all your trashed files. This command does not take any path arguments.

Note that Google Drive takes some time (minutes to days) to empty the trash even though the command returns within a few seconds. No output is echoed, so there will be no confirmation even using -v or -vv.

Quota information

To view your current quota you can use the rclone about remote: command which will display your usage limit (quota), the usage in Google Drive, the size of all files in the Trash and the space used by other Google services such as Gmail. This command does not take any path arguments.

Import/Export of google documents

Google documents can be exported from and uploaded to Google Drive.

When rclone downloads a Google doc it chooses a format to download depending upon the --drive-export-formats setting. By default the export formats are docx,xlsx,pptx,svg which are a sensible default for an editable document.

When choosing a format, rclone runs down the list provided in order and chooses the first file format the doc can be exported as from the list. If the file can't be exported to a format on the formats list, then rclone will choose a format from the default list.

If you prefer an archive copy then you might use --drive-export-formats pdf, or if you prefer openoffice/libreoffice formats you might use --drive-export-formats ods,odt,odp.

Note that rclone adds the extension to the google doc, so if it is called My Spreadsheet on google docs, it will be exported as My Spreadsheet.xlsx or My Spreadsheet.pdf etc.

When importing files into Google Drive, rclone will convert all files with an extension in --drive-import-formats to their associated document type. rclone will not convert any files by default, since the conversion is lossy process.

The conversion must result in a file with the same extension when the --drive-export-formats rules are applied to the uploaded document.

Here are some examples for allowed and prohibited conversions.

export-formats import-formats Upload Ext Document Ext Allowed
odt odt odt odt Yes
odt docx,odt odt odt Yes
docx docx docx Yes
odt odt docx No
odt,docx docx,odt docx odt No
docx,odt docx,odt docx docx Yes
docx,odt docx,odt odt docx No

This limitation can be disabled by specifying --drive-allow-import-name-change. When using this flag, rclone can convert multiple files types resulting in the same document type at once, e.g. with --drive-import-formats docx,odt,txt, all files having these extension would result in a document represented as a docx file. This brings the additional risk of overwriting a document, if multiple files have the same stem. Many rclone operations will not handle this name change in any way. They assume an equal name when copying files and might copy the file again or delete them when the name changes.

Here are the possible export extensions with their corresponding mime types. Most of these can also be used for importing, but there more that are not listed here. Some of these additional ones might only be available when the operating system provides the correct MIME type entries.

This list can be changed by Google Drive at any time and might not represent the currently available conversions.

Extension Mime Type Description
bmp image/bmp Windows Bitmap format
csv text/csv Standard CSV format for Spreadsheets
doc application/msword Classic Word file
docx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document Microsoft Office Document
epub application/epub+zip E-book format
html text/html An HTML Document
jpg image/jpeg A JPEG Image File
json application/vnd.google-apps.script+json JSON Text Format for Google Apps scripts
odp application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.presentation Openoffice Presentation
ods application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.spreadsheet Openoffice Spreadsheet
ods application/x-vnd.oasis.opendocument.spreadsheet Openoffice Spreadsheet
odt application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text Openoffice Document
pdf application/pdf Adobe PDF Format
pjpeg image/pjpeg Progressive JPEG Image
png image/png PNG Image Format
pptx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.presentationml.presentation Microsoft Office Powerpoint
rtf application/rtf Rich Text Format
svg image/svg+xml Scalable Vector Graphics Format
tsv text/tab-separated-values Standard TSV format for spreadsheets
txt text/plain Plain Text
wmf application/x-msmetafile Windows Meta File
xls application/vnd.ms-excel Classic Excel file
xlsx application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet Microsoft Office Spreadsheet
zip application/zip A ZIP file of HTML, Images CSS

Google documents can also be exported as link files. These files will open a browser window for the Google Docs website of that document when opened. The link file extension has to be specified as a --drive-export-formats parameter. They will match all available Google Documents.

Extension Description OS Support
desktop freedesktop.org specified desktop entry Linux
link.html An HTML Document with a redirect All
url INI style link file macOS, Windows
webloc macOS specific XML format macOS

Standard options

Here are the Standard options specific to drive (Google Drive).


Google Application Client Id Setting your own is recommended. See https://rclone.org/drive/#making-your-own-client-id for how to create your own. If you leave this blank, it will use an internal key which is low performance.


  • Config: client_id
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


OAuth Client Secret.

Leave blank normally.


  • Config: client_secret
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Comma separated list of scopes that rclone should use when requesting access from drive.


  • Config: scope
  • Type: string
  • Required: false
  • Examples:
    • "drive"
      • Full access all files, excluding Application Data Folder.
    • "drive.readonly"
      • Read-only access to file metadata and file contents.
    • "drive.file"
      • Access to files created by rclone only.
      • These are visible in the drive website.
      • File authorization is revoked when the user deauthorizes the app.
    • "drive.appfolder"
      • Allows read and write access to the Application Data folder.
      • This is not visible in the drive website.
    • "drive.metadata.readonly"
      • Allows read-only access to file metadata but
      • does not allow any access to read or download file content.


Service Account Credentials JSON file path.

Leave blank normally. Needed only if you want use SA instead of interactive login.

Leading ~ will be expanded in the file name as will environment variables such as ${RCLONE_CONFIG_DIR}.


  • Config: service_account_file
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Deprecated: No longer needed.


  • Config: alternate_export
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false

Advanced options

Here are the Advanced options specific to drive (Google Drive).


OAuth Access Token as a JSON blob.


  • Config: token
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Auth server URL.

Leave blank to use the provider defaults.


  • Config: auth_url
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Token server url.

Leave blank to use the provider defaults.


  • Config: token_url
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


ID of the root folder. Leave blank normally.

Fill in to access "Computers" folders (see docs), or for rclone to use a non root folder as its starting point.


  • Config: root_folder_id
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Service Account Credentials JSON blob.

Leave blank normally. Needed only if you want use SA instead of interactive login.


  • Config: service_account_credentials
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


ID of the Shared Drive (Team Drive).


  • Config: team_drive
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Only consider files owned by the authenticated user.


  • Config: auth_owner_only
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Send files to the trash instead of deleting permanently.

Defaults to true, namely sending files to the trash. Use --drive-use-trash=false to delete files permanently instead.


  • Config: use_trash
  • Type: bool
  • Default: true


Server side copy contents of shortcuts instead of the shortcut.

When doing server side copies, normally rclone will copy shortcuts as shortcuts.

If this flag is used then rclone will copy the contents of shortcuts rather than shortcuts themselves when doing server side copies.


  • Config: copy_shortcut_content
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Skip google documents in all listings.

If given, gdocs practically become invisible to rclone.


  • Config: skip_gdocs
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Show all Google Docs including non-exportable ones in listings.

If you try a server side copy on a Google Form without this flag, you will get this error:

No export formats found for "application/vnd.google-apps.form"

However adding this flag will allow the form to be server side copied.

Note that rclone doesn't add extensions to the Google Docs file names in this mode.

Do not use this flag when trying to download Google Docs - rclone will fail to download them.


  • Config: show_all_gdocs
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Skip checksums on Google photos and videos only.

Use this if you get checksum errors when transferring Google photos or videos.

Setting this flag will cause Google photos and videos to return a blank checksums.

Google photos are identified by being in the "photos" space.

Corrupted checksums are caused by Google modifying the image/video but not updating the checksum.


  • Config: skip_checksum_gphotos
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Only show files that are shared with me.

Instructs rclone to operate on your "Shared with me" folder (where Google Drive lets you access the files and folders others have shared with you).

This works both with the "list" (lsd, lsl, etc.) and the "copy" commands (copy, sync, etc.), and with all other commands too.


  • Config: shared_with_me
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Only show files that are in the trash.

This will show trashed files in their original directory structure.


  • Config: trashed_only
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Only show files that are starred.


  • Config: starred_only
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Deprecated: See export_formats.


  • Config: formats
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Comma separated list of preferred formats for downloading Google docs.


  • Config: export_formats
  • Type: string
  • Default: "docx,xlsx,pptx,svg"


Comma separated list of preferred formats for uploading Google docs.


  • Config: import_formats
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Allow the filetype to change when uploading Google docs.

E.g. file.doc to file.docx. This will confuse sync and reupload every time.


  • Config: allow_import_name_change
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Use file created date instead of modified date.

Useful when downloading data and you want the creation date used in place of the last modified date.

WARNING: This flag may have some unexpected consequences.

When uploading to your drive all files will be overwritten unless they haven't been modified since their creation. And the inverse will occur while downloading. This side effect can be avoided by using the "--checksum" flag.

This feature was implemented to retain photos capture date as recorded by google photos. You will first need to check the "Create a Google Photos folder" option in your google drive settings. You can then copy or move the photos locally and use the date the image was taken (created) set as the modification date.


  • Config: use_created_date
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Use date file was shared instead of modified date.

Note that, as with "--drive-use-created-date", this flag may have unexpected consequences when uploading/downloading files.

If both this flag and "--drive-use-created-date" are set, the created date is used.


  • Config: use_shared_date
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Size of listing chunk 100-1000, 0 to disable.


  • Config: list_chunk
  • Type: int
  • Default: 1000


Impersonate this user when using a service account.


  • Config: impersonate
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Cutoff for switching to chunked upload.


  • Config: upload_cutoff
  • Type: SizeSuffix
  • Default: 8Mi


Upload chunk size.

Must a power of 2 >= 256k.

Making this larger will improve performance, but note that each chunk is buffered in memory one per transfer.

Reducing this will reduce memory usage but decrease performance.


  • Config: chunk_size
  • Type: SizeSuffix
  • Default: 8Mi


Set to allow files which return cannotDownloadAbusiveFile to be downloaded.

If downloading a file returns the error "This file has been identified as malware or spam and cannot be downloaded" with the error code "cannotDownloadAbusiveFile" then supply this flag to rclone to indicate you acknowledge the risks of downloading the file and rclone will download it anyway.

Note that if you are using service account it will need Manager permission (not Content Manager) to for this flag to work. If the SA does not have the right permission, Google will just ignore the flag.


  • Config: acknowledge_abuse
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Keep new head revision of each file forever.


  • Config: keep_revision_forever
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Show sizes as storage quota usage, not actual size.

Show the size of a file as the storage quota used. This is the current version plus any older versions that have been set to keep forever.

WARNING: This flag may have some unexpected consequences.

It is not recommended to set this flag in your config - the recommended usage is using the flag form --drive-size-as-quota when doing rclone ls/lsl/lsf/lsjson/etc only.

If you do use this flag for syncing (not recommended) then you will need to use --ignore size also.


  • Config: size_as_quota
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


If Object's are greater, use drive v2 API to download.


  • Config: v2_download_min_size
  • Type: SizeSuffix
  • Default: off


Minimum time to sleep between API calls.


  • Config: pacer_min_sleep
  • Type: Duration
  • Default: 100ms


Number of API calls to allow without sleeping.


  • Config: pacer_burst
  • Type: int
  • Default: 100


Deprecated: use --server-side-across-configs instead.

Allow server-side operations (e.g. copy) to work across different drive configs.

This can be useful if you wish to do a server-side copy between two different Google drives. Note that this isn't enabled by default because it isn't easy to tell if it will work between any two configurations.


  • Config: server_side_across_configs
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Disable drive using http2.

There is currently an unsolved issue with the google drive backend and HTTP/2. HTTP/2 is therefore disabled by default for the drive backend but can be re-enabled here. When the issue is solved this flag will be removed.

See: https://github.com/rclone/rclone/issues/3631


  • Config: disable_http2
  • Type: bool
  • Default: true


Make upload limit errors be fatal.

At the time of writing it is only possible to upload 750 GiB of data to Google Drive a day (this is an undocumented limit). When this limit is reached Google Drive produces a slightly different error message. When this flag is set it causes these errors to be fatal. These will stop the in-progress sync.

Note that this detection is relying on error message strings which Google don't document so it may break in the future.

See: https://github.com/rclone/rclone/issues/3857


  • Config: stop_on_upload_limit
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Make download limit errors be fatal.

At the time of writing it is only possible to download 10 TiB of data from Google Drive a day (this is an undocumented limit). When this limit is reached Google Drive produces a slightly different error message. When this flag is set it causes these errors to be fatal. These will stop the in-progress sync.

Note that this detection is relying on error message strings which Google don't document so it may break in the future.


  • Config: stop_on_download_limit
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


If set skip shortcut files.

Normally rclone dereferences shortcut files making them appear as if they are the original file (see the shortcuts section). If this flag is set then rclone will ignore shortcut files completely.


  • Config: skip_shortcuts
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


If set skip dangling shortcut files.

If this is set then rclone will not show any dangling shortcuts in listings.


  • Config: skip_dangling_shortcuts
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false


Resource key for accessing a link-shared file.

If you need to access files shared with a link like this


Then you will need to use the first part "XXX" as the "root_folder_id" and the second part "YYY" as the "resource_key" otherwise you will get 404 not found errors when trying to access the directory.

See: https://developers.google.com/drive/api/guides/resource-keys

This resource key requirement only applies to a subset of old files.

Note also that opening the folder once in the web interface (with the user you've authenticated rclone with) seems to be enough so that the resource key is not needed.


  • Config: resource_key
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


Work around a bug in Google Drive listing.

Normally rclone will work around a bug in Google Drive when using --fast-list (ListR) where the search "(A in parents) or (B in parents)" returns nothing sometimes. See #3114, #4289 and https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/149522397

Rclone detects this by finding no items in more than one directory when listing and retries them as lists of individual directories.

This means that if you have a lot of empty directories rclone will end up listing them all individually and this can take many more API calls.

This flag allows the work-around to be disabled. This is not recommended in normal use - only if you have a particular case you are having trouble with like many empty directories.


  • Config: fast_list_bug_fix
  • Type: bool
  • Default: true


Control whether owner should be read or written in metadata.

Owner is a standard part of the file metadata so is easy to read. But it isn't always desirable to set the owner from the metadata.

Note that you can't set the owner on Shared Drives, and that setting ownership will generate an email to the new owner (this can't be disabled), and you can't transfer ownership to someone outside your organization.


  • Config: metadata_owner
  • Type: Bits
  • Default: read
  • Examples:
    • "off"
      • Do not read or write the value
    • "read"
      • Read the value only
    • "write"
      • Write the value only
    • "failok"
      • If writing fails log errors only, don't fail the transfer
    • "read,write"
      • Read and Write the value.


Control whether permissions should be read or written in metadata.

Reading permissions metadata from files can be done quickly, but it isn't always desirable to set the permissions from the metadata.

Note that rclone drops any inherited permissions on Shared Drives and any owner permission on My Drives as these are duplicated in the owner metadata.


  • Config: metadata_permissions
  • Type: Bits
  • Default: off
  • Examples:
    • "off"
      • Do not read or write the value
    • "read"
      • Read the value only
    • "write"
      • Write the value only
    • "failok"
      • If writing fails log errors only, don't fail the transfer
    • "read,write"
      • Read and Write the value.


Control whether labels should be read or written in metadata.

Reading labels metadata from files takes an extra API transaction and will slow down listings. It isn't always desirable to set the labels from the metadata.

The format of labels is documented in the drive API documentation at https://developers.google.com/drive/api/reference/rest/v3/Label - rclone just provides a JSON dump of this format.

When setting labels, the label and fields must already exist - rclone will not create them. This means that if you are transferring labels from two different accounts you will have to create the labels in advance and use the metadata mapper to translate the IDs between the two accounts.


  • Config: metadata_labels
  • Type: Bits
  • Default: off
  • Examples:
    • "off"
      • Do not read or write the value
    • "read"
      • Read the value only
    • "write"
      • Write the value only
    • "failok"
      • If writing fails log errors only, don't fail the transfer
    • "read,write"
      • Read and Write the value.


The encoding for the backend.

See the encoding section in the overview for more info.


  • Config: encoding
  • Type: Encoding
  • Default: InvalidUtf8


Get IAM credentials from runtime (environment variables or instance meta data if no env vars).

Only applies if service_account_file and service_account_credentials is blank.


  • Config: env_auth
  • Type: bool
  • Default: false
  • Examples:
    • "false"
      • Enter credentials in the next step.
    • "true"
      • Get GCP IAM credentials from the environment (env vars or IAM).


Description of the remote.


  • Config: description
  • Type: string
  • Required: false


User metadata is stored in the properties field of the drive object.

Metadata is supported on files and directories.

Here are the possible system metadata items for the drive backend.

Name Help Type Example Read Only
btime Time of file birth (creation) with mS accuracy. Note that this is only writable on fresh uploads - it can't be written for updates. RFC 3339 2006-01-02T15:04:05.999Z07:00 N
content-type The MIME type of the file. string text/plain N
copy-requires-writer-permission Whether the options to copy, print, or download this file, should be disabled for readers and commenters. boolean true N
description A short description of the file. string Contract for signing N
folder-color-rgb The color for a folder or a shortcut to a folder as an RGB hex string. string 881133 N
labels Labels attached to this file in a JSON dump of Googled drive format. Enable with --drive-metadata-labels. JSON [] N
mtime Time of last modification with mS accuracy. RFC 3339 2006-01-02T15:04:05.999Z07:00 N
owner The owner of the file. Usually an email address. Enable with --drive-metadata-owner. string user@example.com N
permissions Permissions in a JSON dump of Google drive format. On shared drives these will only be present if they aren't inherited. Enable with --drive-metadata-permissions. JSON {} N
starred Whether the user has starred the file. boolean false N
viewed-by-me Whether the file has been viewed by this user. boolean true Y
writers-can-share Whether users with only writer permission can modify the file's permissions. Not populated and ignored when setting for items in shared drives. boolean false N

See the metadata docs for more info.

Backend commands

Here are the commands specific to the drive backend.

Run them with

rclone backend COMMAND remote:

The help below will explain what arguments each command takes.

See the backend command for more info on how to pass options and arguments.

These can be run on a running backend using the rc command backend/command.


Get command for fetching the drive config parameters

rclone backend get remote: [options] [<arguments>+]

This is a get command which will be used to fetch the various drive config parameters

Usage Examples:

rclone backend get drive: [-o service_account_file] [-o chunk_size]
rclone rc backend/command command=get fs=drive: [-o service_account_file] [-o chunk_size]


  • "chunk_size": show the current upload chunk size
  • "service_account_file": show the current service account file


Set command for updating the drive config parameters

rclone backend set remote: [options] [<arguments>+]

This is a set command which will be used to update the various drive config parameters

Usage Examples:

rclone backend set drive: [-o service_account_file=sa.json] [-o chunk_size=67108864]
rclone rc backend/command command=set fs=drive: [-o service_account_file=sa.json] [-o chunk_size=67108864]


  • "chunk_size": update the current upload chunk size
  • "service_account_file": update the current service account file


Create shortcuts from files or directories

rclone backend shortcut remote: [options] [<arguments>+]

This command creates shortcuts from files or directories.


rclone backend shortcut drive: source_item destination_shortcut
rclone backend shortcut drive: source_item -o target=drive2: destination_shortcut

In the first example this creates a shortcut from the "source_item" which can be a file or a directory to the "destination_shortcut". The "source_item" and the "destination_shortcut" should be relative paths from "drive:"

In the second example this creates a shortcut from the "source_item" relative to "drive:" to the "destination_shortcut" relative to "drive2:". This may fail with a permission error if the user authenticated with "drive2:" can't read files from "drive:".


  • "target": optional target remote for the shortcut destination


List the Shared Drives available to this account

rclone backend drives remote: [options] [<arguments>+]

This command lists the Shared Drives (Team Drives) available to this account.


rclone backend [-o config] drives drive:

This will return a JSON list of objects like this

        "id": "0ABCDEF-01234567890",
        "kind": "drive#teamDrive",
        "name": "My Drive"
        "id": "0ABCDEFabcdefghijkl",
        "kind": "drive#teamDrive",
        "name": "Test Drive"

With the -o config parameter it will output the list in a format suitable for adding to a config file to make aliases for all the drives found and a combined drive.

[My Drive]
type = alias
remote = drive,team_drive=0ABCDEF-01234567890,root_folder_id=:

[Test Drive]
type = alias
remote = drive,team_drive=0ABCDEFabcdefghijkl,root_folder_id=:

type = combine
upstreams = "My Drive=My Drive:" "Test Drive=Test Drive:"

Adding this to the rclone config file will cause those team drives to be accessible with the aliases shown. Any illegal characters will be substituted with "_" and duplicate names will have numbers suffixed. It will also add a remote called AllDrives which shows all the shared drives combined into one directory tree.


Untrash files and directories

rclone backend untrash remote: [options] [<arguments>+]

This command untrashes all the files and directories in the directory passed in recursively.


This takes an optional directory to trash which make this easier to use via the API.

rclone backend untrash drive:directory
rclone backend --interactive untrash drive:directory subdir

Use the --interactive/-i or --dry-run flag to see what would be restored before restoring it.


    "Untrashed": 17,
    "Errors": 0


Copy files by ID

rclone backend copyid remote: [options] [<arguments>+]

This command copies files by ID


rclone backend copyid drive: ID path
rclone backend copyid drive: ID1 path1 ID2 path2

It copies the drive file with ID given to the path (an rclone path which will be passed internally to rclone copyto). The ID and path pairs can be repeated.

The path should end with a / to indicate copy the file as named to this directory. If it doesn't end with a / then the last path component will be used as the file name.

If the destination is a drive backend then server-side copying will be attempted if possible.

Use the --interactive/-i or --dry-run flag to see what would be copied before copying.


Dump the export formats for debug purposes

rclone backend exportformats remote: [options] [<arguments>+]


Dump the import formats for debug purposes

rclone backend importformats remote: [options] [<arguments>+]


List files using Google Drive query language

rclone backend query remote: [options] [<arguments>+]

This command lists files based on a query


rclone backend query drive: query

The query syntax is documented at Google Drive Search query terms and operators.

For example:

rclone backend query drive: "'0ABc9DEFGHIJKLMNop0QRatUVW3X' in parents and name contains 'foo'"

If the query contains literal ' or \ characters, these need to be escaped with \ characters. "'" becomes "'" and "" becomes "\", for example to match a file named "foo ' .txt":

rclone backend query drive: "name = 'foo \' \\\.txt'"

The result is a JSON array of matches, for example:

	"createdTime": "2017-06-29T19:58:28.537Z",
	"id": "0AxBe_CDEF4zkGHI4d0FjYko2QkD",
	"md5Checksum": "68518d16be0c6fbfab918be61d658032",
	"mimeType": "text/plain",
	"modifiedTime": "2024-02-02T10:40:02.874Z",
	"name": "foo ' \\.txt",
	"parents": [
	"resourceKey": "0-ABCDEFGHIXJQpIGqBJq3MC",
	"sha1Checksum": "8f284fa768bfb4e45d076a579ab3905ab6bfa893",
	"size": "311",
	"webViewLink": "https://drive.google.com/file/d/0AxBe_CDEF4zkGHI4d0FjYko2QkD/view?usp=drivesdk\u0026resourcekey=0-ABCDEFGHIXJQpIGqBJq3MC"


Drive has quite a lot of rate limiting. This causes rclone to be limited to transferring about 2 files per second only. Individual files may be transferred much faster at 100s of MiB/s but lots of small files can take a long time.

Server side copies are also subject to a separate rate limit. If you see User rate limit exceeded errors, wait at least 24 hours and retry. You can disable server-side copies with --disable copy to download and upload the files if you prefer.

Limitations of Google Docs

Google docs will appear as size -1 in rclone ls, rclone ncdu etc, and as size 0 in anything which uses the VFS layer, e.g. rclone mount and rclone serve. When calculating directory totals, e.g. in rclone size and rclone ncdu, they will be counted in as empty files.

This is because rclone can't find out the size of the Google docs without downloading them.

Google docs will transfer correctly with rclone sync, rclone copy etc as rclone knows to ignore the size when doing the transfer.

However an unfortunate consequence of this is that you may not be able to download Google docs using rclone mount. If it doesn't work you will get a 0 sized file. If you try again the doc may gain its correct size and be downloadable. Whether it will work on not depends on the application accessing the mount and the OS you are running - experiment to find out if it does work for you!

Duplicated files

Sometimes, for no reason I've been able to track down, drive will duplicate a file that rclone uploads. Drive unlike all the other remotes can have duplicated files.

Duplicated files cause problems with the syncing and you will see messages in the log about duplicates.

Use rclone dedupe to fix duplicated files.

Note that this isn't just a problem with rclone, even Google Photos on Android duplicates files on drive sometimes.

Rclone appears to be re-copying files it shouldn't

The most likely cause of this is the duplicated file issue above - run rclone dedupe and check your logs for duplicate object or directory messages.

This can also be caused by a delay/caching on google drive's end when comparing directory listings. Specifically with team drives used in combination with --fast-list. Files that were uploaded recently may not appear on the directory list sent to rclone when using --fast-list.

Waiting a moderate period of time between attempts (estimated to be approximately 1 hour) and/or not using --fast-list both seem to be effective in preventing the problem.

SHA1 or SHA256 hashes may be missing

All files have MD5 hashes, but a small fraction of files uploaded may not have SHA1 or SHA256 hashes especially if they were uploaded before 2018.

Making your own client_id

When you use rclone with Google drive in its default configuration you are using rclone's client_id. This is shared between all the rclone users. There is a global rate limit on the number of queries per second that each client_id can do set by Google. rclone already has a high quota and I will continue to make sure it is high enough by contacting Google.

It is strongly recommended to use your own client ID as the default rclone ID is heavily used. If you have multiple services running, it is recommended to use an API key for each service. The default Google quota is 10 transactions per second so it is recommended to stay under that number as if you use more than that, it will cause rclone to rate limit and make things slower.

Here is how to create your own Google Drive client ID for rclone:

  1. Log into the Google API Console with your Google account. It doesn't matter what Google account you use. (It need not be the same account as the Google Drive you want to access)

  2. Select a project or create a new project.

  3. Under "ENABLE APIS AND SERVICES" search for "Drive", and enable the "Google Drive API".

  4. Click "Credentials" in the left-side panel (not "Create credentials", which opens the wizard).

  5. If you already configured an "Oauth Consent Screen", then skip to the next step; if not, click on "CONFIGURE CONSENT SCREEN" button (near the top right corner of the right panel), then select "External" and click on "CREATE"; on the next screen, enter an "Application name" ("rclone" is OK); enter "User Support Email" (your own email is OK); enter "Developer Contact Email" (your own email is OK); then click on "Save" (all other data is optional). You will also have to add some scopes, including

  • https://www.googleapis.com/auth/docs
  • https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive in order to be able to edit, create and delete files with RClone.
  • https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.metadata.readonly which you may also want to add.
  • If you want to add all at once, comma separated it would be https://www.googleapis.com/auth/docs,https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive,https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.metadata.readonly.
  1. After adding scopes, click "Save and continue" to add test users. Be sure to add your own account to the test users. Once you've added yourself as a test user and saved the changes, click again on "Credentials" on the left panel to go back to the "Credentials" screen.

    (PS: if you are a GSuite user, you could also select "Internal" instead of "External" above, but this will restrict API use to Google Workspace users in your organisation).

  2. Click on the "+ CREATE CREDENTIALS" button at the top of the screen, then select "OAuth client ID".

  3. Choose an application type of "Desktop app" and click "Create". (the default name is fine)

  4. It will show you a client ID and client secret. Make a note of these.

    (If you selected "External" at Step 5 continue to Step 9. If you chose "Internal" you don't need to publish and can skip straight to Step 10 but your destination drive must be part of the same Google Workspace.)

  5. Go to "Oauth consent screen" and then click "PUBLISH APP" button and confirm. You will also want to add yourself as a test user.

  6. Provide the noted client ID and client secret to rclone.

Be aware that, due to the "enhanced security" recently introduced by Google, you are theoretically expected to "submit your app for verification" and then wait a few weeks(!) for their response; in practice, you can go right ahead and use the client ID and client secret with rclone, the only issue will be a very scary confirmation screen shown when you connect via your browser for rclone to be able to get its token-id (but as this only happens during the remote configuration, it's not such a big deal). Keeping the application in "Testing" will work as well, but the limitation is that any grants will expire after a week, which can be annoying to refresh constantly. If, for whatever reason, a short grant time is not a problem, then keeping the application in testing mode would also be sufficient.

(Thanks to @balazer on github for these instructions.)

Sometimes, creation of an OAuth consent in Google API Console fails due to an error message “The request failed because changes to one of the field of the resource is not supported”. As a convenient workaround, the necessary Google Drive API key can be created on the Python Quickstart page. Just push the Enable the Drive API button to receive the Client ID and Secret. Note that it will automatically create a new project in the API Console.