How to transfer the ownership of a Google Drive file?

February 6, 2020 |

greater than 4 minutes

When you create a file on Google Drive or upload an item to the platform, the cloud registers you as the owner. You get full control (or access) on all the permissions (or settings) pertaining to the file. However, you might find yourself needing to transfer ownership of the file to another person. Fortunately, Google Drive provides the means through which users get to relinquish their rights to files.

Before we show you how to change the owner of a file in Google Drive, we must warn you of certain things. For one, you must understand that you will not be able to revoke the changes yourself (once you make them).

After you transfer the rights to the file to someone else, the new owner can remove you completely from the file – if they ever decide to do so.

You will no longer be able to share the file (like you used to). You also will not be able to delete it.

In other words, once you grant individual ownership of a file, you will lose all top-level privileges to the file, unless the new owner decides to transfer ownership back to you.

Google Drive does not allow joint ownership for a single file, so people cannot be the owners of an item at once.

We can only hope you have chosen the right person for the task ahead. Before you give up control over a file or item, you might be interested to know all the things you will no longer be able to do:

  • Edit the list of collaborations: You will no longer be able to add or remove members.
  • Sharing options: You will no longer be able to share the file with as many people as you like.
  • Visibility options: You will no longer be able to modify or alter the visibility options for the file.
  • Collaboration settings: You will no longer be able to determine who is allowed to change access privileges for others.
  • Delete function: You will not be able to delete the file permanently from Google Drive.

We are going to assume that the file you intend to transfer exists in your Personal Google account. Well, from such a profile, you can transfer the following file types (or items in similar formats):

  • Google Docs
  • Google Slides
  • Google Forms
  • Google Sheets
  • Google My Maps
  • Google Drawings
  • Folders

More importantly, before you try changing the ownership of a file, you have to share the file with the person to whom you intend to transfer the rights.

If all the prerequisites are met and you have everything else ready, then you can continue to the guide below.

How to make someone else the owner of a file in Google Drive

For the purposes defined in the guide here, we are going to use a Google Docs file as our example. Nevertheless, the same instructions apply to other file types (or items in other formats).

Go through these steps:

  • First, you have to fire up your preferred web browser by clicking on the app icon (which is probably on your taskbar) or double-clicking on the program shortcut (on your desktop screen).
  • Assuming the browser window has come up, you have to go to the Google Drive homepage.
  • Now, you must navigate to the file for which you want to transfer ownership and then do a right-click on it.
  • From the list of options that show up, you must select Share.
  • If you already shared the file with the individual to whom you want to transfer ownership or if that person already has access to the file, then you can skip the next four steps.
  • If you are yet to share the file in view with anyone (or the person to whom you want to grant ownership), then you must add the individual using the Share settings window (that appeared). In that case, you must continue with the steps below.
  • Fill the text box under People with the email address of the person with whom you want to share the file.
  • Click on the Send button.
  • Now, you must click on Advanced (close to the bottom-right corner of the window).
  • Assuming the Who has access screen is now up, you have to click on the drop-down box to see the available options.
  • Choose Is owner.
  • Click on the Save changes button to apply the settings for the ownership change.

Google Drive is now supposed to bring up a prompt asking you if you are sure and want to proceed with the operation.

  • Click on the Yes button to finish the job.

Google will send an email to the new owner to inform them of the transfer of ownership for the file involved. Well, you will still be able to access and use the file as long as the new owner does not revoke your access (or alter the file settings to stop you from using the file).

Note: If you transfer the ownership for a folder, then the new owner will only get ownership for the folder only, and not for any of the files inside the folder.


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