While Apple users can easily use the iCloud storage service, it comes with only 5 GB of free storage. Instead of paying extra, you can switch to using Google Drive on your Mac, giving you extra space and tools in the process.
After you install and configure Google Drive, it will appear as a folder in the Finder application. You need a Google account that is set up and configured to use Google Drive.
Install Google Backup and Sync on Mac
To access Google Drive on your Mac (and not from a browser), everything you need to download and install the Google Backup and Sync software.
Open the Google Drive website and click the “Download” button under the “Personal” section.
Agree to the terms and conditions to start downloading software. Open the DMG file after the download is complete.
On the DMG installer, drag the “Backup and Synchronize from Google” icon to the “Applications” folder on the other side.
You can access it from Launchpad or by searching for “Backup and Sync” in Spotlight Search, can be accessed by clicking on the search icon on the top right of your Mac screen or pressing the CMD + Space bar.
Depending on your macOS version, warnings about using Backup and Synchronization may appear at the first launch.
Click “Open” to allow it to launch.
You must then allow Backup and Synchronization access to your files and allow it to back up your Desktop folder.
Click “Never” if you choose not to allow this, but you will configure this option later. If not, click “OK” to allow Backup and Synchronization access.
Authorize the same for your Documents folder by clicking the “OK” button.
Click “OK” to authorize the same access for your photos and videos. This will allow them to be backed up to your Google account.
With the correct permissions applied, Backup and Synchronization will be launched.
Configure Google Backup and Sync on Mac
After the Google Backup and Sync software is launched with the correct permissions, click the “Start” button and then log in with your Google account username and password.
You then have to choose which folder from your Mac you want to synchronize with Google Drive.
Click “Understand” to start and then choose the folder you want to synchronize at the top. By default, your Desktop, Docs and Pictures folders will be synchronized. You can uncheck this if you want.
You must choose the quality of your photo and video uploads. Select the radio button next to your chosen option.
“High-Quality” will convert your photos and videos to a lower quality, but these files will not count towards your storage quota. If you choose to leave it intact, select the “Original Quality” option. This will use the Google Drive storage quota provided.
Check “Upload Photos and Videos to Google Photos” to automatically upload them to Google Photos and then click “Next” to continue.
You then have to decide which folder from your Google Drive storage you want to automatically sync to your Mac to allow you direct access.
Click “Understand” to get started. Select “Sync Everything in My Drive” to synchronize all files from your Google Drive storage, or select individual files by clicking the “Sync This Folder Only” option.
That will give you a list of available folders. Uncheck the folders that you do not want to synchronize, click “Start” to complete the configuration process, and then start synchronizing your files.
Access Google Drive on your Mac
After the Google Backup and Sync software has been configured, the configuration tool will appear in your macOS menu bar. This will give you information about the progress of all synchronized files and allow you to configure Google Drive in the future.
Your Google Drive folder will appear for you to access like other folders in the Finder, under the “Favorites” section in the menu on the left. You can launch Finder from Launchpad or by searching for it by clicking on the Spotlight search icon in the menu bar.
This folder is where you can add, edit, or delete files and folders to your Google Drive storage. Folders will also appear when you look to save or open files in other software.
Depending on the synchronization options that you choose during the setup process, your Desktop, documents, and photo files will also be automatically synced to your Google Drive storage, regardless of whether you saved it to your Google Drive storage folder directly.