Fix: Google Drive won’t sync in Android

Google Drive is an inseparable part of the Android ecosystem and it’s hard for the likes of OneDrive or Dropbox to compete with Drive on Android. Besides the fact that it’s integrated with various important Android services (Backup and Photos come to mind first), Google Drive comes with bigger free storage and it’s known for its multiplatform capabilities. However, all of that falls apart if the essential functionality fails users. Namely, it seems that Google Drive won’t sync on Android.

Table of contents:

  1. Check the connection
  2. Enable Sync in Google Account settings
  3. Clear app’s data
  4. Sign out and sign in again with the Google account
  5. Use Drive through the web browser
  6. Reinstall the app

1. Check the connection

The first step you should take when troubleshooting any connection-dependent app is to check the connection. If your connection is unstable or the app doesn’t have permission to use background data, Drive won’t be able to connect to the storage server and, consequently, won’t be able to sync the data. For that purpose, make sure to check these steps:

  • Restart your device along with your router.
  • Connect to a Wi-Fi or mobile data network and make sure that the connection is stable.
  • Use Wi-Fi for syncing rather than mobile data, if possible.
  • If you’re in need to use mobile data, make sure that the ”Transfer files only over Wi-Fi” option is disabled. Navigate to Drive > hamburger menu > Settings, and toggle off Transfer files only over Wi-Fi.

If you experience any network-related issues, you can fix Wi-Fi issues by following the instructions in this article. Alternatively, check this article to learn how to fix mobile data issues.

2. Enable Sync in Google Account settings

Additionally, you should make sure that the Sync for Google Drive is enabled in your Google Account. You can easily find out if that’s the case by navigating to system settings. With this option disabled, Google Drive for Android won’t automatically sync files that you uploaded on other devices.

Here’s how to enable Drive Sync in Google Account settings:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Accounts.
  3. Tap Manage accounts.
  4. Enable the Auto-sync data option.
  5. Select the Google Account you use as the default one on your device. The one you used to sign in when you initialized your device for the first time.
  6. Tap Sync account.
  7. Make sure that the Drive option is enabled.

If Google Drive still won’t sync on Android, check the next step.

3. Clear app’s data

Another usual workaround we always recommend is clearing the local data stored by the app. There’s always a possibility that the local data is corrupted. Even the slightest thing can cause a halt and this procedure will reset the app and let it re-sync files again. And, hopefully, fix the problem at hand.

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Open Apps.
  3. Navigate to Drive and open it from the list of available apps.
  4. Tap Storage.
  5. Clear Data and restart your device.

Alternatively, you can clear the cache within the app settings. This is how to do it.

  1. Open the Drive app.
  2. Tap the hamburger menu.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Tap Clear cache.

This process won’t delete any of your data, but rather clear the cached documents.

4. Sign out and sign in again with the Google account

Considering that Drive, like many other Google apps and services, relies on your Google Account, resetting the account to troubleshoot issues is a no-brainer. Once you remove and add your Google Account again, make sure to enable Sync. Also, you won’t need to restore all apps on your device, so skip this step when prompted.

Here’s how to sign out and sign in again with your Google Account:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Accounts. You need to open Manage accounts on some devices.
  3. Now choose Google.
  4. Remove the Google account.
  5. Reboot your device and sign in again.
  6. Skip restoring apps from the backup, accept terms, and check if the Google Drive is syncing or not.

5. Use Drive through the web browser

If you are in dire need to use your Google Drive fast but it won’t sync on Android, you can always rely on the web-based client. All you need to do in order to avoid the browser transferring you directly towards the app is to enable the Desktop site option.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. On your Android, open Google Chrome or any other browser.
  2. Tap on the 3-dots menu and enable Desktop Site.
  3. Navigate to Google Drive for Web, here.

Although you can, more or less, do anything in the web-based client that you can do in the Android app, this is more of a workaround than an actual solution. If you need the app, try the last step.

6. Reinstall the app

Finally, if none of the previous solutions worked for you, you can try reinstalling the app. Even if it can be considered a system app, Google Drive can be completely removed from any Android device. Later on, you can reinstall it and hope for the best.

In addition, we recommend leaving the Beta program if you are an early adopter of Google Drive for Android. The stable version is the way to go as soon as you notice that the beta version is not working as intended.

Here’s how to reinstall Google Drive on Android:

  1. Open Play Store.
  2. Search for Drive.
  3. Uninstall the Google Drive app.
  4. Install the app again and reboot your device.

Also, don’t forget to report the problem to Google Support, here.

In case this was of any help to you, make sure to give us a shout in the comments section below. You can also reach us on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2017. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

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Kendra Owen
Kendra Owen
September 27, 2019 3:39 am

I will go ahead and post this even though its an old post just in case someone else stumbles onto it and it could help. My problem was that even though an excel file was correct on my computer and on my g.drive, when I opened the file from my g.drive app on my phone I kept getting a previous version of it. The thing that finally fixed it was to clear the data and cache in my mobile excel app. If that doesn’t work, it may be opening in g.sheets, try clearing the data and cache on sheets as… Read more »

Sheila M. Averbuch
Sheila M. Averbuch
January 21, 2019 8:37 am

if these methods don’t work for you, try performing the same steps but with Google docs. It was docs that was causing the problem for me. I cleared the cache and it worked.

Monika
Monika
May 21, 2020 5:00 pm

Clear apps data helped me. Thanks!

Emon Sharma
Emon Sharma
May 30, 2018 9:43 am

I deleted some files from my bin and after that it stopped refreshing. I can’t access my files. I updated Drive, cleared data, logged in and out, opened it with browser nothing happened.
Please help me

Ivan Jenic
Admin
Ivan Jenic(@jenic)
June 5, 2018 6:35 pm
Reply to  Emon Sharma

Hi Emon,
Are you getting any error message or warning?

Garrett
Garrett
February 28, 2018 5:46 pm

I removed updates, then reinstalled them. It still didn’t seem to work. Then I discovered that if you swipe down it refreshes drive. Problem solved. I’m not sure if the updates added this functionality or if I just never noticed it before.

Garrett
Garrett
December 1, 2017 4:16 am

I removed updates, then reinstalled them. It still didn’t seem to work. Then I discovered that if you swipe down it refreshes drive. Problem solved. I’m not sure if the updates added this functionality or if I just never noticed it before.

Tony Crossley
Tony Crossley
December 1, 2019 12:25 am

OneDrive and Amazon Photos work fine on Android. Don’t bother with Drive.