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Google Drive won’t sync in Android? Top 6 solutions

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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.

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 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 the app 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 the 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 toward 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.

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.

In case this was of any help to you, make sure to give us a shout in the comments section below. 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.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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