How to Check Who Downloaded Files in Google Drive
Using Google Drive has many benefits. The free data storage service allows you to store important files, share documents, pictures, and more. Additionally, it’s also a great tool if you’re often on the go, as you can download the app onto your smartphone, where all your information will be stored on the cloud.
If you’re an avid Google Drive user and often share files with many people, it can be hard to keep track of precisely who has access to them.
In this article, we will be exploring how you can see who views and downloads your Google Drive files and the actions you can to limit this.
Keep on reading to discover more.
How To View Who Downloaded Google Drive Files
Whether you’re using Google Drive for personal or business reasons, your data cannot be downloaded unless shared or someone has access to your personal login information. Sharing files is easy when it comes to Google Drive, and so is seeing if any of your files have been changed.
You can view who downloaded files from a Google Drive account with one of 2 methods. If you pay for a Google Apps Unlimited account or a Google Apps for Education account, you can see who downloaded the files. Alternatively, you can add an add-on and start monitoring. This will only work from the point you added the add-on.
Before getting specific about who is downloading your files, you may want to start by seeing all the people who have access to them. You can get this information using either your computer or your smartphone. These are the steps:
- Open the file in question.
- Right-click or tap the icon for “options” and hit “Share.”
- Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a list of the people who have access to your files and documents.
You might first notice some changes in your documents (edits, comments, uploads to new folders, etc.). To get a clear picture of how and when these changes took place, you’ll need to have access to your history. Here’s how:
From your PC:
- Head to drive.google.com.
- Click “My Drive,” located on the left-hand side.
- Select the info icon (a gray circle with a white, lower case “i” in the middle) in the top-right corner.
- Hit “Activity” to access any recent changes.
- To get more specific, you can select the file or folder to see the activity specifics.
- For any older changes, scroll on the right-hand side.
From your Android phone or tablet:
- Start by opening the Google Drive app.
- Find the file you wish to check and tap the three dots.
- Select “Details” then “Activity.”
- Scroll down until you see your recent activity.
Accessing your history is the first step towards seeing if anyone has been downloading, or tampering with, your Google Drive files.
However, the service does not let you see who has been accessing your files, only that they have been changed.
Luckily, there is a way to do this. By downloading Google Apps Unlimited, users can directly monitor any downloads on Google Drive or Google Docs. Once the software download is complete, you will be able to access the Google Apps Admin Console.
From here, follow these steps for your computer and smartphone:
- Open the Google Apps Admin Console and click “Reports.”
- Select “Audit” then “Drive.”
- Here, you can view all sorts of information, including what changes were made by which user. It also includes the date and time of the changes made.
- On the right side of the page, you’ll see a “Filters” section. Click, or tap this.
Once you have accessed “Filters,” you will be able to create a filter for any users who are downloading your files. The page will present you with the user’s name, IP address, and the date and time they downloaded your documents.
But what if you don’t want to pay extra to find out who’s been in your files? Fear not, for there is an alternative way of accessing this information.
You can add the free Orangedox app to your Google Drive and use this service for free from both your computer and smartphone.
The downside of using this free feature is that it only tracks your activity once you have already downloaded the app. Anything before this cannot be seen.
If you are new to Google Drive and want to take precautions by tracking any future activity (including who is downloading your files), we recommend downloading this app as soon as you start using Google Drive.
Here’s how to track your Google files and documents once you have downloaded the app.
- Head to the official website and click “Get Started for Free.”
- Sign in to your Google Drive account to sync your Google Drive files to Orangedox without you having to upload anything.
- On the left-hand side of the screen, select “Share Links,” then click “Get Started” to allow you to share directly from your Google Drive.
- Select the documents you wish to share. At this point, you will also be given the option to add a password for extra security.
- Click “Finish.”
- Under “Reference Label,” type where you want your file to be shared (e.g., “Share on Website”), and a unique link will be provided for your shared document.
- To view who has been accessing your files, go back to Orangedox and click “Publish.”
- Here you will be presented with two viewing options. One for “Viewed” and one for “Created.” Under “Viewed,” you will be able to see who viewed and downloaded your pages.
Don’t Let It (Google) Drive You Crazy
Having your files tampered with or downloaded without your knowledge can be the cause of many inconveniences. Knowing how to fix the problem is vital in some cases, especially if important work folders are being altered.
If you’re new to Google Drive, taking precautions by adding apps such as Orangedox to your device can save you a lot of time and effort (and money) in the long run. Whereas if you’ve been using the system for a while, it may be worth investing in the right apps to get you back on track.
Have you ever fallen victim to having your Google Drive files being downloaded without your consent? What method did you use to solve this issue? Let us know in the comments below.