How to Delete Google Drive Offline Files [Full Guide]

If you are looking for how to delete Google Drive offline files to free up local space, stay here! A complete guide is covered to delete files from computer but not Google Drive.


by Jonna Lasted Updated April 18, 2023

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Can I Delete Google Drive Offline Files?


Google Drive offline files are taking up a lot of hard drive space on my computer. Can I delete all offline files from Google Drive to free up local space? How to delete Google Drive offline files? Any help would be appreciated!

Cloud storage services like Google Drive make it simple to sync and access files across devices, but mostly they require an Internet connection. As many people might need to access certain files while on business travel or on a plane, Google Drive offline files make it possible to access and edit online files without an Internet connection.

However, keeping all your Google Drive files offline means storing all your cloud files on the computer, which might take up a lot of local space. If you want to let Google Drive remove offline files and free up space on your computer, here is a complete guide.

How to Delete Google Drive Offline Files

Where are Google Drive Offline Files Stored?

Where does Google Drive store offline files? Can I directly delete offline files from my computer to free up local space? Actually, when you make Google Drive folder available offline on the computer, they are stored in the user directory cache and are not accessible from File Explorer. They can only be accessed via the virtual Google Drive drives when the Drive for desktop app is running.

On Android or iPhone, files and folders that are available offline from Google Drive are also saved in a cached folder and only be accessible in the Google Drive mobile app. So, you can't delete Google Drive files that are offline available from your computer or phone directly.

How to Delete Google Drive Offline Files

In this chapter, we will explore how to remove Google Drive offline files on computer and mobile phone. Please read on to get the details and take the one that suits you.

#1. Delete Google Drive Offline Files on Computer

As mentioned above, deleting Google Drive offline files directly from your computer or phone is not feasible. But on the Google Drive desktop app, two options - Stream files and Mirror files are provided for you to sync content from Google Drive to your computer.

  • With Stream files, all Google Drive files are stored on the Google Drive cloud only and can be accessed from your computer through the virtual disk. In this case, files take up little hard drive space, but you need Internet for access.
  • With Mirror files, all Google Drive files are saved on both your Google Drive cloud and on your computer. Then, files may consume much local space but you don’t need Internet to access them.

Now, it is clear that you can learn how to delete Google Drive offline files using the Stream files option. Here is what to do:

Step 1. Run the Drive for desktop app and log in. Click on the Google Drive icon in the notification area, tap on Settings, and select Preferences.


Step 2. Click Google Drive on the left side, and choose the Stream files option under My Drive syncing options.

Google Drive Stream Files

Step 3. Then, click Save to restart the Google Drive desktop app.

Step 4. Now, click Open in Explorer to browse Google Drive files on your computer. If there are still files available offline (with a green check icon), right-click them, hover over Offline access, and click Online only to delete files from computer but not Google Drive.

Offline Access Online Only


• You are able to make certain files/folders available offline by right-clicking them, selecting Offline access, and picking Available offline.

• You could check if there are available offline files from Google Drive by opening Google Drive Settings, selecting Offline files, and managing all offline data easily.

Google Drive Offline Files Desktop

#2. Delete Google Drive Offline Files on Phone

To remove offline files from Google Drive on a mobile phone, you could simply turn off the Offline option in the following steps:

Step 1. Run the Google Drive mobile app and sign in.

Step 2. Tap on the Menu button in the top left corner and select Settings.

Step 3. Turn off Make recent files available offline to disable offline access for all files.

Make Recent Files Available Offline

Or, you could click on the vertical ellipsis (⋮) button of a specific file, and deactivate Available offline to get files not deleting from Google Drive but from your phone.

Google Drive Available Offline Phone

Easiest and Free Way to Sync Files to Google Drive without Local Copies

How to stop Google Drive from making files available offline completely? We strongly recommend you use the best free cloud backup service, CBackup, to upload files to Google Drive without syncing locally.

CBackup Main Page

This freeware allows you to perform Google Drive one-way sync from local to cloud, and it is capable of uploading to Dropbox without local copy as well as OneDrive and other public clouds. In this way, all Google Drive will only be saved in the cloud and you can delete files from Google Drive but save them on computer. A simple guide about how to use CBackup to sync files to Google Drive is listed below.

Step 1. Sign up for CBackup on its desktop. Install the CBackup desktop client on your computer and sign in.

Download CBackupWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Click on Storage, select Google Drive, and hit Authorize Now to permit CBackup access to your Google Drive cloud.

Select Google Drive

Step 3. Go to the Sync tab and choose Sync PC to Public Cloud.

Choose PC to Public Cloud

Step 4. Add files and folders from your computer to sync, then click > next to Google Drive to pick a folder on Google Drive as your destination. Finally, tap on Start Sync to upload files to Google Drive without local sync files now.

Start Sync to Google Drive

In addition to file/folder sync, CBackup enables you to synchronize hard drives and entire computers to Google Drive and other clouds as well.
You could use Scheduler to set up Google Drive auto sync daily, weekly, monthly, and other frequencies.
Its Backup function is handy to use Google Drive as a backup and restore backup files when needed.
You are able to manage multiple cloud accounts on CBackup and merge all Google Drive accounts to increase cloud storage for free.


Detailed steps on how to delete Google Drive offline files on computers and mobile phones are offered on this page. If you are looking for a method to upload to Google Drive without syncing locally, you could try CBackup. This tool can help you synchronize files, folders, hard drives, and computers to Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and more clouds without local syncing files.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna becomes a professional in the areas of cloud backup and restoration, data protection, etc. after years of learning and researching. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.

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