File management made easy

There are many methods to create and update file metadata and contents. With PyDrive, you don’t have to care about any of these different API methods. Manipulate file metadata and contents from GoogleDriveFile object and call Upload(). PyDrive will make the optimal API call for you.

Upload a new file

Here is a sample code to upload a file. gauth is an authenticated GoogleAuth object.

from import GoogleDrive

# Create GoogleDrive instance with authenticated GoogleAuth instance.
drive = GoogleDrive(gauth)

# Create GoogleDriveFile instance with title 'Hello.txt'.
file1 = drive.CreateFile({'title': 'Hello.txt'})
file1.Upload() # Upload the file.
print('title: %s, id: %s' % (file1['title'], file1['id']))
# title: Hello.txt, id: {{FILE_ID}}

Now, you will have a file ‘Hello.txt’ uploaded to your Google Drive. You can open it from web interface to check its content, ‘Hello World!’.

Note that CreateFile() will create GoogleDriveFile instance but not actually upload a file to Google Drive. You can initialize GoogleDriveFile object by itself. However, it is not recommended to do so in order to keep authentication consistent.

Delete, Trash and un-Trash files

You may want to delete, trash, or un-trash a file. To do this use Delete(), Trash() or UnTrash() on a GoogleDriveFile object.

Note: Trash() moves a file into the trash and can be recovered, Delete() deletes the file permanently and immediately.

# Create GoogleDriveFile instance and upload it.
file1 = drive.CreateFile()

file1.Trash()  # Move file to trash.
file1.UnTrash()  # Move file out of trash.
file1.Delete()  # Permanently delete the file.

Update file metadata

You can manipulate file metadata from a GoogleDriveFile object just as you manipulate a dict. The format of file metadata can be found in the Google Drive API documentation: Files resource.

Sample code continues from Upload a new file:

file1['title'] = 'HelloWorld.txt' # Change title of the file.
file1.Upload() # Update metadata.
print('title: %s' % file1['title']) # title: HelloWorld.txt.

Now, the title of your file has changed to ‘HelloWorld.txt’.

Download file metadata from file ID

You might want to get file metadata from file ID. In that case, just initialize GoogleDriveFile with file ID and access metadata from GoogleDriveFile just as you access dict.

Sample code continues from above:

# Create GoogleDriveFile instance with file id of file1.
file2 = drive.CreateFile({'id': file1['id']})
print('title: %s, mimeType: %s' % (file2['title'], file2['mimeType']))
# title: HelloWorld.txt, mimeType: text/plain

Handling special metadata

Not all metadata can be set with the methods described above. PyDrive gives you access to the metadata of an object through file_object.FetchMetadata(). This function has two optional parameters: fields and fetch_all.

file1 = drive.CreateFile({'id': '<some file ID here>'})

# Fetches all basic metadata fields, including file size, last modified etc.

# Fetches all metadata available.

# Fetches the 'permissions' metadata field.
# You can update a list of specific fields like this:

For more information on available metadata fields have a look at the official documentation.

Insert permissions

Insert, retrieving or deleting permissions is illustrated by making a file readable to all who have a link to the file.

file1 = drive.CreateFile()

# Insert the permission.
permission = file1.InsertPermission({
                        'type': 'anyone',
                        'value': 'anyone',
                        'role': 'reader'})

print(file1['alternateLink'])  # Display the sharable link.

Note: InsertPermission() calls GetPermissions() after successfully inserting the permission.

You can find more information on the permitted fields of a permission here. This file is now shared and anyone with the link can view it. But what if you want to check whether a file is already shared?

List permissions

Permissions can be fetched using the GetPermissions() function of a GoogleDriveFile, and can be used like so:

# Create a new file
file1 = drive.CreateFile()
# Fetch permissions.
permissions = file1.GetPermissions()

# The permissions are also available as file1['permissions']:

For the more advanced user: GetPermissions() is a shorthand for:

# Fetch Metadata, including the permissions field.

# The permissions array is now available for further use.

Remove a Permission

PyDrive allows you to remove a specific permission using the DeletePermission(permission_id) function. This function allows you to delete one permission at a time by providing the permission’s ID.

file1 = drive.CreateFile({'id': '<file ID here>'})
permissions = file1.GetPermissions()  # Download file permissions.

permission_id = permissions[1]['id']  # Get a permission ID.

file1.DeletePermission(permission_id)  # Delete the permission.

Get files by complex queries

We can get a file by name and by other constraints, usually a filename will be unique but we can have two equal names with different extensions, e.g., 123.jpeg and 123.mp3. So if you expect only one file add more constraints to the query, see Query string examples, as a result we get a list of GoogleDriveFile instances.

from import GoogleDrive
# Create GoogleDrive instance with authenticated GoogleAuth instance.
drive = GoogleDrive(gauth)
filename = 'file_test'
# Query
query = {'q': f"title = '{filename}' and mimeType='{mimetype}'"}
# Get list of files that match against the query
files = drive.ListFile(query).GetList()

List revisions

Revisions can be fetched using the GetRevisions() function of a GoogleDriveFile, and can be used like so:

# Create a new file
file1 = drive.CreateFile()
# Fetch revisions.
revisions = file1.GetRevisions()

Not all files objects have revisions. If GetRevisions is called on a file object that does not have revisions, an exception will be raised.

Upload and update file content

Managing file content is as easy as managing file metadata. You can set file content with either SetContentFile(filename) or SetContentString(content) and call Upload() just as you did to upload or update file metadata.

Sample code continues from Download file metadata from file ID:

file4 = drive.CreateFile({'title':'appdata.json', 'mimeType':'application/json'})
file4.SetContentString('{"firstname": "John", "lastname": "Smith"}')
file4.Upload() # Upload file.
file4.SetContentString('{"firstname": "Claudio", "lastname": "Afshar"}')
file4.Upload() # Update content of the file.

file5 = drive.CreateFile()
# Read file and set it as a content of this instance.
file5.Upload() # Upload the file.
print('title: %s, mimeType: %s' % (file5['title'], file5['mimeType']))
# title: cat.png, mimeType: image/png

Advanced Users: If you call SetContentFile and GetContentFile you can can define which character encoding is to be used by using the optional parameter encoding.

If you, for example, are retrieving a file which is stored on your Google Drive which is encoded with ISO-8859-1, then you can get the content string like so:

content_string = file4.GetContentString(encoding='ISO-8859-1')

Upload data as bytes in memory buffer

Data can be kept as bytes in an in-memory buffer when we use the io module’s Byte IO operations, we can upload files that reside in memory, for example we have a base64 image, we can decode the string and upload it to drive without the need to save as a file and use SetContentFile(filename)

import io
from import GoogleDrive

# Create GoogleDrive instance with authenticated GoogleAuth instance.
drive = GoogleDrive(gauth)
# Define file name and type
metadata = {
    'title': 'image_test',
    'mimeType': 'image/jpeg'
# Create file
file = drive.CreateFile(metadata=metadata)
# Buffered I/O implementation using an in-memory bytes buffer.
image_file = io.BytesIO(image_bytes)
# Set the content of the file
file.content = image_file
# Upload the file to google drive

Upload file to a specific folder

In order to upload a file into a specific drive folder we need to pass the id of the folder in the metadata param from CreateFile(). Save the image from the previous example into a specific folder``:``

metadata = {
    'parents': [
        {"id": id_drive_folder}
    'title': 'image_test',
    'mimeType': 'image/jpeg'
# Create file
file = drive.CreateFile(metadata=metadata)

Download file content

Just as you uploaded file content, you can download it using GetContentFile(filename) or GetContentString().

Sample code continues from above:

# Initialize GoogleDriveFile instance with file id.
file6 = drive.CreateFile({'id': file5['id']})
file6.GetContentFile('catlove.png') # Download file as 'catlove.png'.

# Initialize GoogleDriveFile instance with file id.
file7 = drive.CreateFile({'id': file4['id']})
content = file7.GetContentString()
# content: '{"firstname": "Claudio", "lastname": "Afshar"}'

file7.SetContentString(content.replace('lastname', 'familyname'))
# Uploaded content: '{"firstname": "Claudio", "familyname": "Afshar"}'

Advanced users: Google Drive is known to add BOM (Byte Order Marks) to the beginning of some files, such as Google Documents downloaded as text files. In some cases confuses parsers and leads to corrupt files. PyDrive can remove the BOM from the beginning of a file when it is downloaded. Just set the remove_bom parameter in GetContentString() or GetContentFile() - see examples/ in the GitHub repository for an example.

Abusive files

Files identified as abusive (malware, etc.) are only downloadable by the owner. If you see a ‘This file has been identified as malware or spam and cannot be downloaded’ error, set ‘acknowledge_abuse=True’ parameter in GetContentFile(). By using it you indicate that you acknowledge the risks of downloading potential malware.