Google Drive has become one of the best and most popular ways to share files between clients, colleagues and friends, without requiring them to download directly.
Ten years ago, you sent these files as an email attachment or link from a site like Megaupload or MediaFire. Let us all be glad that those days are behind us.
A popular feature on those old sites that moved to today’s popular sharing sites like Pastebin is the ability to revoke your link or unshare a file after a certain period of time. This is not something we can do via email. However, this is a feature that many people are not aware of in Google Drive.
Some sensitive files shouldn’t be kept on the Internet forever. In this article, let’s talk about how to set an expiration date for file sharing in Google Drive.
Limiting the validity period of file sharing in Google Drive
Expiration limits for files shared in Google Drive
It’s important to know that this feature is only available for accounts in a paid G Suite organization. This means that standard Google Accounts or accounts using the free legacy version of G Suite cannot use the shared file expiration date.
Users outside of a paid G Suite organization may still have access to expiring files, but this requirement must be met in order to set an expiration date for file sharing in Google Drive. If you work for a company that assigns you their own email account through their own Gmail domain, chances are good that you have access to this feature through that account.
How to set the Google Drive file sharing expiration date
How to set up access expiration for shared files in Google Drive
Naturally, the first step in this process is to give someone access to the file. The easiest way to share one of your files in Google Drive is to open the file and find the big blue Share button in the upper right corner – you can’t miss it.
Click on it and a pop-up window will appear where you can enter a list of email addresses with which you want to share your file.
Click OK to send out invitations to share the file when you’re ready. You will then want to reopen the same file and click the blue Share button again, or right-click the file and select Share. This time, click on “More” in the lower right corner of the lightbox.
Here, if you hover your cursor over a line with any of the users with whom you are sharing the file, when you hover over it, a timer icon appears that says Set Expiration Date. If you don’t see this icon, it could mean that you are not using an account with a compatible G Suite organization. If yes, click on it.
Another reason you might not see this is because Google has updated the GUI for Google Drive. Instead, you might have to click the little drop-down menu next to their name and then click Grant Temporary Access.
You will now see a window similar to the two below. The top image is the new version of Google Drive and is most likely what you will come across.
This should cause the expiration options to appear. Clicking the drop-down menu will show the general dates of 7 days and 30 days, or you can click Custom date to set your own expiration date.
Setting a custom date will allow you to select a day from the calendar view. The only catch is that you can’t choose the time, only the date – the file expires a minute before midnight on whatever day you choose.
When you are happy with setting the file share access expiration date, click Save Changes and then Done. That’s all!
It’s important to remember that users can still effectively renew your file by uploading it. To prevent this from happening, you need to configure their access so that they can only view the file (but not edit it) and enable the Disable download, print, and copy options for commenters and readers option.
If you have an account with an organization other than the legacy G Suite organization, expiring shared files is one of the many underutilized benefits you can find useful. It only takes a few seconds, so don’t let those sensitive files hang forever!
If G Suite isn’t secure enough or meets your standards, we have an alternative guide to setting up your personal cloud storage. Check it out for full control over cloud sharing.