How to Transfer Ownership of a Google Drive Folder

Transferring ownership of folders in Google Drive is easy, but not necessarily intuitive, especially if you are looking to transfer ownership to a new user. Let’s take a look at how to transfer ownership of a Google Drive folder and discuss the best practices to ensure your folders, documents, and information stay safe when transferring.

Transfer Ownership of a Google Drive Folder

  1. Navigate to your Google Drive.
  2. Locate the folder you wish to transfer ownership of.
    A sample folder labeled "Test Ownership" is highlighted along with the three dots indicating more actions.
  3. Click the three dots next to the folder and navigate to Share.
    The "Share" option is highlighted within the Google Drive folder's options.
  4. Add the person you want to transfer ownership to.
  5. The person you are transferring the folder to must already be an editor. If they are not, you will need to assign them the Editor role.
    The folder's sharing permissions are shown with "Editor" selected.
  6. Once the person is an editor, click Share. Since they will get an email when they become the owner, you can un-select "Notify people" when initially making them an editor so as to not overwhelm their inbox.
    The "Notify people" checkbox is unselected, so the team member will not receive emails when they become and editor AND when they become the folder owner.
  7. Re-open the share menu.
  8. Now that they're an editor, from the drop-down menu, there is an option to Transfer Ownership.
    A new sharing permission is shown and highlighted within the Drive folder's share settings labeled, "Transfer ownership".
  9. A module will pop up asking if you are sure.
    A module pops up that reads "The new owner will be notified and could remove you. You also might lose the ability to change share settings. Some people will lose access to this item unless this item is shared directly with them." so you are aware of the possible repercussions when transferring ownership.
  10. If the stated criteria is okay, select Yes and Done. 

This process is the same if you want to transfer ownership of a single file, whether in Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

Transfer ownership multiple of folders and files in Google Drive

If you want to transfer ownership of multiple documents or folders, you will have to take a different approach. Even after you transfer ownership of a folder, you still own the subfolders and documents within it. If you want the new owner to own everything within the main folder, here is how to quickly transfer its contents.

  1. Open the folder you just transferred ownership of.
  2. Hold shift and select the subfolders and documents you wish to transfer ownership of. They will turn blue once selected.
  3. Select the Share button at the top of your screen.
    Multiple documents and folders within the transferred Google Drive folder are highlighted with the share button at the top emphasized. Indicating you can alter the sharing permissions of all these items with a single action.
  4. The new owner will already be an editor of these folders and files because they own the master folder.
  5. From the drop-down menu, there is already a Transfer Ownership option. Select this, and the module will ask if you are sure.
  6. Select Yes and Done.

Not only is this faster, but it ensures the new owner is not spammed with emails about their new status. Instead, they will receive a single email notifying them that they are now the owner of X number of items.

Common questions about transferring ownership of folders

Q: What is the difference between an owner and an editor?
The owner ultimately has control over the folder. They can delete it and, depending on settings within your organization, control who has edit and viewing access. So it is essential to have a clear understanding of who the recipient is and the reasons behind transferring ownership to them.

What happens after you transfer ownership of a file or folder?
A: After you transfer ownership to another person, you will automatically be assigned as an editor. However, the new owner now controls the folder/file’s sharing permissions, so your access permissions may change depending on their actions.

Q: Can I make someone outside of my organization the owner of a file or folder?
A: Yes, it is possible to make someone outside your organization the owner. The process is the same, but you may see an additional warning module. There is a chance, however, it is restricted by your organization’s admin for security reasons.

Note: While you can transfer ownership from a work or school account to a personal Google account, you can’t transfer ownership of a folder from your personal Google account to a work or school account.

Q: How do I transfer entire Drives from one account to another?
If you are an administrator in your org and need to completely transfer someone's existing Drive to someone else, you can check out Google's official admin process here.

Interested in more Google Workspace guides? Check out our blog archive. And if you're interested in optimizing your team’s collaboration and organizing folder structure in Google Workspace and Salesforce, you're going to want to check out Drive Connect, our complete solution for integrating the two workflows. Try it free for 14 days – no credit card required.

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