You can only transfer ownership of Google files and folders

Make someone else the owner of your file, Google Support

Due to this quote, as shown in to How can I transfer ownership of a file in Google Drive that isn't part of Docs? in the past there was no option to attempt transfering ownership of non Google files (PDF, etc.).

However, these days there is. But if you try to use it, it just fails with a "You can't change the owner of this item" message:

Failed attempt to transfer ownership

Is there any way to bypass this error and transfer such an ownership?

  • I don't see the "Make owner" option on my PDF files. Try using Chrome in incognito mode with all the extensions disabled. If the problem persist, please add more details like type of account that you are using (common account, G Suite account), who is the owner of the file, etc. Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 12:49
  • Did use InCognito, common account, I'm the owner.
    – LWC
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 17:53
  • What type of file are you trying to transfer the ownership? Is the intended new owner using a commong account our a G Suite account? Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 17:55
  • 1
    It's quoted in the question already.
    – LWC
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 4:56
  • 2
    I voted to reopen, the question looks fine to me. LWC, you can also vote to reopen since you have over 500 of rep. Commented Feb 24 at 7:37

3 Answers 3


It will be very annoying for a remote tech support to hear that the user CANNOT find an option that is supposed to be right there. In its absence, the user may end up - keep on searching for it; thinking perhaps it's hidden somewhere else...

I think the option's entry should remain there; however it could be grayed out, and should though: display the failure prompt soon after it's selected, instead of waiting for the user to finish entering an email address.


Unfortunatly the answer to this question is simply that is just how Google developers programmed it.

It would be better UX if the menu item was removed from items where it is not applicable, but for whatever reason, that has not happened. Seems this is more of a rant / feature request than an actual question.

  • Why rant? Please consider rephrasing. Read the "is there any way to bypass" part.
    – LWC
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 21:13

These days you can transfer the ownership of any file types if you do it manually (I have tried it with .opus files in the web UI).

There is a tool if you want to batch transfer large number of files here https://workspacetips.io/tools/change-owner/ but that tool has the same limitation as existed when this question was asked - for regular Google Drive (as opposed to GSuite or whatever it is called) it only works for built in file types (e.g., Sheets or Docs), not for my .opus-files.

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