Is there is a way for me to copy/back up me Google Drive contents to my local machine?

Ideally, the solution would have these features (in order of priority):

  • Runs on OS X/Linux in a headless (CLI/command-line) way, so it can be easily automated.

  • Converts the Google Docs files to MS Office/OpenOffice equivalents during the backup (currently, the Google Drive client does not synchronise the content offline in a way that can be usefully used without Google Docs).

  • Backs up all documents, not just the non-Google Docs ones.

  • Performs a "delta" backup, pulling down only the changes since the last backup.


1 Answer 1


@Andrew, I would recommend Insync - it's a client-based sync tool that runs on many OSes, including many Linux distros. It will cost you a very reasonable $15 one time - there's no recurring fee. It meets all your other requirements, including backing up the delta of the entire contents of the drive.

Check out their page for Linux and their CLI reference page.

  • It doesn't seem Insync backs up Google Drive documents (like Spreadsheets). In your local Google Drive folder, these documents are merely links to their web counterparts, so backing up your local folder will not back up the actual documents. Feb 27, 2014 at 14:06
  • @VidarS.Ramdal, sorry if I wasn't clear. Insync is downloading files from Google and converting them to Microsoft formats before storing them on your local system. It is not copying files that were downloaded by the Google Drive app.
    – Jordan
    Feb 27, 2014 at 19:48
  • Seems like a good answer, they have a headless client too. This is more heavyweight than I really wanted (I just wanted a backup, not an offline syncing client), but it still seems like a good choice. Thanks. Dec 26, 2014 at 13:56

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