Google Drive Comparison (My Drive and Shared Drives)


Google Drive provides two locations for storing and collaborating on data: My Drive and shared drives. Files and folders in My Drive are owned by an individual U-M Google account, whereas files/folders in shared drives are owned by a group or team. Refer below for a table that outlines the key differences between U-M Google shared drives and My Drive. Also, refer to Shared Drives in U-M Google for more information on shared drives and how to create them.

Comparison Table

  My Drive Shared Drives
Who owns files and folders? The individual who created the file or folder The team/group

Can I restore files and folders?

Yes, if you created the file or folder

Yes, if you have the role of Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor in the shared drive

Can I move files and folders?


Within shared drives: Yes, if you have the Manager or Content Manager role in the shared drive.

From My Drive to shared drives: 

  • FILES: Yes, if you are at least an Editor on the file and are a Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor of the shared drive.
  • FOLDERS: Yes, if you are at least an Editor on the folder and assigned as a Manager of the shared drive.

From shared drive to shared drive: Yes, if you have the Manager role in both shared drives.

How long do deleted files stay in the trash? Files in the My Drive trash folder are permanently deleted after 30 days. Each shared drive has its own trash. Only members with the role of Manager or Content Manager can delete files. After 30 days, all files/folders in the trash are permanently deleted. Members with the role of Manager, Content Manager, or Contributor can restore shared drive content from the trash.
Sharing Depending on their access to individual files, different people might see different files in a folder. It is also possible to share at the folder level inside My Drive. All team members (at the shared drive level) see the same set of files/folders. It is possible to share at the file and subfolder levels with someone not in your shared drive for more granular permissions.
Inherited permissions

Permissions at the folder level are passed down to files created in the folder. However, this does not apply to ownership. Files within a folder can have different owners than the owner of the folder in which they reside.

Permissions set on a specific file or folder in My Drive will be retained when moved to a shared drive. However, inherited permissions from a parent folder will not be retained when moved.

Example: If Person A is not a member of the shared drive, but they are an Editor on a file moved to the shared drive, Person A will maintain access to the file after it moves to the drive.

Attaching a Google file to a Google Calendar invite Navigate to any My Drive file from within a calendar invite using the Add attachment (paperclip) icon. Navigate to any shared drive from within a calendar invite using the Add attachment (paperclip) icon.
Mobile device support Yes


Last Updated: 
Tuesday, May 2, 2023