Google Drive is a cloud storage and synchronization service that allows users to keep, synchronize, and share files across many devices. It offers 15GB of free storage space for each Google account to store files. In this article, we will explain how to access Google Drive account in the Debian system. The process involves connecting the Google account to the system using a Gnome Online Accounts utility which then allows you to mount Google drive to your File manager. Once mounted, you can access, edit, and upload new files from your system to Google drive.

We have used Debian 10 system for running the commands and processes discussed in this article.

Step 1: Installing Gnome Online Accounts

Debian 10 comes pre-installed with the Gnome Online accounts utility. However, if it is missing from your system due to any reason, it can be installed via Terminal as follows:

Open the Terminal in your Debian system. Go to the Activities tab in the top left corner of your desktop. Then in the search bar, type the keyword terminal. When the search result appears, click on the Terminal icon to open it.

Now in the Terminal, run this command as sudo to install Gnome Online accounts utility:

$ sudo apt install gnome-online-accounts

Make sure you are an authorized user otherwise, you will not be able to add, remove or configure any application on Debian.

Install GNOME online accounts

Before installation, it might ask for confirmation by providing you with a Y/n option. Hit y and then Enter to continue the installation.

Once Gnome Online Accounts utility is installed on your system, it can be launched via following command in Terminal:

$ gnome-control-center online-accounts

There is an alternative way to open the Gnome Online Accounts utility. To do so, right-click the desktop and select Settings. In the Settings utility, select the Online Accounts tab from the left panel. Here is how the Online Accounts window will look like:

Online Accounts

Step 2: Adding Google Account to the list of Online Accounts

In the Gnome Online Accounts utility, you will see a list of various online services which you can configure to be used in your Debian system. For now, we want to access Google drive in our system. So for this purpose, select the Google account in the list of Online accounts. Please make sure you have an internet connection so that you can sign in to the Google account.

The following Sign in screen will appear for you to enter Google account credentials. Enter your Google account ID and then password.


Once you are logged in, you will be presented with the following screen showing you the permissions you are allowing to your system for the Google drive account. Review the permissions and click the Allow button to permit Gnome access to your Google drive account.

Allow access to Google account

Now you will see the following screen. It allows you to select the apps you want to sync with Gnome. These settings can be changed at any time. However, in the meantime, make sure the Files slider is in on position so that you can access the Google Drive files in your Debian File Manager.

Configure which data shall be accessed

Now close the above window and you will see your Google account added in the list of online accounts. If you have another Google account, you can add it as well in a similar way.

Connect to Google

Now that you have added your Google drive account in the list of Online accounts in your system, it can now be accessed through the Debian File Manager. Open the File Manager in your system and you will see your Google drive account listed at the bottom of the left pane. Simply click on it to view the Google Drive files in your File Manager.

Google Drive mounted in Debian

Editing Files

Please remember that the files in your mounted directory are not added to your machine as actual files. These are only instances of your online files that you will only be able to view when connected to the Internet. If you need to edit one of these files, access it from the mounted directory and make the required changes. As your system is synced with the online Google drive, your changes will be directly uploaded to the internet. A quick alternative is to download the copy to your local system, make required changes, and then place this file to the mounted directory.

Adding a file to Google Drive

To add a file through your system to your Google Drive, just copy the file to the mounted directory when you are connected to the Internet.

Unmounting the Google drive

If you need to unmount the Google drive from your system, right-click the account and select unmount from the options list.

Removing Google Drive Account

In case you want to permanently disconnect Google Drive account from your system, open the Gnome Online Account utility. Click on the added Google account. By doing so, the following window will appear.

Remove Google access

Click the Remove button in order to permanently remove the Google account from your system.

That is all there is to it! By following the above-discussed steps, you can easily access and edit the Google drive files from your Debian machine.

How to Access Google Drive on Debian 10