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Tech tips

Tech tip: How to access Google Drive even when you don’t have internet

We take it for granted that we’ll always have internet access everywhere we go. While coverage is constantly growing and technologies such as 5G offer more availability, dead zones still exist. Your own Wi-Fi could go down, or you could be somewhere that’s charging for it and you’d rather not pay up.

Let’s say you have a long flight. We all know that in-flight movies are almost always terrible, so why not bring along your own entertainment. You can download your favorite streaming movies and shows and watch them from your device without an internet connection. Tap or click here to see how.

Google Drive is cloud-based storage you can access from any smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer. The service makes it easy to upload, edit and share files with others. Though you need an internet connection to upload new content and make changes to existing files, you can still work offline. We’ll show you how it’s done.

Driving off the grid

For whatever reason, you may find yourself with no internet connection. It could be during a long journey by land, sea or air. You could be somewhere with spotty service. Your own network can go down due to a storm, power outages, or trouble on your provider’s end. Whatever the reason, bad networks happen. Tap or click here for a new way to check up on your internet.

But don’t let the lack of internet stop you from getting some work done. Google Drive has an offline mode that lets you view and edit your files, including Docs, Sheets, Slides, videos, images and PDFs on your Android device. Here’s how to use it:

  • Get the apps you need from the Google Play Store: Google Drive, Google DocsGoogle Sheets, or Google Slides. You may have one or more of these preloaded on your phone.
  • Open the Google Drive app and tap the hamburger Menu icon, then Settings. Tap Make recent files available offline. You can do the same for specific file types within the Docs, Sheets and Slides apps. This will make your most frequently used apps available offline.
  • To target specific files for offline use, open the Drive app, tap the three dots More icon for the file you want to edit offline, and then adjust the Available offline slider. You can do the same for specific file types within the Docs, Sheets and Slides app.
  • To view your saved offline files, open the Drive, Docs, Sheets, or Slides app, tap the hamburger Menu icon, and tap Offline.

Your changes will sync across any devices on which you’re signed in to your Google account. Once you regain network access, your edits will be uploaded. Be careful about making changes across multiple devices at once, as this could throw things off.

Tap or click here for the 10 best Chrome extensions you can use with Google Drive.

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