Transfer ownership of Google Drive documents

There are three user types in Google Drive: owner, editor, and viewer. Documents can have many editors and viewers, but only one owner at a time. By default, the creator of a document is also the owner, but document ownership can be transferred to another user.

If you are a Google Apps super administrator, you can transfer all documents owned by one user to the ownership of another user in your organization. Documents owned by a deleted user cannot be transferred. However, if a user was deleted in the last five days, an admin can restore the user’s account and then transfer the document.

After the transfer, the original owner retains editing privileges of the documents unless that user is deleted or their edit permissions are removed.

Reassigning ownership of all of a user’s documents can be useful when the user leaves the organization. Before deleting a user from your domain, transfer ownership of their documents to avoid losing them.

Transfer ownership of all documents
  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
     
  2. Click Google Apps > Drive. Where is it?
  3. Click Transfer ownership.
     
  4. Complete the Document ownership transfer section:
    • In the From field, enter the user name of the current owner and select the user’s domain.
    • In the To field, enter the user name of the new owner and select the user’s domain.
    Tip: If the transfer involves a very large number of documents, you may want to notify the new owner and check that they have enough storage capacity to accommodate the transferred documents. (You can see the amount of storage used and available at the bottom left corner of Google Drive on the web.)

  5. Click Transfer documents to save.

    All of the transferred documents are automatically organized in a single new folder — titled with the previous owner’s email address — in the new owner’s Drive.

    The administrator and the new and previous owners receive email about the transfer as soon as the process completes.

    If there were any problems with the transfer (e.g. the new owner's quota is exceeded, which prevents the transfer of some documents), the email notification describes what happened. To fix the problem, you might purchase more storage for Google Drive for the new owner, transfer ownership of the documents to a different user, or redistribute ownership of documents one at a time to different users.
If you intend to delete the original owner of the transferred files, make sure to wait until the transfer finishes.
Transfer ownership of individual documents

To transfer ownership of individual documents from one user to another, you can use the API or users can transfer ownership of individual documents themselves.