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About automatic licensing for organizationizal units

Depending on your organization structure and Google services, you might be able to override your top-level organization’s automatic licensing setting for individual organizational units. For example, if you have G Suite Basic automatic licensing turned on for your top-level organization, you can override that setting and turn it off for one or more lower-level organizations. You can also set different options for a parent organization and any children.

When can you use automatic licensing?

To set automatic licensing at the organization level, both of the following statements must be true:

  • You have at least one organizational unit within your top-level organization.
  • You have a subscription to more than one Google service.

Note:

  • If you have a subscription to a paid service, such as G Suite Basic, and one to a free service, such as Cloud Identity, you can only set automatic licensing at the organization level for the paid service.
  • If you have one primary Google subscription, such as G Suite Basic, and one or more secondary services (such as Google Vault or Google Drive storage), you can set automatic licensing at the organization level for one of the secondary services, but not the primary one.
  • If you have one top-level organization with no lower-level organizations—even if you have multiple G Suite subscriptions—you can see that automatic licensing is turned on for one G Suite subscription, but you can’t change this.

When you inherit or override a setting

By default, any organization below the top level inherits the automatic licensing setting of its parent. In the Google Admin console, inherit means to take the same setting (on or off) as the parent.

You can, however, override a parent setting and set the automatic licensing option independently.

Inherit scenarios for automatic licensing
Parent automatic licensing setting Child setting Result
On Inherit
  • Automatic licensing is turned on for the child.
  • Later, if automatic licensing is turned off for the parent, it is also off for the child. 
Off Inherit
  • Automatic licensing is turned off for the child.
  • Later, if automatic licensing is turned on for the parent, it is also on for the child.
Override scenarios for automatic licensing
Parent automatic licensing setting Child setting Result
On Override > On
  • Automatic licensing is turned on for the child, independent of the parent setting.
  • Later, if automatic licensing is turned off for the parent, it remains on for the child.
On Override > Off
  • Automatic licensing is turned off for the child, independent of the parent setting.
  • Later, if automatic licensing is turned off for the parent, it remains off for the child.
Off Override > On
  • Automatic licensing is turned on for the child, independent of the parent setting.
  • Later, if automatic licensing is turned on for the parent, it remains on for the child.
Off Override > Off
  • Automatic licensing is turned off for the child, independent of the parent setting.
  • Later, if automatic licensing is turned on for the parent, it remains off for the child.

How automatic licensing affects existing users

Turning automatic licensing on or off  might affect existing users who are:

  • Already in an organization when you turn on automatic licensing
  • Moved into an organization that has automatic licensing turned on

Have G Suite on the Annual Plan? If you turn on automatic licensing or move users and the number of users in an organization exceeds the number of purchased licenses, some users will not get a license. You can either get more licenses or reduce the number of users by deleting users or moving users to a different organization.

Users who are already in the organization

If you turn on automatic licensing in an organization that already has users with licenses, how those user licenses are affected depends on the organization level.

If you turn on automatic licensing... Here's what happens
At the top level
  • Existing user licenses aren’t changed in the top-level organization or any child organizations.
  • This is true even if the user has a license for the same service as the one with automatic licensing or a different subscription of the same service. 
  • Example: If users in an organization have licenses for Drive storage Capacity 1 and you turn on automatic licensing for Drive storage Capacity 2 at the top level, those users keep their Capacity 1 licenses.
For an organizational unit
  • Existing users in the organization are assigned a license for the service.
  • If a user already has a license for the same service (including different subscriptions of the same service), the earlier license is revoked and the user gets a new auto-assigned license.
  • Example: Users in an organization have licenses for Drive storage Capacity 1. If you turn on automatic licensing for Drive storage Capacity 2, those users’ licenses are switched to Capacity 2.
  • If a user has a license for a different service, that license is retained. 
  • Example: G Suite Basic and Google Vault are different services, so automatically assigning G Suite Basic licenses doesn’t impact a user’s existing Vault license.
Users you move to a different organization

If you move users who have licenses into a different organization, how those users are affected depends on the organization level. These rules apply whether you move individual users or an entire organization to a different organization.

If you move the user to... Here's what happens
The top level
  • All of the user’s existing licenses are retained.
  • This is true even if the user has a license for the same service as the one with automatic licensing or a different subscription of the same service.
  • Example: If users in an organization have licenses for Drive storage Capacity 1 and you move them into the top level where automatic licensing is turned on for Drive storage Capacity 2, those users keep their Capacity 1 licenses.
An organizational unit
  • If a user already has a license for the same service (including different subscriptions of the same service), the earlier license is revoked and the user gets a new auto-assigned license.
  • Example: Users in an organization have licenses for Drive storage Capacity 1. If you move those users to an organization where automatic licensing is turned on for Drive storage Capacity 2, those users’ licenses are switched to Capacity 2.
  • If a user has a license for a different service, that license is retained. 
  • Example: G Suite Basic and Google Vault are different services, so moving a user into an organization that has automatic licensing turned on for G Suite Basic doesn’t impact that user’s existing Vault license.
If you turn off automatic licensing

If you turn off automatic licensing at any level, all of a user’s previously assigned licenses are retained.

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