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Insync: The Hassleless Way of Using Google Drive on Linux

Using Google Drive on Linux is a pain and you probably already know that. There is no official desktop client of Google Drive for Linux. It’s been more than six years since Google promised Google Drive on Linux but it doesn’t seem to be happening.

In the absence of the official Google Drive client on Linux, you have no option other than trying the alternatives. I have already discussed a number of tools that allow you to use Google Drive on Linux. One of those tools is Insync, and in my opinion, this is your best bet for a native Google Drive experience on desktop Linux.

Note that Insync is not an open source software. Heck, it is not even free to use.

But it has so many features that it becomes an essential tool for those Linux users who rely heavily on Google Drive. In fact, you can use Microsoft OneDrive on Linux thanks to Insync.

I briefly discussed Insync in the old article about Google Drive and Linux. In this article, I’ll discuss Insync features in detail.

Insync brings native Google Drive experience to Linux desktop

Use insync to access Google Drive in Linux

The core competency of Insync is syncing your Google Drive, but the app is much more than that. It has features to help you maximize and control your productivity, your Google Drive and your files such as:

  • Cross-platform access (supports Linux, Windows and macOS)
  • Easy multiple Google Drive accounts access
  • Choose your syncing location. Sync files to your hard drive, external drives and NAS!
  • Support for features like file matching, symlink and ignore list

Let me show you some of the main features in action:

Cross-platform in true sense

Insync claims to run the same app across all operating systems i.e., Linux, Windows, and macOS. That means that you can access the same UI across different OSes, making it easy for you to manage your files across multiple machines.

The UI of Insync and the default location of the Insync folder.
The UI of Insync and the default location of the Insync folder.

Multiple Google account management

Insync interface allows you to manage multiple Google Drive accounts seamlessly. You can easily switch between several accounts just by clicking your Google account.

Switching between multiple Google accounts in Insync
Switching between multiple Google accounts

Custom sync folders

Customize the way you sync your files and folders. You can easily set your syncing destination anywhere on your machine including external drive and network drives.

Customize sync location in Insync
Customize sync location

The selective syncing mode also allows you to easily select a number of files and folders you’d want to sync (or unsync) in your local machine. This includes selectively syncing files within folders.

Selective synchronization in Insync
Selective synchronization

It has features like file matching and ‘ignore list’ to help you filter files you don’t want to sync or files that you already have on your machine.

File matching feature in Insync
Avoids duplication of files

The ‘ignore list’ allows you to set rules to exclude certain type of files from synchronization.

Selective syncing based on rules in Insync
Selective syncing based on rules

If you prefer to work out of the desktop, you have an “Add to Insync” feature that will allow you to add any local file to your Drive.

Sync files right from your desktop
Sync files right from your desktop

Insync also supports symlinks for those with workflows that use symbolic links. To learn more about Insync and symlinks, you can refer to this article.

Exclusive features for Linux 

Insync supports the most commonly used 64-bit Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora. You can check out the full list of distribution support here.

Insync also has headless support for those looking to sync through the command line interface. This is perfect if you use a distro that is not fully supported by the GUI app or if you are working with servers or if you simply prefer the CLI.

Insync CLI
Command Line Interface

You can learn more about installing and running Insync headless here.

Insync pricing and special discount

Insync is a premium tool and it comes with a price tag. You have 2 licenses to choose from:

  • Prime is priced at $29.99 per Google account. You’ll get access to: cross-platform syncing, multiple accounts access and support.
  • Teams is priced at $49.99 per Google account. You’ll be able to access all the Prime features + Team Drives syncing

It’s a one-time fee which means once you buy it, you don’t have to pay it again. In a world where everything is paid monthly, it’s refreshing to pay for software that is still one-time!

Each Google account has a 15-day free trial that will allow you to test the full suite of features, including Team Drives syncing.

If you think it’s a bit expensive for your budget, I have good news for you. As an It’s FOSS reader, you get Insync at 25% discount.

Just use the code ITSFOSS25 at checkout time and you will get 25% immediate discount on any license. Isn’t it cool?

If you are not certain yet, you can try Insync free for 15 days. And if you think it’s worth the money, purchase the license with ITSFOSS25 coupon code.

You can download Insync from their website.

I have used Insync from the time when it was available for free and I have always liked it. They have added more features over the time and improved its UI and performance. Overall, it’s a nice-to-have application if you use Google Drive a lot and do not mind paying for the efforts of the developers.

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  • Been using Insync to sync Google Drive with Ubuntu 20.04 for a year.

    It’s deleted my entire harddrive TWICE and has been a giant headache for over a year. Program is full of bugs and needs to be re-installed and re-configured constantly. (literally about once a week with regular usage)

    DO NOT USE THIS PROGRAM TO BACKUP SENSITIVE DATA.

    I wish there was an alternative for google drive usage. Since there isn’t, I just stopped using Google Drive. I still use Insync when my friends share google drive files with me, but this directory is unstable and I learned to keep it isolated from the rest of my system.

    Do not recommend. I do not trust this company anymore.

  • pretty disappointed – will NOT work with enterprise onedrive accounts because they need some sort of elevated permissions – who’s institution is going to give them that??? and also looks like you need another licence for onedrive and a licence for google drive?? now that really is some bullcrap. only good on the surface (tho the app itself looks really good. too good to be true)