Every request your application sends to the Drive API must include an authorization token. The token also identifies your application to Google.
About authorization protocols
Authorizing requests with OAuth 2.0
All requests to the Drive API must be authorized by an authenticated user.
The details of the authorization process, or "flow," for OAuth 2.0 vary somewhat depending on what kind of application you're writing. The following general process applies to all application types:
- When you create your application, you register it using the Google API Console. Google then provides information you'll need later, such as a client ID and a client secret.
- Activate the Drive API in the Google API Console. (If the API isn't listed in the API Console, then skip this step.)
- When your application needs access to user data, it asks Google for a particular scope of access.
- Google displays a consent screen to the user, asking them to authorize your application to request some of their data.
- If the user approves, then Google gives your application a short-lived access token.
- Your application requests user data, attaching the access token to the request.
- If Google determines that your request and the token are valid, it returns the requested data.
Some flows include additional steps, such as using refresh tokens to acquire new access tokens. For detailed information about flows for various types of applications, see Google's OAuth 2.0 documentation.
Here's the OAuth 2.0 scope information for the Drive API:
||Allows access to the Application Data folder.||Recommended|
||Per-file access to files created or opened by the app. File authorization is granted on a per-user basis and is revoked when the user deauthorizes the app.||Recommended|
||Special scope used to let users approve installation of an app, and scope needs to be requested.||Recommended|
||Allows read-only access to installed apps.||Sensitive|
||Allows read-write access to file metadata (excluding
||Full, permissive scope to access all of a user's files, excluding the Application Data folder.||Restricted|
||Allows read and write access to the Drive Activity API.||Restricted|
||Allows read-only access to the Drive Activity API.||Restricted|
||Allows read-only access to file metadata and file content.||Restricted|
||Allows read-only access to file metadata (excluding
||Allows access to Apps Script files.||Restricted|
Recommended - These scopes provides the smallest scope of authorization access and does not require any app verification or security assessment.
Sensitive - These scopes allow access to Google User Data and require a sensitive scope verification process. For information on this requirement, see Google API Services: User Data Policy. These scopes do not require a security assessment.
Restricted - These scopes provide wide access to Google User Data and require you to go through a restricted scope verification process. For information on this requirement, see Google API Services: User Data Policy and Additional Requirements for Specific API Scopes. If you store restricted scope data on servers (or transmit), then you need to go through a security assessment.
Save refresh tokens in long-term storage
You must save refresh tokens in secure long-term storage and continue to use them as long as they remain valid. All Drive apps should treat all "Create New" and "Open with" events like potential logins.
For more details, see Handle Create New and Open With events.
The next section helps you to determine what scopes to use and where to go if you need verification or a security assessment.
Select scopes for a new app
When your app is installed, a user is asked to validate the scopes used by the app.
Generally, you do not want users to have to decide to validate use of restricted scopes.
So, when possible, use "recommended" scopes as they narrow access to specific
functionality needed by an app. In most cases, providing narrow access means
https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.file per-file access scope.
There are only two types of apps where use of restricted scopes might be permitted:
Use of restricted scopes might be permitted for native and web apps that provide local sync or automatic backup of users’ Drive files.
Use of restricted scopes might be permitted for productivity and educational applications whose user interface might involve interaction with Google Drive. For example, if your app is a chat app that allows a user to paste Drive URL in a discussion, restricted scopes might be permitted. Productivity applications include task management, note taking, workgroup communications, and classroom collaboration applications.
If you believe your app requires a restricted scope, refer to Request restricted scope verification and security assessment.
If you believe your app requires a sensitive scope, refer to How do I submit for verification?.
Request restricted scope verification and security assessment
If you store restricted scope data on servers (or transmit), then you need to go through a security assessment. To ensure confidentiality of your application, Google uses third-party vendors to conduct the security assessment.
To request a restricted scope verification, see How do I submit for verification?.
Upon passing the restricted scope verification, you are sent an email with third-party security assessors who you can use to perform your security assessment.
For frequently asked questions about restricted scope verification and the security assessment, refer to OAuth API Application Verification FAQ.
Migrate an existing app to a recommended scope
If your app currently uses full Drive scopes, and you want to limit the
range of authorization for your app users, you can update your app to use the
https://www.googleapis.com/auth/drive.file recommended scope.
If you've developed a Drive app that uses any of the restricted scopes, we
recommend migrating your app to use
drive.file scope. This scope enables
users to select the specific files from Google Drive, and through the Google
Picker, that they want to allow your app to access. Apps that use the
drive.file scope are not required to go through the restricted scope
verification and third-party security assessment.
Many apps work with per-file access without any changes. If you are currently
using your own file picker, we recommend switching to the
Google file picker which fully supports the
Add scopes to access other Google APIs
If your app requires access to any other Google APIs, you can add those scopes as well. For more information about Google API scopes, see Using OAuth 2.0 to Access Google APIs.
To request access using OAuth 2.0, your application needs the scope information, as well as information that Google supplies when you register your application (such as the client ID and the client secret).
Tip: The Google APIs client libraries can handle some of the authorization process for you. They are available for a variety of programming languages; check the page with libraries and samples for more details.
Handle Create New and Open With events
All Drive apps should treat all "Create New" and "Open with" events like
potential logins. Some users may have multiple accounts. If the user ID in
state parameter does not match the current session, you may need to end
the current session for your app and log in as the requested user.
Handle declined access requests
Users can click No Thanks in the OAuth dialog to decline your app access to
their files. If a user declines access, catch the
access_denied string in the
error and display a user-friendly response. For example,
and a meaningful explanation of why your app needs certain information. You can
also provide a link back to the OAuth flow.
Perform Google Workspace Domain-Wide Delegation of Authority
In enterprise applications you may want to programmatically access users data without any manual authorization on their part. In Google Workspace domains, the domain administrator can grant to third party applications domain-wide access to its users' data — this is referred as domain-wide delegation of authority. To delegate authority this way, domain administrators can use service accounts with OAuth 2.0.
For additional detailed information, see Using OAuth 2.0 for Server to Server Applications