Improve performance

This document covers some techniques you can use to improve the performance of your application. In some cases, examples from other APIs or generic APIs are used to illustrate the ideas presented. However, the same concepts are applicable to the Drive API.

Batch requests

Global HTTP Batch Endpoints ( will cease to work on August 12, 2020 as announced on the Google Developers blog. For instructions on transitioning services to use API-specific HTTP Batch Endpoints (, refer to the blog post.

This document shows how to batch API calls together to reduce the number of HTTP connections your client has to make.

This document is specifically about making a batch request by sending an HTTP request. If, instead, you're using a Google client library to make a batch request, see the client library's documentation.


Each HTTP connection that your client makes results in a certain amount of overhead. The Drive API supports batching, to allow your client to put several API calls into a single HTTP request.

Examples of situations when you might want to use batching:

  • Retrieving metadata for a large number of files.
  • Updating metadata or properties in bulk.
  • Changing permissions for a large number of files, such as adding a new user or group.
  • Synchronizing local client data for the first time or after being offline for an extended time.

In each case, instead of sending each call separately, you can group them together into a single HTTP request. All the inner requests must go to the same Google API.

You're limited to 100 calls in a single batch request. If you need to make more calls than that, use multiple batch requests.

Note: The batch system for the Drive API uses the same syntax as the OData batch processing system, but the semantics differ.

Note: Batch requests with more than 100 calls may result in an error.

Note: There is an 8000 character limit on the length of the URL for each inner request.

Note: Currently, Google Drive does not support batch operations for media, either for upload or download.

Batch details

A batch request consists of multiple API calls combined into one HTTP request, which can be sent to the batchPath specified in the API discovery document. The default path is /batch/api_name/api_version. This section describes the batch syntax in detail; later, there's an example.

Note: A set of n requests batched together counts toward your usage limit as n requests, not as one request. The batch request is taken apart into a set of requests before processing.

Format of a batch request

A batch request is a single standard HTTP request containing multiple Drive API calls, using the multipart/mixed content type. Within that main HTTP request, each of the parts contains a nested HTTP request.

Each part begins with its own Content-Type: application/http HTTP header. It can also have an optional Content-ID header. However, the part headers are just there to mark the beginning of the part; they're separate from the nested request. After the server unwraps the batch request into separate requests, the part headers are ignored.

The body of each part is itself a complete HTTP request, with its own verb, URL, headers, and body. The HTTP request must only contain the path portion of the URL; full URLs are not allowed in batch requests.

The HTTP headers for the outer batch request, except for the Content- headers such as Content-Type, apply to every request in the batch. If you specify a given HTTP header in both the outer request and an individual call, then the individual call header's value overrides the outer batch request header's value. The headers for an individual call apply only to that call.

For example, if you provide an Authorization header for a specific call, then that header applies only to that call. If you provide an Authorization header for the outer request, then that header applies to all of the individual calls unless they override it with Authorization headers of their own.

When the server receives the batched request, it applies the outer request's query parameters and headers (as appropriate) to each part, and then treats each part as if it were a separate HTTP request.

Response to a batch request

The server's response is a single standard HTTP response with a multipart/mixed content type; each part is the response to one of the requests in the batched request, in the same order as the requests.

Like the parts in the request, each response part contains a complete HTTP response, including a status code, headers, and body. And like the parts in the request, each response part is preceded by a Content-Type header that marks the beginning of the part.

If a given part of the request had a Content-ID header, then the corresponding part of the response has a matching Content-ID header, with the original value preceded by the string response-, as shown in the following example.

Note: The server may perform your calls in any order. Don't count on their being executed in the order in which you specified them. If you want to ensure that two calls occur in a given order, you can't send them in a single request; instead, send the first one by itself, then wait for the response to the first one before sending the second one.


The following example shows the use of batching with the Drive API.

Example batch request

Accept-Encoding: gzip
User-Agent: Google-HTTP-Java-Client/1.20.0 (gzip)
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=END_OF_PART
Content-Length: 963

--END_OF_PART Content-Length: 337 Content-Type: application/http content-id: 1 content-transfer-encoding: binary

POST Authorization: Bearer authorization_token Content-Length: 70 Content-Type: application/json; charset=UTF-8

{ "emailAddress":"", "role":"writer", "type":"user" } --END_OF_PART Content-Length: 353 Content-Type: application/http content-id: 2 content-transfer-encoding: binary

POST Authorization: Bearer authorization_token Content-Length: 58 Content-Type: application/json; charset=UTF-8

{ "domain":"", "role":"reader", "type":"domain" } --END_OF_PART--

Example batch response

This is the response to the example request in the previous section.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Alt-Svc: quic=":443"; p="1"; ma=604800
Server: GSE
Alternate-Protocol: 443:quic,p=1
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
Content-Encoding: gzip
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=batch_6VIxXCQbJoQ_AATxy_GgFUk
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:28:59 GMT
Cache-Control: private, max-age=0
Vary: X-Origin
Vary: Origin
Expires: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:28:59 GMT

--batch_6VIxXCQbJoQ_AATxy_GgFUk Content-Type: application/http Content-ID: response-1

HTTP/1.1 200 OK Content-Type: application/json; charset=UTF-8 Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:28:59 GMT Expires: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:28:59 GMT Cache-Control: private, max-age=0 Content-Length: 35

{ "id": "12218244892818058021i" }

--batch_6VIxXCQbJoQ_AATxy_GgFUk Content-Type: application/http Content-ID: response-2

HTTP/1.1 200 OK Content-Type: application/json; charset=UTF-8 Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:28:59 GMT Expires: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:28:59 GMT Cache-Control: private, max-age=0 Content-Length: 35

{ "id": "04109509152946699072k" }


Return specific fields from the request

By default, the server sends back a default set of resource fields specific to the method used. For example, the files.list method might only return the id, name, and mimeType. These fields might not be the exact fields you need. If you need to return other fields, refer to Return specific fields for a file.