A bunch of Google Drive links are about to be broken

A bunch of Google Drive links are about to be broken

A lot of publicly accessible Google Drive links will no longer be accessible later this year unless their owners opt out of new security enhancements. These enhancements are being brought to Google Drive on September 23rd, 2021, the company announced in a blog post today.

Once this change goes live, Google says that users will need a “resource key” to access a publicly shared link. However, users won’t need an updated link with said resource key appended if they’ve already accessed that file before in the past. As a result of this change, we can imagine that lots of Google Drive links shared online on forums and other sites will no longer work as their owners neglect to update them, leaving them only accessible to the people that have already clicked the links before. This comes after Google also announced similar changes to YouTube’s unlisted videos earlier today.


According to the post made on the Google Workspace blog, this won’t affect all files. Users who have shared a file that is affected by this change will get an email from Google informing them of this change and how to opt out of needing those files from being updated. These emails will be sent out to users starting on July 26th. Google shared a copy of a sample email to show end-users what the message they’ll get will look like.
Google Drive security update email

The company doesn’t recommend opting out all files and says that only the files that you want publicly accessible should be opted out. Users have until September 13th to decide if they want the update applied, so if you have no files that are publicly accessible, then you won’t need to do anything.

Admins can choose how the security update is applied for their organization at Admin Console Apps > Google Workspace > Drive and Docs > Sharing settings > Security update for links. Source: Google.

What this change means is that if you come across a Google Drive link online to download a file or document, there’s a chance that it may no longer work if the document owner hasn’t opted out of the changes or updated the link with the resource key. Google Workspace admins will be able to make the decision for people in their organization or give those in their organization the choice of whether they want to update their files or not. Keep an eye out on your email so that you can update the security settings of your files as soon as you can, if you don’t want them to suddenly be inaccessible.

About author

Adam Conway
Adam Conway

I'm the senior technical editor at XDA-Developers. I have a BSc in Computer Science from University College Dublin, and I'm a lover of smartphones, cybersecurity, and Counter-Strike. You can contact me at [email protected] My Twitter is @AdamConwayIE and my Instagram is adamc.99.

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