Insync For Linux Brings Google Drive Desktop Sync to Ubuntu

We have discussed Insync a few months ago and talked about how it could turn your Google Drive into a better storage solution than Dropbox. The good thing is, it is now available for Linux and it brings the complete Google Drive syncing capabilities to your Ubuntu desktop.

Grive used to be the syncing solution for Google Drive in Linux. However it is still in early stage of development and some of its features are pretty basic. With Insync for Linux, even though it is also in beta, it is much more polished and brings Dropbox-like feature for your Google Drive.

Note: Insync is available for Windows, Mac and various mobile platforms as well.


1. Go to this page and download the latest beta version.

2. The downloaded file should be in “.tar.bz2” format. Extract the file to your Home folder (if after extracting the file, you see a tar file, extract it further.). You should see a “insync-linux-metapackage” folder.

3. Open a terminal and type the following:

cd insync-linux-metapackage
sudo ./insync-installer

The installer will prompt you to install a whole bunch of files.

You can now download the .deb file from the download site.

Once the installation is done, press “Alt +F2” and type


to run the Insync application.

4. On the first run, it will bring you to the Google site and ask for permission to access your account. You will have to approve it before you can proceed.


5. After it has received the permission, it will bring you to another screen where it prompts you to link your machine to your account. Just give it a name and click “Link Machine to this account”


6. Lastly, open your Nautilus File Manager and you should see the Insync folder in your Home directory.



If you have used Dropbox or UbuntuOne, using Insync is a breeze. When it is running, it will automatically sync all the files in your Google Drive account to your desktop. All the documents will be converted to Ms Office format (.doc, .xls, .ppt etc) so you can edit them on your desktop using your native Office application. The changes will also be synced back to the server.

There is also an appindicator that allows you to access your desktop folder, or the Insync web easily. You can also check out any error occurred during the syncing process.


One restriction for Dropbox is that you each desktop client is only linked to one Dropbox account. You have to resort to hacks to get multiple Dropbox account to work. For Insync, you can add multiple Google accounts and they will be synced to their respective folders within the Insync folder.

Lastly, Insync also works well with the Nautilus File Manager. You can right-click any file and select the appropriate actions (such as Open in Google Drive, Share, get public links etc) under the Insync Context option.


Note: In case the Insync context option did not show up in the context menu, it is probably because the Nautilus-python folder’s ownership is not set correctly. To fix this, type this in the terminal:

sudo chown username:username ~/.local/share/nautilus-python
killall nautilus

Change the “username” to your login username in Ubuntu.

Auto-start Insync after login

As of this beta version, Insync does not come with an auto-start option. You will have to start the app manually everytime you login. One workaround is to add an entry to the Startup Applications so it will run automatically when you log in.

Open the “Startup Application” menu and click the “Add” button.

Enter the detail as shown in the screenshot below:


That’s it.


Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox