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Decorative photo: Google Drive on a laptop and phone.

Google will update specific Drive-shared links starting September 13

Submitted by stauffeg on Tue, 09/07/2021 - 1:34 PM

Google is applying a security update in Google Drive to make sharing links more secure. This update will change the links used for some files, shared in November 2017 and prior, and may lead to some new file access requests. Individuals may be impacted when trying to view these files on websites (public or internal), or posted elsewhere. Access to these files won't change for people who have already viewed them.

What files and folders does this apply to?

Google is applying a security update to the following specific files and folders:

  • folders and files uploaded to Google Drive from November 2017 and previous months/years

which are also

  • non-native Google documents (e.g. Word document, PDF, JPG, etc.)

If you have files that this applies to, you should have received an email directly from Google with the subject line Security update for Drive. You can identify the files and folders this will apply to by going to and typing is:security_update_applied in the search bar.

When will the change occur?

Google will apply the changes to the folders/files in your list starting September 13, 2021 and will complete the updates by September 30, 2021. Your content may be updated at any time during this timeframe. You will not receive any notice that the change occurred nor will you notice the new security update. But please note that the links will be changed.

What can I do between now and Sept 13?

If you have some affected folders or files that are posted on websites and/or are still being actively accessed by people for the first time, you can share the new link for the file ahead of the update. From the search results produced by typing is:security_update_applied in the search bar, right click a file or folder and choose Get link. That link should have the word resourcekey embedded in it and can be posted online and shared with people who have never before accessed the file. Remember, those who have already viewed an affected file won’t need the new link to continue to access the file.

What will happen after the change?

Once the security update is applied to a file, a resource key included in the URL will be required to access the file. Users who previously accessed or viewed the file won’t need the resource key in the URL. Only people who haven’t previously accessed the file will need the resource key to gain access. If they don’t have the URL with the resource key, they’ll need to request access to the file.