Who can access OneDrive and Google Drive? Find and remove them

If you think that only you can access your Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive storage, you are wrong. Other apps can. View and manage apps that have access to your OneDrive and Google Drive.

How can someone else gain access to your online storage at Microsoft and Google? Quite easily in fact. Some phone apps and some computer software and some services require access to your online drives in order to function. For example, they may store data online to enable the app on different devices to sync, games may store your progress, backup software might use it as the backup destination, and so on.

None of these apps and services can access your online drive without your permission, but it is easy to forget about them long after we finished using them. Permissions are forever, unless you revoke them. That app you used five years ago but haven’t used since, may still have permission to read and write files in your OneDrive or Google Drive.

It is not a good idea to let apps, services and software have continued access to your online files if you no longer use them. If you stop using something, stop giving it permission to access your storage.

Here I will show how to find out what can access your online drives from Microsoft and Google, and how to remove permissions to prevent them from accessing it again. If you ever want to use them again you will simply be asked to give access permission, which you can easily do.

View and revoke permissions to access OneDrive

1: Access your Microsoft account

Privacy settings in a Microsoft account.
Privacy dashboard in a Microsoft account

Open a web browser and go to accounts.microsoft.com. You will need to sign in and possibly use 2FA or an authenticator app to prove it is you. At the top of the web page is a menu bar. Click Privacy to open the Privacy dashboard. You may have to jump through more security hoops to do this, which is a pain, but necessary.

2: More privacy settings

Microsoft account privacy dashboard in a web browser.
Click Apps and services in the Privacy dashboard

Scroll down the page until you come to a section titled More privacy settings. This conists of a number of tiles and among them is Apps and services. Click View app access details.

3: Apps and services list

Apps and services that can access your Microsoft account
Apps and services with permission to access your OneDrive storage

On the next page you are shown a list of apps and services that are able to access your OneDrive online storage. Naturally, a lot of them are essential Microsoft, Windows and Office items. Among them are also third party apps and services that you have given permission to at some time. This may have been a long time ago and you may have forgotten.

Find a non-Microsoft app or service that has permission to access OneDrive and that you no longer use. It helpfully tells you the date it last accessed OneDrive. Click it to continue.

4: Remove permissions to access OneDrive

Remove access permission for an app or service in your Microsoft account
Remove permissions for an app or service in a Microsoft account

The permissions that the app or service has is shown, such as access OneDrive files and maintain access to data it has saved. If you no longer use this app or service, click the button below, Remove these permissions.

You are returned to the list of apps and services that can access OneDrive where you can remove more apps and services if you need to. That’s it. Those apps no longer have access and your Microsoft account is more secure.

View and revoke permissions to access Google Drive

1: Go to Google Drive

Google Drive menu options in a web browser
Click the gear icon in Google Drive for settings

Open a web browser and go to drive.google.com to access your files and folders stored online in Google Drive. Click the gear icon in the top right corner to show the menu and then click Settings.

2: Manage apps on Google Drive

Manage apps and services in Google Drive settings
See apps and services with access to Google Drive

Select Manage apps in the sidebar in Google Drive Settings. A list of apps and services that can access your files and folders on Google Drive is displayed. As you might expect, there are many Google apps and services with permissions. Ignore them and look for unwanted third party apps and services.

3: Remove permissions to access Google Drive

Remove access to Google Drive for an app or service
Disconnect apps to remove access to Google Drive

Click the Options button to the right of an app or service that you no longer use and then select Disconnect from Drive on the menu that is displayed.

Disconnect an app or service from Google Drive
Stop apps accessing Google Drive

A small window appears giving you a chance to change your mind. If there is a checkbox, Also delete hidden app data…, select it and then click the Disconnect button.

Disconnect and app and delete its data in Google Drive settings
Disconnect and delete app data from Google Drive

Here is a variation of that and clicking the Options button next to this item shows two menus, Disconnect from Drive and Delete hidden app data. The files that apps store are sometimes hidden from the Google Drive file listing in a browser, but they still take up storage space.

Now that you have removed access permissions and data for apps you no longer use with OneDrive and Google Drive, your account will be a bit more secure and will have a bit more storage space.

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