Andrew Milich / 9.11.2022Home / guides

How to migrate your Dropbox or Google Drive

How can you migrate from Dropbox or Google Drive to a new cloud storage provider?
Google Drive logo with red security warning badge.
Millions of people and companies now pay for hundreds of gigabytes or terabytes of storage on a cloud provider. With storage at this scale - and likely thousands of files - migrating to another cloud provider can be challenging. Frequently, due to storage space limitations, downloading every file and reuploading it to a new provider could be impossible; although some data migration tools exist, they can cause privacy headaches or frustrating user experience.If you’re looking to transfer file from one cloud provider to another, this blog post will provide some practical tips on how you can move files, without using third-party apps. Although some other tutorials may suggest convenient data transfer methods that exist on the cloud, we suggest you avoid these options as they almost always use a third party to process your files. If a third party is involved, your privacy will be compromised as data passes through another processing entity.We’ll give some step-by-step guides on how you can transfer files, as well as key considerations for selecting a new cloud storage provider.

Google Drive and Dropbox - popularity and privacy

Dropbox boasts almost one billion accounts created, and Google Drive reports having over one billion active users. Despite this scale, neither provider has implemented the privacy protections that many users would expect from a cloud provider.Google Drive is a great tool for storing and sharing files, but there are some privacy concerns that users should be aware of. One issue is that Google Drive is a cloud-based service, which means that your data is stored on Google's servers. This raises the possibility that Google could access your data and use it for purposes other than those you intended.Another major concern is that Google Drive does not offer end-to-end encryption, which means that your data could be read by someone who gains access to Google's servers; this includes all Google Docs, sheets, and files on the platform. End to end encryption is a type of data encryption where only the creator and intended recipients can see the contents of a file or message. The file is encrypted by the sender using a public key, which can only be decrypted by the recipient using a private key, which is known only to users and not to service providers.Finally, Google Drive's terms of service state that Google has the right to review and remove any content that it deems to be in violation of its terms. This means that Google could potentially remove files that you consider to be private or confidential.Dropbox has had similar privacy issues, both in technical construction and privacy policies. Dropbox files are not end-to-end encrypted, and users have had privacy issues wherein content will be removed with their intentions or their accounts will be closed. Dropbox has had some notable privacy issues and had issues with data breaches in the past (in one particular instance, Dropbox was not compromised, but millions of user accounts were attacked with credentials discovered around the web).As a result, migrating to new cloud storage providers has never been more popular. Big tech companies have faced increasing privacy concerns, stagnating technology, mounting questions about data storage and encryption from consumers.

End-to-end encrypted storage options

For a brief discussion on choosing a new provider, end-to-end encryption guarantees that only you and anyone you share has access to your data - and no one else. This includes the service provider. End-to-end encryption still allows you to take advantage of file sharing, adding team members, and more additional features for having a convenient cloud storage option.For example, Skiff Drive supports up to one terabyte of storage under the paid plan; files can be uploaded, downloaded, and shared from web apps, the Mac desktop app, and mobile apps on Android and iOS. Other cloud storage providers offer similar pricing, usability, and customization - with end-to-end encryption protecting your data privacy.Depending on your privacy preferences, some providers also support decentralized storage integrations for your end-to-end encrypted data. For example, you may read more about Skiff’s support for IPFS, the InterPlanetary File System.

Key considerations

The first step in migrating your Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive is to choose a new cloud storage provider. As this blog mainly discusses how to actually migrate your files, we’d suggest you read our blog on choosing a new encrypted cloud storage provider, such as Skiff or Tresorit. While many storage options offer ease of use and convenience, privacy and end-to-end encryption have become major differentiators.Once you’ve chosen a new provider, you’ll want to start stepping through the list below to prepare for the migration process. This includes making a backup of your files (or maintaining an existing cloud backup) to ensure that no data is lost in the migration process. For more steps, check out the process below:1. Backup: Make sure you have a current backup of your files. This is important in case something goes wrong during the migration process.2. Choose a new provider: Choose the right destination for your files. Not all cloud storage services are created equal. Do some research to find the one that best fits your needs. You’ll also want to examine paid plans on each provider, as different cloud storage solutions have different free and paid limits (such as Dropbox’s 2 GB paid plan limit).3. Be prepared to put in some work. Migrating your files will take some time, especially if you have a lot of them. If you are looking to migrate a terabyte of data, you may even have to complete the process over multiple days.

Exporting from Dropbox or Drive

Here are the basic steps to migrate your files from Dropbox or Google Drive to another provider:1. Create an account with your new cloud storage provider. If you know how much storage you need already (100 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, or more), you can already upgrade to a paid plan, or start a paid free trial.2. Export your files from your Dropbox or Google Drive account. This can be done by going to the settings page for each service and selecting the option to export your data. On either platform, you can also right click to open a dropdown window to select download to a ZIP file for any file or folder. Using checkboxes and the “shift” key, you can also multi select and download files.3. Import your files into your new account. This can usually be done by going to the settings page for your new provider and selecting the option to import data. Alternatively, you can drag and drop to upload files into your new provider. This step and the previous step may take the bulk of your time; we’d suggest selecting a large number of files at once and trying to move them in long-running processes you can observe over time.4. Set up new mobile and desktop apps, or local synchronization folders for your new accounts. If you need to share folders or files with anyone else, now is a good time to also verify and set up the proper permissions.5. Delete your files from Dropbox or Google Drive. This is an important step to prevent you from being charged for storage on both services.6. Adjust your settings and preferences on your new cloud storage provider. This includes things like choosing which folders to sync and setting up security and sharing options. Your new provider may have different settings for sharing, uploading, and downloading your data.That's it! By following these simple steps, you can easily migrate your files from Dropbox or Google Drive to another cloud storage provider. Generally, a similar process of backup, downloading, and re-uploading your data will work for other services, including both iCloud and OneDrive.


Nowadays, we are increasingly storing our sensitive data on cloud storage. This is because cloud storage is more secure and convenient than traditional storage methods. Generally, migrating cloud storage providers is a hassle given the amount of data stored online - making it expensive or difficult to download that data, set up a new account, and reupload your data to a new provider.Traditional storage methods, such as hard drives and USB flash drives, are even worse - they are vulnerable to physical damage, theft, and simply accidental loss. Even if these devices are encrypted, they can still be brute-forced by attackers. On the other hand, cloud storage providers have solved data reliability and accessibility problems, keeping individuals’ data always available and backed up. Cloud storage is much more convenient than traditional storage methods. We can access our data from anywhere in the world as long as we have an internet connection. We don’t have to worry about losing our data if our hard drive crashes because it is stored safely on the cloud.Furthermore, the most security-conscious cloud providers today - such as Tresorit and Skiff - support end-to-end encryption, making it much more difficult for anyone except you to access your data.For more tutorials, check out our blog on choosing an encrypted cloud storage provider, or our videos page to learn how to upload and share your files.

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