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Understanding sharing folders on Android

When you share content, you grant access to other users. When you share a file, only that file is shared. When you share a folder, all the files and folders within that folder are shared.

Ownership and permissions

The person who shares the folder or file is the Owner. As the Owner, you have unique permissions to the shared content.

When you share a folder, you can grant Editor or Reader permissions to other users. An Editor can add or change content. A Reader can only view content. When you share your folder with other users, those users can, in turn, share the folder with others. However, a user with Reader permission can grant only Reader permission when sharing the folder.

Users can change permissions or remove only those users that they invited to share the folder. As the Owner, you can change permissions or remove any user, even those you did not directly invite.

Only the Owner can permanently delete any subfolder or file in a shared folder.

Rules for sharing folders

There are specific rules about how top-level folders and subfolders can be shared. Simply, you can share only one folder in a path from top-level to bottom-most folders. The details are described as follows:

  • If you share a top-level folder, you cannot separately share a subfolder.
  • If you share a subfolder, you cannot share its top-level folder.
  • You can share folders that are in the same level, provided they respect the above two rules.

The following diagram is a simple example of two top-level folders, Presentations and Projects. In this example, the Presentations folder has not been shared and the Projects folder has been shared. All folders within these two folders are subfolders.



The following statements are based on the rules as applied to the folders in the diagram:

  • You cannot separately share the R&D folder since the Projects folder has been shared.
  • You cannot separately share Presentations because Support Demo is shared.
  • You can share Sales Demo because it is at the same level as the Support Demo folder; you cannot separately share Presentations because one of its subfolders, Support Demo, is already shared.

For more information on folder icon descriptions visit the Navigating folders on Android section.

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