Google Drive crashing Finder in OS X Mavericks

Uninstalling the program or disabling Google Drive's sync status icon in Finder should prevent repeated crashes and inadvertent application changes.

Topher Kessler MacFixIt Editor
Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.
Topher Kessler
3 min read

After upgrading to OS X Mavericks, are the Finder windows and desktop in your account crashing repeatedly or does the system appear to switch applications randomly? If so, then Google's desktop client for its online Google Drive service may be to blame.

A number of users who have upgraded their systems to OS X Mavericks have found that when logging into their systems, the Finder process will no longer run stably. Instead it quits and relaunches repeatedly. This has been expressed on a number of Apple Support forum threads, including here, here, and here. When this happens, all Finder windows and desktop items disappear and then reappear.

In addition, some people have found the system may switch to the desktop or to Finder windows from other running applications, without any specific action from the user.

Unlike other "break-in" problems experienced immediately after upgrading to Mavericks, this issue started happening days after users had made the upgrade.

The problem at hand appears to be revolving around Google's desktop client (currently version 1.12, created on September 25) for accessing its Google Drive service. When Google Drive synchronizes, the folders you have set up to sync should show a small synchronization icon next to them. It appears that the way Google Drive appends these sync icons to folders is the issue that is crashing Finder in Mavericks.

If this problem is happening to you, then there are a couple of approaches you can take to clear it. First is to uninstall Google Drive from your system, which can be done with the following steps:

Google Drive sync icon settings in the Finder
Uncheck this setting to prevent Finder crashes with Google Drive running in OS X Mavericks. Screenshot by Topher Kessler/CNET
  1. Click the Google Drive menu and choose Preferences.
  2. Choose Disconnect Account in the Preferences window.
  3. Drag the Google Drive application and folder to your Trash.
  4. Log out and back in, or restart your system.

While uninstalling is one approach, another is to simply disable the placement of sync icons in Finder, at least until Google updates its program to fix this problem, which should happen soon. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Google Drive menu and choose Preferences.
  2. Uncheck the option to "Show file sync status icons and right click menu" in the Preferences window.

With this setting changed, Finder should no longer crash when Google Drive synchronizes; however, you will not see a visual indication of when a folder is being synced.

Hopefully Google will update its software to rectify this problem, but until then, these two options should keep your Mavericks system from experiencing repeated crashes.

UPDATE (Nov 5, 7:14am): In response to complaints on its support forums, Google representative Julianne has announced that the Google Drive development team is aware of the issue and is currently in the process of investigating it.

UPDATE (Nov 5, 9:50am): Google has issued an update to Google Drive that should address this problem for affected users. To clear the problem, Google has instructed users to simply quit and relaunch the Google Drive application.

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