Block download policy for SharePoint sites and OneDrive

Some features in this article require Microsoft Syntex - SharePoint Advanced Management

As a SharePoint Administrator or Global Administrator in Microsoft 365, you can block download of files from SharePoint sites or OneDrive. This feature doesn't need Microsoft Entra Conditional Access policies. This feature can be set for individual sites and can't be set at the organization level.

Blocking download of files allows users to remain productive while addressing the risk of accidental data loss. Users have browser-only access with no ability to download, print, or sync files. They also won't be able to access content through apps, including the Microsoft Office desktop apps. When web access is limited, users see this message at the top of sites, "Your organization doesn't allow you to download, print, or sync from this site. For help, contact your It department."

You can block the download of Teams meeting recording files specifically if you need to. For more information, see Block the download of Teams meeting recording files from SharePoint or OneDrive.

Requirements

This feature requires Microsoft SharePoint Premium - SharePoint Advanced Management.

How to set this policy for a SharePoint site

  1. To use PowerShell: Download the latest SharePoint Online Management Shell.

    Note

    If you installed a previous version of the SharePoint Online Management Shell, go to Add or remove programs and uninstall "SharePoint Online Management Shell."

  2. Connect to SharePoint as a Global Administrator or SharePoint Administrator in Microsoft 365. To learn how, see Getting started with SharePoint Online Management Shell.

  3. Run the following command.

    Set-SPOSite -Identity <SiteURL> -BlockDownloadPolicy $true
    

    For example, Set-SPOSite -Identity https://contoso.sharepoint.com/sites/research -BlockDownloadPolicy $true. You can apply this cmdlet to OneDrive as well by changing the URL to https://contoso-my.sharepoint.com/personal/John.

The following parameters can be used with this cmdlet to fine-tune it:

  • -ExcludeBlockDownloadPolicySiteOwners $true
    Exempts site owners from this policy and they can fully download any content for the site.

  • -ExcludedBlockDownloadGroupIds <comma separated group IDs>
    Exempts users from the mentioned groups from this policy and they can fully download any content for the site.

  • -ExcludeBlockDownloadSharePointGroups <comma separated group IDs>
    Exempts users from the mentioned SharePoint groups from this policy and they can fully download any content for the site.

  • -ReadOnlyForBlockDownloadPolicy $true
    Marks the site as read-only in addition to preventing downloads.

You also can attach a block download policy to a site sensitivity label.

Set-Label -Identity 'Internal' -AdvancedSettings @{BlockDownloadPolicy="true" | “false” }
Set-Label -Identity 'Internal' -AdvancedSettings @{ExcludedBlockDownloadGroupIds="<list of security or M365 groups>"}

App impact

Blocking download might impact the user experience in some apps, including some Office apps. We recommend that you turn on the policy for some users and test the experience with the apps used in your organization. In Office, make sure to check the behavior in Power Apps and Power Automate when your policy is on.

Note

Apps that run in "app-only" mode in the service, like antivirus apps and search crawlers, are exempted from the policy.

If you're using classic SharePoint site templates, site images might not render correctly. This is because the policy prevents the original image files from being downloaded to the browser.

Need more help?

SharePoint Q&A

Conditional access policy for SharePoint sites and OneDrive

Restrict OneDrive access by security group

Configure a default sensitivity label for a SharePoint document library