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How Do I Use iCloud Storage for Larger Amounts Of Space Bigger Than My Disc Drive?

iCloud Storage. I also want to do as you do with your MacBook Pro – limited SSD storage on Mac and use iCloud. The question is, can I load up iCloud with more than my 512GB disc drive and ‘offload’ to iCloud? Only to show on MacBook size and file, but not use storage? Use the ‘Remove Download’? Does this actually allow you then to say have 750gb on a 512 GB machine and only download what and when I need? I have fibre internet at 900mb/sec plus so no problem with access. Can you help explain iCloud? Many thanks

Use my 2TB iCloud account to give access to all files to iPad and iPhone, but have only limited disk drive (512gb) that I have in MacBook, and use iCloud rather than Dropbox and OneDrive AND iCloud for all my storage. Maybe 800gb to 900gb total for files videos etc.
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Jonathan

Comments: 13 Responses to “How Do I Use iCloud Storage for Larger Amounts Of Space Bigger Than My Disc Drive?”

    2 weeks ago

    It is very common to use iCloud Drive to be able to have more data stored than you have hard drive space on your local drive. To do this, you simply need to enable the Optimize Mac Storage option in iCloud.

    In System Preferences, go to Apple ID at the top. Then click on iCloud on the left. Here you’ll find the checkbox “Optimize Mac Storage.” Turn that on.

    Once you have it on, you can store as many files as you have space for in your iCloud storage, even if your local drive is smaller.

    You don’t need to do anything special, like manually choose “Remove Download.” That is all automatic. Older and larger files will tend to be automatically removed — the files still appear, but the contents aren’t there until you try to access the file. Think of the file like an envelope and the contents of the file like the letter inside an envelope. You’ll see all of your envelopes, but older and larger files will be empty until you try to access them.

    See https://macmost.com/understanding-icloud-drive-and-the-optimize-mac-storage-option.html

    Jonathan
    2 weeks ago

    Thank you – as always excellent help!! For my information, what does the ‘ Remove Download’ feature do then? Is this a sort of manual – Optimise this file rather than all?

    2 weeks ago

    Jonathan: Remove Download an its opposite “Download Now” are manual commands that do the same thing. You don’t need to use them. Let macOS handle it. You can’t be expected to manually decide which of your thousands of files should be present and which should not. But if for some reason you really wanted to tell macOS to offload a single file right now, you could use it. But it is perfectly normal to never use “Remove Download” or “Download Now.”

    Bernardo
    2 weeks ago

    In my experience, the suggestion above does not work optimally in all use cases. In my case, I had an external drive of 2TB (with1.5TB of data) and wanted to move all of this data to iCloud. MacOS will be very slow in dumping the files and do so arbitrarily. My internal SSD is only 512GB, so I could not move 1.5TB of data all at once, to use up my 1.8TB of free iCloud space.

    Bernardo
    2 weeks ago

    My method to transfer this was as follows:

    – Move/copy all the files you can to your iCloud drive, which will actually be stored in your internal SSD in the meantime. Thus you can only move as many files your internal disk has the capacity for.
    – Wait for those files to be uploaded to iCloud drive and use Cirrus to evict the files manually. Thjis will free up disk space https://eclecticlight.co/cirrus-bailiff/
    – Repeat the process until you’ve transferred all files to your iCloud drive.

    2 weeks ago

    Bernardo: It definitely doesn’t do it arbitrarily — it uses an algorithm. It can’t read your mind, so it may not get it right all the time, but it does try to offload based on how often and how recently you accessed the file, and the size of the file. Moving files from an external drive like that will definitely tax the system as you’d need to transfer some of it, then wait for it to offload some of that, then transfer more, etc. You may have been better off uploading the largest files via iCloud.com instead.

    2 weeks ago

    Bernardo: Why do you need the third-party app? You can just use “Remove Download” instead. Or, as I suggested, maybe upload through iCloud.com and skip having it on your local drive completely.

    Bernardo
    2 weeks ago

    Gary, I’m always learning from you! I wasn’t aware it was possible to remove downloads, so the third-party app is indeed not needed. The problem with iCloud.com is that it didn’t allow me to upload folders the last time I checked. So that would have been difficult for my use case.

    Jonathan
    2 weeks ago

    Excellent information! Thanks. One last point, I have lots of video files on OneDrive and then in the Mac app, deselected the folders to keep the files off my Mac due to space. Looks like to move these to iCloud, I need to download to Mac, then upload directly to iCloud to keep the space to a minimum on mc PC. Is there a more direct way of OneDrive to iCloud?

    2 weeks ago

    Jonathan: There’s no direct way to go between OneDrive and iCloud (or any two cloud services) that I can think of.

    Jonathan
    2 weeks ago

    So, I have downloaded some directories from OneDrive, and then ‘copied’ these to my iCloud directory. All good and copied(and uploaded) but the amount of disc space free on my Mac reflects that I have used the space. So, if I loaded say another 100 gb more from the OneDrive, would the space free on my Mac show a negative space free number? I have used the ‘Remove Download on these large directories, so hopefully only stored on the cloud.

    2 weeks ago

    Jonathan: Do you have the Optimize feature turned on? If so, give it some time.

    Jonathan
    2 weeks ago

    Yes, for iCloud only. I will give it some time. I guess it will ‘recover’ the space free over time? Sounds like just what I want though. Thanks Gary

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