Understanding the File And Folder Structure Of Your Mac

Learn about the folder structure of your Mac's drive from the top level to your user folder. Find out what different folders are for and how using iCloud Drive changes things.

Comments: 8 Responses to “Understanding the File And Folder Structure Of Your Mac”

    Karen
    3 months ago

    The iPhotos library is not stored in iCloud Drive but on my Mac’s hard drive per your statement: images is because they would be local to your hard drive and not taking up space in iCloud Drive. Please clarify. Are they taking up space on my hard drive? I pay for 200 GB on the Cloud thinking that’s where the photos are (and desktop/document files).

    Victor Forbes
    3 months ago

    This was extremely helpful – even though I’ve been a Mac user for 30+ years. One question – will Time Machine backup desktop and document folders that are on iCloud?

    3 months ago

    Karen: You can have your Photos library in iCloud, yes. Or not. It is your choice.

    3 months ago

    Victor: If you have the “Optimize” feature turned off, then all of your iCloud files are also stored locally at all times. So then Time Machine would work as expected.

    Gene
    2 months ago

    Very timely topic. One of my “fall objectives” is to understand and clean up my hard drive. I have 3 “iCloud” archive folders. Archive, and Archives 1 and 2. What triggers their generation? Can I get rid of them? I am almost positive my current iCloud Drive is up to date.

    2 months ago

    Gene: Those usually appear if you turn off iCloud Drive or iCloud Drive Desktop and Documents even if you then just turn it on again. Then archives are created to hold the files. Make very very sure you don’t need anything in there before you delete them.

    Paul Einarsen
    2 months ago

    So if I choose to Optimize my Desktop and Documents folders I can only access them when I have an internet connection?

    2 months ago

    Paul: Sometimes. Frequently-accessed and recently-accessed files will still be “cached” local. It isn’t that NONE of your files are kept local, it is just SOME of them are. If you have a file you want to access and know you will be offline, you can always Control+click it and choose Download Now (or just open the file) before you go offline.

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