Can I put a file in iCloud but not on my laptop?

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,589
45
Québec
Hello,

In other words, can I use iCloud as a back-up for a huge file without having that file sync on my space-limited laptop?

(As things work right now, the files in iCloud are also on my main computer, a Mac Pro, and my laptop, a Macbook Pro.)

Thanks.
 

winmaciek

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2014
71
31
Poland/Ireland
1. iCloud is not a backup solution - it's more for data sync across devices.
2. Yes, you can. Sort of. You need to go to preferences -> iCloud -> Options... (next to iCloud Drive position on the list) -> Check "Optimize storage" at the bottom of the pop-up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Loa

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,589
45
Québec
2. Yes, you can. Sort of.
"Sort of" being very important. In fact, I don't seem to have any sort of control at all over what gets transferred or not.

Not very useful Apple. Pretty much like icloud photo sharing: no control over which photo gets downloaded vs temporarily streamed.

So if you put a file in the iCloud folder the files also stay in your hard drive?
Yes. I don't mind if it stays on my main computer as it has more than enough disk space. I'd just like to have more control for my laptop, but control is something Apple is keeping for themselves these days.
 

kaya

macrumors newbie
Aug 22, 2012
20
4
Istanbul
What if you create a folder outside of iCloud Documents folder and put your files there, will it still be synced to your computer?
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,589
45
Québec
It off loads your least used files.
That's what I meant: I don't get to decide. Maybe there are big rarely used files that I really need to keep on my laptop, or often used files in iCloud that I don't need to keep on my laptop (but that I use from my Mac Pro or directly from iCloud.com).

But if either of those situations apply to me, I can't get what I need.
 

chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
6,088
3,309
But if either of those situations apply to me, I can't get what I need.
Don’t you usually have an internet connection? Most of the time the automatic system works great. But just like in the old days, you might have to plan ahead if you’re going to be without internet.
 

Loa

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 5, 2003
1,589
45
Québec
Don’t you usually have an internet connection?
Here's a more detailed picture of my needs. I actually need around 10GB of iCloud access, so I have to pay for the 50GB. That, I don't mind at all. But when I look at that unused 40GB of space, I see a "free" remote back-up opportunity. Ideally, I would put a 30ish GB back-up file there for added security.

But while I do have a bit more than 30GB free on my macbook currently, I don't want to fill it up with this and then have to wait for Apple's algorithm to determine that it's not often used.

That's the part I don't like, and I wonder why Apple doesn't allow us such control. They could even add this functionality as a semi-hidden preference for advanced user while keeping the basic and simple functionality intact for most users.
 

macnewbie86

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2014
34
6
Hello,

In other words, can I use iCloud as a back-up for a huge file without having that file sync on my space-limited laptop?

(As things work right now, the files in iCloud are also on my main computer, a Mac Pro, and my laptop, a Macbook Pro.)

Thanks.
Maybe I'm not understanding icloud fully (I just started using it), but as far as I know only the Documents and Desktop folder syncs automatically and requires you to have the file on your device and the cloud at the same time (synced). Plus any app that supports icloud (i.e. pages). Not all apps use icloud though (like scrivener for example).

So I think you are asking if you can upload a file to icloud, without it having to be on your computer? Yes, at least in my experience you can. In the cloud (in finder), Just create a folder outside of Desktop folder or Documents folder and drag and drop.

I have the same need as you, because I only have 128gb of space. I'm into music creation, so what I do is I install all my apps and plugins which take up a good chunk of the hard drive...then I only keep a few projects I'm currently working on, on my hard drive, then I upload all my other Work in Progress projects manually to icloud and when I'm finished with a project I leave them in the cloud and delete them from my computer...so that I can start a new project. Garageband can do this automatically but I found I have to do it manually with Logic pro. These project files in uncompressed form can be hundreds of megabytes each so offloading to icloud is a must.

And once i've finished a project, I upload it to the cloud and delete it from my logic pro folder. The logic pro folder on my computer isn't synced so whatever I delete on my hard drive doesn't affect what I manually uploaded to the cloud.

Now if I had these projects on my desktop background or in my Documents. They would be synced everywhere I had an icloud account.

I have reinstalled the operating system several times and I have deleted projects without it affecting anything in the cloud.

I just started paying and using the 50GB plan so I'm still learning about it but I'm pretty sure you just create folders outside of the Documents and Desktop folder.

If these are just a few really big files, best to do this manually like I do.

I hope this helps.

---

edit:

Someone said icoud can't be used as a backup solution, but that's one of the ways I use it. Why else would they offer up to 200gb of upload? Some people might say "why not buy an external hard drive" and just backup that way, but I just like the convenience of the cloud. I'd rather pay $.99 a month and get 50gb (more than I need right now) then buy a $50 1TB hard drive only to have it fail months down the road.

I will say though I have had problems with what some people call "hanging" (where you upload a file and it just pauses for no particular reason). So if this continues I might look into a 3rd party solution like dropbox for reliability. I haven't lost anything in the cloud yet, but sometimes the upload has paused.
 
Last edited: