Confused over "storage optimization" option

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by davidrichter, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. davidrichter macrumors newbie

    davidrichter

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #1
    I am confused over the optimized storage function in macOS Sierra and hoping someone here can help me. It is not about the "optimize storage" command in the storage options, but about the option "Storage optimization"in the icloud-settings with the checkmark.

    This option seems to have 2 different effects:
    1: A local copy of all my iCloud Drive data is stored on my internal harddrive.
    2: Old files (?) from my Harddrive get automatically moved from my internal harddrive to my icloud drive if my local harddrive has low capacity.

    Is this right?

    While i want to have the first effect, i absolutely do not want the second. So i ask myself the following:

    1: If i uncheck this option, do i lose the capability to include icloud drive files in my TM Backups, as they arent stored local anymore?

    2: Is there a possibility to have effect "1" without effect "2"?

    3: If i leave the option active, "who" is deciding which files are "old" or that my internal storage is low. An algorithm? Will i get a notification if it starts to move my files?

    I hope someone can help me. I really dont understand why such different mechanics are bundled into one option.
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #2
    If you UNcheck that box, but still have iCloud Drive turned on, all your files in the iCloud Drive folder are stored in iCloud and also stored on your local drive and are still backed up by Time Machine.

    Like you mentioned, if you do check that box and the local drive starts to get full, it will take the oldest and not recently used items and take them off the local drive and store them in iCloud only. So in that case there would be no Time Machine backup.

    I don't know what the algorithm is and from what I have read there is no notification. You would just see a little cloud logo for files that are only in iCloud.
     
  3. davidrichter thread starter macrumors newbie

    davidrichter

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #3
    Thank you for the explanation. I will uncheck the option, and i am glad that my files are also locally storef. Still wondering a bit why the description of the option says that it will store a local copy, when this is done anyway.
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #4
    I think it is just warning you that all files might not be stored locally if your drive starts to get full. I agree with you it is worded a bit weird.

    I keep it unchecked because like you, I don't like the idea of it not being backed up.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 11.09.25 AM.png
     
  5. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #5
    If they're old files, they would have presumably been backed up by Time Machine already. TM won't remove the file from your backup if it gets moved to iCloud.
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #6
    I understand that, but they are still subject to being purged off the Time Machine backup, so not really a safe backup any longer. I would never risk my data to this arrangement.
     
  7. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    Jul 14, 2015
    #7
    Maybe I should start a sacrificial user account and try out this storage optimization thing. I don't want to experiment on my current collection of files (which I'm now realizing dates back almost twenty years).

    I'm sure Apple knew what they were doing when they created the feature, but I'm not sure that it's being explained clearly enough for non- and mid-"power users".
     
  8. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #8
    I love the option to automatically offload old stuff to iCloud only to save space, but that's because I have 2 machines: my iMac doesn't have the option turned on whereas my rMB does.

    That means my iMac always has a local copy of the documents in iCloud (and is backed up using Time Machine and Crashplan and synced to my NAS which is also backed up), whereas my rMB has access to all my documents without me worrying about putting too much in iCloud and filling its smallish 256gb drive :)

    If I only had one machine, I doubt I'd trust it to optimise my files automatically
     
  9. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #9
    TM doesn't purge files completely. It may remove some incremental backups but will always keep the most recent version of the file regardless.
     
  10. KALLT macrumors 601

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #10
    The file is deleted if no snapshot links to it anymore. If the file isn’t on the hard drive, it will eventually disappear.
     
  11. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #11
    Like KALLT mentioned, you would be correct if the file still existing on the internal drive, TM would always keep at least one version. But that is not the case in this example. The file is no longer on the disk, so TM could eventually purge it off.
     
  12. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #12
    Even though there's a link to the iCloud version on the drive? It's not quite the same as manually deleting the file. Not sure that's right, though hopefully someone can confirm one way or another as my understanding was that it will remain on TM backup. I thought I read that somewhere but it's possible I'm remembering incorrectly.
     
  13. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #13
    I have not seen any documentation that it works like you are thinking, but I do understand your reasoning. I would be curious to see anything you could dig up to confirm that.
     
  14. zorinlynx macrumors 601

    zorinlynx

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    Florida, USA
    #14
    This feature can be dangerous as it eliminates one of the main benefits of using iCloud: Having at least two copies of your data for backup purposes.

    If Optimize Storage is on, you can get into a situation where the ONLY copy of your data is in iCloud. Generally a very bad idea. It feels like Apple is making it easier for people to be careless with their data, something I don't care for as most people know absolutely nothing about proper data security and backup procedures.

    The only time anyone should use this feature is if they have a laptop with a very tiny SSD, and a desktop at home with the feature turned off (and hopefully Time Machine backups as well.) iCloud on its own is NOT a true backup, but it's better than nothing. A true backup will protect against deletion and unwanted changes as well as hardware failure, something iCloud doesn't do.
     
  15. flyingspur macrumors regular

    flyingspur

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    #15
    Good info here! I did not know this. I have deselected this option now. I do not have the "Desktop
    & Documents Folder" selected. If I select this now will it remain on the drive and iCloud now too?
     
  16. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #16
    Yes... if you checkmark Desktop & Documents it just moves both those folders into the iCloud folder, which exists on your local drive and is synced to the iCloud servers and will still be backed up by Time Machine.
     
  17. flyingspur macrumors regular

    flyingspur

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    #17
    I see it moved both folders into iCloud, but I do not see either local? You sure it stays local? Not doubting
    you but I just do not see it. Also need to make sure I can still get these into Arq to keep the back up going
    there.
     
  18. BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    #18
    It's moved them, but not copied them.

    I ran into this confusion a week or two ago. I ended up turning off the Documents & Desktop option and re-downloading them from iCloud back to my local HD. It turned out to be easy -- one Finder window open for iCloud Drive, another Finder window for my local Home folder, and copy from one to another.

    For now, I've got pretty much a duplicate of both folders in iCloud along with regular TM backups. Sometimes I'd like it to be more automated, but I'm also satisfied with keeping more control.
     
  19. flyingspur macrumors regular

    flyingspur

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    #19
  20. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #20
    Code:
    ~/Library/Mobile Documents/
    They are still local in this folder. If you triple click to select the line above, then right click, then select Reveal in Finder... it will open the Folder and you will see this is actually the local iCloud folder that is synced up.

    You can see it here backed up in Arq.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 6.05.33 AM.png
     
  21. navaira macrumors 68040

    navaira

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    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    #21
    Something I don't understand:
    – iCloud will download its files to my local drive (why?)
    – then it will move files from my local drive to iCloud
    – therefore downloading them back when space is freed?

    This feature is why I haven't updated to Sierra. I have zero trust in iCloud deciding which files to store locally and which not. Actually, I am wrong – I DID update to Sierra. Then it started "freeing space" on a drive that had enough space on it. (The "feature" is on by default for some users, apparently one of them being me, no matter what you select during install.) I only realised something was happening when I noticed I suddenly have 40 (out of 128) GB free instead of previous 32. Luckily it happened fast enough after install that restoring El Cap from a TM backup didn't iCloudise my rMBP entirely. I didn't check what was moved, I was too shocked by the fact it even happened. I guess I could go to my iCloud Drive and see what's on it, but I have so far used iCloud Drive a grand total of zero times because I have just as much trust in it as I do in Facebook totally not collecting my personal information.

    I have no idea how I would explain this to someone who just bought their first Mac ever.
     
  22. flyingspur macrumors regular

    flyingspur

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    Aug 5, 2013
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    Dallas TX
    #22
    Thanks Weasel!

    Command+Shift+G should get you there too.

    Is this from a iPhone backup in iCloud? I see this on one image back up but another more frequent image
    is gone but is there back in time. Wonder if my selecting Optimize and/or Desktop & Documents did this.
    I have no data loss in back ups, but appears a gap and re-image, this appears in a Google Regional. I
    am for now, back to Desktop and Documents on my drive, no iCloud.
     
  23. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #23
    Nope... this is the iCloud Drive folder on my MacBook. Some of what you are seeing there are things in iCloud Drive on my iPhone and iPad since some apps use iCloud Drive to store and sync data.
     
  24. BarracksSi, Jan 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017

    BarracksSi Suspended

    BarracksSi

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    #24
    Me neither. Maybe a total noob wouldn't be saddled with the traditional methods of folder navigation and be more open to new ideas, but I doubt it.

    We had a heck of a time teaching Git and Github to a class of budding computer nerds. I feel like this iCloud syncing thing is written by geeky engineers but not quite "dumbed-down" enough for the rest of us to understand and get on board.

    [adding on] I feel that it can be explained or implemented in a clearer way, but I'm not sure how to reword it or redesign the interface for it.

    I think the main confusion is over how to guarantee that the files are safe and won't suddenly disappear. The principle of being able to access your own stuff from anywhere is a good one, but it's how the sync removes your stuff from your local machine, while necessary, is simply unnerving.
     

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