Free up iCloud Drive local folder space

Discussion in 'Apple Music, Apple Pay, iCloud, Apple Services' started by hsgamerpl, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. hsgamerpl macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2018
    #1
    Hello,

    This is my first time with iCloud, I always thought it works as Dropbox/OneDrive with on demand sync features. But looks like it does not or I do not know something.

    I've copied all my content from my backup external drive straight to iCloud Drive folder to sync it with the cloud as another backup. but I do not want to STORE it locally after the upload is completed. But I see that iCloud Drive does not have such option as "store in cloud only".
    I have tried "Optimize Mac storage" option but it does nothing for me.
    I have 500GB SSD drive which currently has only 30GB free storage, wtf Apple?
    Do I understand, that even after "factory reset" of MacBook, iCloud Drive will re-download the content? Then what is the point of having bigger SSD while it will be occupied anyway?

    I do not know how to work with this service :(

    BR,
     
  2. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #2
    Having the Optimise Mac Storage option turned on sort of does what you want in as much as it will remove the local copies.

    However, it will only do so when the OS decides it needs the disk space and the files haven't been used for a while - there is no way to control it manually
     
  3. hsgamerpl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2018
    #3
    Then I do not understand the purpose of using iCloud Drive as a cloud storage, when it stores files in both locations.
    Second problem is, I want to import photos (100+GB) to Photos app, but again, Mac OS says I do not have enough space to do it (because iCloud Drive is taking up all the local space). How the hell am I supposed to do it then? Deleting from iCloud Drive folder will delete it from the cloud also. -.-
     
  4. Salty Pirate macrumors 6502

    Salty Pirate

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    kansas city
  5. afir93, Sep 2, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018

    afir93 macrumors 6502a

    afir93

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    #5
    While Apple doesn't officially want you to be able to choose which files iCloud keeps locally and which it doesn't, there are currently two ways of getting around that restriction (kind of, at least):

    (1) Via a Terminal command. The command brctl evict name (with name being replaced with the path of the file or location (assuming it's something within your iCloud Drive, of course)) will remove the local copy of that file but keep storing it in iCloud Drive, available to re-download at anytime (with the little download-arrow next to the file in Finder). This also works for entire locations, i.e. if you enter the path of a folder, it will recursively remove the local copies of all files inside (but keep them in iCloud). This does require the "Optimize Storage" option to be turned on.

    Now there are some downsides to this, however. Firstly, it doesn't always seem to work forever – while it will always instantly remove a file for me, some sturdy files would just randomly decide to download again a short while later, which is especially annoying with large files that are gigabytes in size and are suddenly hugging your internet connection. This is most likely because iCloud's intelligent algorithm for optimizing storage will take over sometime after you've entered that command and will decide that the file was used so recently that it should be stored locally. Usually it ends up working after sometimes entering the command multiple times, but it's still not perfect.

    The other "issue" is (though for most people it won't be an issue) that this also seems to delete most of the metadata of a file, which (I believe) won't be deleted if iCloud's intelligent "optimize storage"-algorithm removes the file on its own. This means that Finder previews might just show a blank file page and that Spotlight won't be able to index the content of these files. Like I said, for most people this probably isn't a big deal, but it's worth mentioning.

    (2) The second possibility is via a neat little free Finder extension called iCloud Control. Now to be clear, this extension doesn't do anything different than the Terminal command, all it does is basically offering the evict-command as a Toolbar command in Finder so you don't have to go through the Terminal-path each time. This means that all the up- and downsides from the above paragraphs will carry over to this tool – sometimes, files will re-download after a while against your will, etc. Still, it's a huge convenience to have this right within Finder itself, and if removing the local copies of files in your iCloud Drive is something you see yourself doing on a more frequent basis, then I highly recommend this tool.

    In addition, @OP you should be aware that if the "Optimize Storage"-option is turned on, iCloud will automatically remove the local copies of files on your drive if you run out of space. If you open the info-window for your main drive in Finder, you can actually see there how much space is available if Apple were to remove all of the iCloud-stored files under "free storage": the "purgeable" storage in this section will show you the amount of storage that is currently occupied by the local copies of iCloud Drive files but which can and will be deleted if you run out of space.

    In conclusion, I really hope that Apple adds a manual toggle for removing the local copies of files to Finder sometime in the future, and the lack thereof is one of the few downsides of Mojave for me. The functionality is clearly already there, as indicated by the existence of the Terminal command (though Apple would need to work a bit on having user commands take priority over iCloud's own local storage management), it shouldn't be too hard to add a "Remove local copy of file"-toggle to the right-click menu in Finder. iTunes and the Music app on iOS already have the option to download and remove the local copy of music at will, and so does iBooks on iOS. There is really no reason for iCloud Drive in Finder not to have it.
     
  6. carambo macrumors member

    carambo

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Location:
    Switerland
    #6
    Hi, we are know in 2019, is there any progress made by Apple or 3rd party on this topic, i.e. to decide to store only on the Icloud drive to free space on the local drive ?
    Txs
     
  7. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #7
    This is why I use OneDrive. I want some stuff "in the cloud" and locally. I also want to be able to selectively sync a work folder on my windows PC but not my personal stuff. But OneDrive doesn't do live photos.

    So, I use iCloud for my 136GB of photos and apps that use iCloud storage (Notability, Scanner Pro, voice recording apps, etc...) and OneDrive for everything else.
     
  8. carambo macrumors member

    carambo

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    Aug 29, 2009
    Location:
    Switerland
    #8
    Ok, but how do you choose to store your photos only on Icloud vs local, or the opposite ?
     
  9. BigMcGuire Contributor

    BigMcGuire

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Location:
    California
    #9
    In the Photos app you can choose to optimize storage (where Apple decides what to keep locally and what to keep in the cloud (on demand really)) or you can choose to download all originals.

    When I had my 128GB 2015 MBA for 3 years, I did not have photos locally on my MBA. I set the photos library to be on an external drive and manually backed up my iPhone weekly (not linked to iCloud Photo).

    When I got my 2017 MBP last year, I intentionally got a 1TB internal so I could have all originals locally and back them up via BackBlaze and via Time Machine (I moved to iCloud photo then too).

    My iPad has optimize storage and seems to keep about 10-12GB locally.
     
  10. carambo macrumors member

    carambo

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Location:
    Switerland
    #10
    Ok, txs
     
  11. simonmason macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    #11
    I have Photos setup to optimize space on my MacBook yet it is currently occupying 175 GB. My Mac has 15GB free. I see the options about forcing the Mac to store certain files in the cloud but I think this refers to files on disk only - not the photos library? My Photos app says Paused - Not Enough Local Storage. It has a link to Manage storage which doesn't really offer anything as I have accepted all of the recommendations.

    Also, the Photos Library file is showing 42GB - so where are the other 133 GB?
     
  12. afir93 macrumors 6502a

    afir93

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2018
    #12
    Are you sure that your photo library actually occupies 175GB on your Mac, and that this isn't just the total size of the photo library (within iCloud), whereas the 42GB is what is currently downloaded of that to your Mac? Where are you getting the 175GB number from?
     
  13. simonmason macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    #13
    The 175 GB is what it reports in System Information underwear Storage in About this Mac. I assumed this was what is in my photos library as it says "Photos". Now that you ask then I am guessing this is reporting all images on my Mac? I am working my way through my hard drive but I am not finding anything like 100+ GB of images. I am running Disk Inventory X and Daisy Cleaner to see if I can hunt out these files but have not found anything yet.
     
  14. Peepo, Jun 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019

    Peepo macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    #14
    I just installed on MacOS 10.15 Beta and seems to work fine.

    But MacOS 10.15 seems to have this ability built in now Right clicking on a file or folder gives option to download or remove download. Only advantage of this iCloud Control is you can pick select remove selected item locally in pull down without any file selected and it removes all in the current view (not sure if this is intended or a bug). To remove a bunch of files with new built-in way you have to select them manually, or navigate up a level and select the entire folder.
     
  15. Hrbarnett macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2019
    #15
    What does that mean?
     

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14 August 30, 2018