How is iCloud Drive handled when restoring from Time Machine?

macrlz9

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 6, 2003
431
31
Long Island, NY
Hi all!
I couldn't find a clear answer to what would happen if a user has iCloud Drive enabled (with Desktop & Documents, NOT optimized) and is backing up with Time Machine.

If a user was to restore from a Time Machine backup onto a new machine for example, would it bring over all of the iCloud Drive/Desktop/Documents files and then will they then be re-uploaded/downloaded to iCloud? Or does Time Machine know to ignore those because they are already in iCloud?

I know they are backed up to Time Machine but I wonder if they are just available to retrieve à la carte as needed and are ignored for a full system restore...


I know from experience that if Photos has iCloud Photo Library enabled & is set to Optimize Storage, Time Machine automatically disregards the Photos Library.photoslibrary file and simply downloads the content from iCloud after the system restore is completed. This is verified by manually browsing the Time Machine backup drive and finding that there simply is no Photos Library.photoslibrary file in the backup.

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21365?locale=en_US
 
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blackdogaudio

macrumors regular
Aug 17, 2016
176
89
Hi all!
I couldn't find a clear answer to what would happen if a user has iCloud Drive enabled (with Desktop & Documents, NOT optimized) and is backing up with Time Machine.

If a user was to restore from a Time Machine backup onto a new machine for example, would it bring over all of the iCloud Drive/Desktop/Documents files and then will they then be re-uploaded/downloaded to iCloud? Or does Time Machine know to ignore those because they are already in iCloud?

I know they are backed up to Time Machine but I wonder if they are just available to retrieve à la carte as needed and are ignored for a full system restore...


I know from experience that if Photos has iCloud Photo Library enabled & is set to Optimize Storage, Time Machine automatically disregards the Photos Library.photoslibrary file and simply downloads the content from iCloud after the system restore is completed. This is verified by manually browsing the Time Machine backup drive and finding that there simply is no Photos Library.photoslibrary file in the backup.

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21365?locale=en_US
They'll be downloaded to any Mac automatically where you've enabled Desktop and Documents folder in iCloud and assuming you have the local drive space available....

The synchronization kicks off immediately once your user profile has been created after user migration to the new Mac and you're online and logged into iCloud.

The first Mac you enabled Desktop and Documents folder in iCloud is the master and subsequent Macs you enable the feature on will have their Desktop and Documents folders created as child folders within the master folders appending the new computer's name or model identifier.

As an example my second Mac's Documents folder from my MB Air was named "Dave's MBA Documents" and nested inside my master "Document" folder generated from my first Mac (an iMac.) My third Mac (another iMac) named "Music" generated a third child Document folder named "Music's Documents" nestled inside the master Document folder generated by my first iMac.

Think of the new feature not so much as "just" document storage in the cloud but Documents and Desktop folder synchronization with iCloud acting as the hub for synchronized download and uploads so all of those D&D folders from all of your Macs are available on all of your Apple computers all of the time and whether they are online or offline.

P.S. Individual document or image recovery using Time Machine works no different than before.
 

macrlz9

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 6, 2003
431
31
Long Island, NY
They'll be downloaded to any Mac automatically where you've enabled Desktop and Documents folder in iCloud and assuming you have the local drive space available....

The synchronization kicks off immediately once your user profile has been created after user migration to the new Mac and you're online and logged into iCloud.

The first Mac you enabled Desktop and Documents folder in iCloud is the master and subsequent Macs you enable the feature on will have their Desktop and Documents folders created as child folders within the master folders appending the new computer's name or model identifier.

As an example my second Mac's Documents folder from my MB Air was named "Dave's MBA Documents" and nested inside my master "Document" folder generated from my first Mac (an iMac.) My third Mac (another iMac) named "Music" generated a third child Document folder named "Music's Documents" nestled inside the master Document folder generated by my first iMac.

Think of the new feature not so much as "just" document storage in the cloud but Documents and Desktop folder synchronization with iCloud acting as the hub for synchronized download and uploads so all of those D&D folders from all of your Macs are available on all of your Apple computers all of the time and whether they are online or offline.

P.S. Individual document or image recovery using Time Machine works no different than before.

Very good point, thank you for the detailed explanation. I suppose then if I restore the entire system from a Time Machine backup to a different machine, it would then duplicate the Desktop and Documents folders as you said labeled with the machine name and then ultimately it will upload to iCloud again.

My new MacBook Pro should arrive on Wednesday and I'll try a restore this way and see what happens. :)
 
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