iCloud Sync and Storage Optimization... So Many Questions...

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by Rofflesaur, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. Rofflesaur macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2017
    I've been using Windows my entire life. and I just bought a new (to me) MacBook Pro. I'm trying to get everything set up and transferred onto the new machine. I'm stuck on one feature. I've read articles on 5-6 various websites now, trying to comprehend what exactly is going on with the new iCloud features. Some reviewers advised to turn it off either partially, or completely.

    First... System Preferences > iCloud > iCloud Drive > Desktop and Documents Folders

    Most of the reviews were from the initial release of Sierra. What is the general consensus now? Leave it on or turn it off? If this is toggled on, are files that I save stored completely in the cloud completely? Is it also saved locally?

    Second... At the bottom of the window, there is a toggle for "Optimize Mac Storage." If this is on, are all my files stored on the SSD until free space is low? What is the threshold where it considers the drive low on free space? If it does become low, iCloud will delete local files and keep them stored in iCloud? Whatever files it thinks aren't important to me? If I toggle optimize storage off, it stores everything in Desktop/Documents in iCloud and not locally at all? Am I understanding this correctly?

    Third... About This Mac > Storage > Manage

    Some of this stuff seems redundant? There's another section dealing with Photo and Video optimization? Just leave this alone?

    Lastly... Is the entire Pictures folder synced with iCloud, or just the Photos Library subfolder? My Lightroom catalog is in the Pictures folder by default, and having that uploaded to iCloud would wreak havoc.

    With files on my Windows machines, I would keep a local copy, a local backup, and an online backup through CrashPlan. I'd like to do it this was on the Mac too, but if files are only stored in iCloud, then they wouldn't be accessible to CrashPlan or TimeMachine backups. I also wouldn't be able to access them while I'm offline.

    I'm in love with my new MacBook, and eventually plan on buying an iMac when they are refreshed. It would be nice to have my desktop and documents synced across machines, but not if they are 100% stored in the cloud. Hopefully someone can clear this up for me, and correct me where I'm wrong. I may be completely misinterpreting the way this works.
  2. Alrescha, Mar 23, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017

    Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    Yes, files in those directories will be stored in iCloud as well as on your local disk. It has generally worked fine for me, but unlike some of the reviewers I did not try to sync a terabyte of data on day one...

    Yes, and if space is low then local files are deleted to make space available. Apple uses a least-recently used algorithm to decide what to get rid of. I do not make use of this feature, I do not know when it kicks in.

    No, if you turn this off then local files will not be deleted automatically - it up to you to make space.

    Photos and the iCloud Photo Library will do similar optimization if you want. In addition, iTunes will delete purchased movies that you have watched to free up space. Yes, these options do show up in their respective apps as well as in the Manage pane.

    Just the Photos Library. But your havoc comment is a good one, as when you have this stuff turned on you need to be aware of where you casually drop a few gigabytes of data. Every once in a while some program will decide that Documents is a good place to write a huge file and I need to teach it a better location.

    I find it very convenient to have my desktop Mac and my laptop synced up via iCloud - and those files are available on my iPad and iPhone too, of course.

  3. autrefois macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2003
    Somewhere in the USA
    Thanks, this answers in part my question. I have about 150 GB left on my 1 TB HD. It sounds like no one knows for sure when the system decides that there's not enough space. Has anyone figured out yet since March how Sierra determines how much space is too little?

    I have two different Macs, so there's going to be a lot in terms of Document and Finder files to sync/add. I don't want it to fill up too much because the system can get sluggish if there's not enough space on the HD. Hopefully Sierra is smart enough not to let it get too full and to store some older files just on iCloud before this happens.

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