Loss of data by switching of documents folder from icloud

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by Broowin, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Broowin, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018

    Broowin macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    South England
    I bought a new iMac and was in the process of reorganising my backup data.

    I placed two iPhotos libraries onto the the new hard drive with a view to transferring them to a new backup disc . They were automatically placed into the documents folder . I had clicked the preference to include desktop and document in iCloud prior to this although it was never my intention to upload these libraries which contains 15000 photos I did not have enough storage and did not want to put them there anyway.

    I was also in the process of transferring high quality audio files from the backup hard drive to a new disc but was continuously interrupted by error message which seem to be exacerbated by being connected to iCloud. I disconnected the documents folder from iCloud and did not think the warning given indicated that I would be in any danger off loosing data. Subsequently the iPhotos libraries disappeared and were not retrievable without specialist help.

    After two weeks and contact with three apple support staff I was told the loss of data was completly my responsibility and they would do nothing . I have not had a response from the my questions about how this problem should ever have arisen .

    I have repeated the same situation to see what happens if an iPhotos file is placed in documents then switched off from iCloud a warning is given that files will be moved to an archive file. (I think this warning may have changed from the initial warning I received in Nov ). An archive file is produced but does not contain the iPhotos library effectively loosing them.

    I am still trying to get a sensible response from Apple so far only being stonewalled.
  2. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    I you turn off Desktop and Documents in System Preferences > iCloud > iCloud Drive Options, the warning says very clearly that items will be removed from the Mac but will remain available in iCloud. My guess is that you didn't provide enough time for the Photos library to fully upload to iCloud. My Photos library is almost 50GB, which would take quite a while to sync with iCloud on a slowish internet connection.

    You said that these libraries were part of your backup data and that you were transferring them to a new backup disk. Don't you still have the original backup data set? It's smart to keep multiple backups. If you erased your backup data before confirming that the new backup was complete, you left yourself momentarily without a backup. That seems to have bitten you.

    I wouldn't expect an answer from Apple because they don't know exactly what you did. They aren't blaming you. They're just saying that they didn't cause your data loss.
  3. Broowin, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018

    Broowin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    South England
    You must be an employee of Apple, Please don't patronise me by telling me I need multiple backups that is what I was trying to do.

    As I stated I had not intended to upload the iPhotos library to iCloud merely to store them on my iMac hard drive temporarily. I do not think the warning is clear otherwise I would not have done what I did.

    I am asking for an explanation as to why information is removed from my hard drive simply by switching off from iCloud. This still happens and I believe that others are at risk.

    My contention is that they did cause the data loss by this apparently needless procedure.

    How do you know they don't know what exactly I did? It is also my contention that no real attempt has been made to understand this or explain why they have devised a system that potentialy looses data. Nor have they said they would intend to make sure this does not happen again.
  4. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    1. I am not an Apple employee.

    2. I understand that you didn't intend to upload the files to iCloud. The warning on my High Sierra Mac says, "If you continue, items will be removed from the Desktop and the Documents folder on this Mac and will remain available in iCloud Drive." Unfortunately, it isn't entirely clear that if the documents haven't been fully uploaded, you'll lose them when they are removed from the Mac. I agree that this could be better handled.

    3. I explained by reasoning, which is not necessarily the correct explanation. I agree that others may be at risk.

    4. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Apple caused the data loss.

    5. I don't know exactly what you did, because you didn't exactly explain it. I was speculating. As to your questions for Apple, they are never going to answer them for you. No company would.

    I wish I could help you. What did you do with your original backup?
  5. Broowin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    South England
    Thanks for your measured response. I apologise for being a bit tetchy.

    My dilemma is trying to explain a fairly complex set of circumstances in the briefest terms. I could write a lengthy account as to what actually happened and the responses I received but I am not sure how helpful that would be.

    I would say that I had stored the iPhotos libraries on what I thought would be the safest place ie a brand new hard drive for what I intended to be a brief time whilst setting up backups

    Thankyou for agreeing with me at least in part that the warning could be handled better. What also happens is that once the deed is done and you disconnect from iCloud a notification comes up that says the docs are put into an archive file. What actually happens is an archive file is created but the iPhotos library was not put into it? This happened when I repeated the circumstances in order to check that data is removed (using a backed up file).

    I think this is significant since the apple support people (x3) who remotely searched my computer failed to find any archive file prior to my

    The data was recovered - no thanks to Apple. That is not the issue.

    My concern to repeat, is that there is no obvious reason as to why data should be removed from a hard drive simply by disconnecting from iCloud?

    I do not believe that Apple have attempted to fully understand what happened and seem to be only concerned about protecting themselves - perhaps understandable in the light of recent concerns about the security if Intel chips
  6. chabig macrumors 601

    Sep 6, 2002
    First, I’m happy that you saved your data.

    When Apple refers to an archive, I Have no idea what they mean. When you sign out of iCloud on iOS, it’s very clear what happens and you are given a clear choice to keep or remove the data. I think Mac should do the same. Maybe in the next OS it will.

    In any event, I hope that your post will help someone in the future facing a similar situation.
  7. Broowin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    South England
    We do seem to be a bit complacent that Apple can simply remove data from a documents file on our hard drives and loose them in the process!
  8. Pine Man macrumors newbie

    Pine Man

    Jan 1, 2018
    West Sussex UK
    I think you are over simplifying things.

    You opted to put your photos into Documents before opting to have all of your Documents saved to iCloud Drive. Having done so you appear to have turned off iCloud Drive and ignored the warning to recover all of your data before doing so.
  9. Broowin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    South England
    A I don't think the warning was sufficient it did not apply to the circumstances as I understood them
    b I had never intended for the iPhotos files to be uploaded to iCloud I had simply put them into the doc folder for temporary storage whilst I sorted out my backups .
    c I can think of no good reason why apple should remove files from the docs folder ON MY HARDDRIVE not from iCloud and lose them
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If you turned on Desktop & Documents folders then Mac OS will indeed move your folders from your Mac to the iCloud Drive and that is a good reason as that's the expected behavior. I would say the same thing for the Photos, though I don't have my photo library stored on the cloud
  11. Broowin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    South England
    Again I can only repeat that the folders were never intended to be moved to iCloud and never were moved to it when I switched it off. they simply removed them from the documents folder on my hard drive and lost them.
    I still can not think of any logical reason as to why this should happen.

    Besides which there is a further message saying the data will be moved to an archive folder which although it was created on my hard drive did not contain the iPhotos libraries
  12. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I agree with you the warning messages from Apple could maybe be more clear, but I think part of the problem here is you did not realize the consequences of some of the things you did.

    It sounds like you checked on Optimize Mac Storage in the iCloud Drive settings. When you do that and if your drive is getting close to full, it will upload some of the files in the Documents folder to iCloud and leave no local copy at all. It just leaves a placeholder link there you can click to download the file if you need it.

    So when you turned off iCloud Drive it removed the files from iCloud and all you had left was the placeholder links for files that had been uploaded to iCloud.

    I have that box unchecked. So if I turn off iCloud Drive it will just remove everything from iCloud and all my files will still be available locally.

    Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 8.11.22 AM.png
  13. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009

    You have learned a hard lesson. That lesson is:
    Never never NEVER "trust the cloud".
    Not Apple's iCloud, nor anybody else's.

    If you have data that you value, always always ALWAYS keep a full backup copy of it "in your possession". That is, on a physical drive THAT YOU CONTROL.
    (a drive that is not "synched" to ANYTHING)

    The absolute BEST kind of "copy" is a cloned backup created with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

    Not much more I can really say, other than...
    Go forth from this day and learn -- a sadder, but wiser man.
  14. Broowin thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    South England
    I can only agree with you and as I have said was in the process of creating copies of files in order to back up separated from the cloud.

    I still think Apple should need to review their process. After all I never pressed a button saying 'delete'. I could not have accidentally deleted them it would have taken hours the files were @100GB ...
    --- Post Merged, Jan 15, 2018 ---
    Yes I know what I did I still do not accept that the system should remove data from my hard drive. As I have said elsewhere the files were in what I considered to be a safe temporary storage on a brand new hard drive.
    I had only just go the computer and was getting used to the new operating system .

    I had switched on desktop and docs before I placed the iPhotos libraries were copied into the docs folder.
    I was also copying high quality audio files from the hard drive to another external hard drive which was being interrupted by constant error messages which were being caused by desktop being connected to iCloud so I switched it off . the error message disappeared - along with my files.

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