Cloud / app for syncing between Mac and PC?

I’m a teacher. Most of the time I work with my MacBook Air M1 and I’m very happy with it. But I have a gaming PC with a very big screen and sometimes I prefer to do stuff with it.
Till now I used iCloud on windows for syncing but it started using 30-50% of CPU in idle all the time without any reason. As soon as I uninstalled iCloud all problems were gone. Besides, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to sync iCloud to my pc for those one folder I need for my Affinity apps.

Now I’m looking for another cloud or service to sync that one folder.

Dropbox is not an option, it’s on a downward spiral for years now and Onedrive is nice but it has multiple problems on Mac like constant syncing the same file and so on. Not to mention those naming hiccups.

Has anyone some suggestions what I should do? At the moment I’m copying my files by browser to iCloud but… no.

I tested iCloud for Windows a couple of years ago. Calling it a dumpster fire would be unfair to dumpsters.

I use Google Drive to sync my files using the Drive for Desktop app. Sync occurs almost instantly and the Mac app uses about 5% CPU when actively syncing then drops to 0.1. I never bothered to check the utilization on Windows.


I don’t know what you mean “downward spiral”, but my experience is that Dropbox solid on both Windows and Mac. Your mileage may vary. They have a free version if you can stay within the free account limits.

I also use Google Drive on Mac and I’m happy with it. Seems less expensive than Dropbox. I do not use on Windows. But give it a try.

Apple iCould is unreliable for many. I suspect it works well with Apple apps and especially those that have low demand on sync, e.g. Notes, Calendar, etc. But outside of that, … not so good in my experience which seems shared with others.

Of the options you list, Dropbox and Google are not connected with an operating system. Apple iCloud and One drive are. Perhaps some bias in these.


Does your school have its own sanctioned service?


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Why is Dropbox not an option?

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For casual syncing between Mac and PC just use the web interface.

If you’re open to trying a peer to peer sync solution you may want to check out Syncthing. I’ve been using it for cross platform sync (MacOS, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD) for a few years and it’s been a rock solid, set it up & forget about solution.

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No… we have a free Onedrive but I don’t use it because I’m a mobile teacher meaning each semester my main school can change. This caused me loosing a year of mails and saved files because an admin was very eager to delete everything.

I’m happy that it is working for you. But I’ve had my fair share of problems with it. Just google “Onedrive stuck sync” or “Onedrive high CPU usage” and you will find plenty of the problems I had with it.

I was an early adopter regarding Dropbox. I was using it before most of my friends even heard about it. And it was running fine many years. I still have my free 8 GBs I got through invites. I abandoned it because it started as a cool service with cool features and became something like a wannabe social media Frankenstein monster. All those privacy issues they had, nagging popups to upgrade to the paid version and so on.

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I think you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Dropbox is a perfect and long-proven solution for your stated needs. No need to look further and re-invent the wheel.

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If you want to try Google Drive the app works with a free Gmail 15GB account.


Ugh! I would have to imagine that this admin was not instructed well enough about how long such files must be kept (not deleted) when looking forward to manage cases such as a student complaint or a request by an assessment organizations for proof on teaching content.

To protect yourself with reliable records to handle such potential issues (and especially since since the schools where you work do not seem to be aware of their need to do so), you should establish a service that provides you with the equivalent of a MeAsATeacher@… email and cloud storage account. Adamantly forward all teaching-related emails to that account, either manually or by insistence to the IT department where you are employed.


I use it too since it is bundled with Office365. So nothing else beats this bundle for my case. However, it has occasional issues since Apple and Microsoft do not want to play nice with each other.

Overall, I am happy with onedrive across Mac and PC.

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What issues do you experience? I had single files out of 20 not syncing and this is a no go because I don’t want to check every time if all files synced.

yea I’m now doing everything on my own, no more relying on others. We started digitalize everything because of the pandemic and now we have a situation with a lot of elderly teachers and fancy new technology like emails and clouds. You can’t imagine the drama going on sometimes.

I’m testing it right now. It’s giving me a headache because sync on both machines doesn’t work the way it should. Yesterday I turned on syncing for a folder on my Mac, edited files with my Windows PC but the changes never appeared on my Macbook. I had to switch sync on and off on the Mac to make the changes take place.

Today I added another folder to sync on my Mac but when I came home and started my PC the folder didn’t appear at all. I had to switch sync on and off on Windows to start syncing.

Sorry you are having problems. I’ve not experienced anything like you describe. I created one folder in my Documents folder that mirrors everything I have on my Google Drive and use it the same as any other folder.

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Dropbox and Onedrive have probably improved a lot since you last used them.

Apple didn’t help either company with their switch to apple silicon and their cloud services os changes.

They both had their awkward moments over the last few years, but seem good now.

Why not:

  • stick with cloud for most of your files, but,
  • use dropbox or onedrive (or google, if you really can’t stand using the other two) for the few files you do need to share.

Yes, this is exactly what I want to do now. I will use iCloud for the Apple ecosystem because it works best with shared library and all.
And for my folder with work files I will just use another cloud service. I have to figure out which one works best.

I changed my folder on the Mac, I was syncing a folder within the documents folder and Apple doesn’t like that it seems. Now so far it’s syncing although it is very slow with google drive. 2-3 minutes within the same Wi-Fi network.
Doesn’t Dropbox has the feature of Wi-Fi sync where when something is in the same Wi-Fi it uses the wireless network instead of the internet server?

Oh this also works fine with my Google drive. As soon as I make a change it is uploaded to the server. As a backup it works nice. I’m just not sure if it is the right choice for inter platform syncing.

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Have you considered just sharing the folder on either your Mac or the PC? You could use Chronosync or Hazel to sync the files or just access the shared folder from the other computer as needed?

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This is something I didn’t try yet. Thanks for the hint. I have Hazel… so. This could be the best solution…