Eclectic Light Company: macOS Sonoma has changed iCloud Drive radically

So are you opening the Numbers files from Dropbox, or are you going to the Numbers app and opening them there?

Opening them from Numbers works as expected. Opening them from Dropbox opens a ‘QuickLook’ type view, so if you want to work on the file, you’d open Numbers first.

Does that cause a problem with your workflow? (It doesn’t for mine.)


My experience (and also what I have read of other people’s experience) is that Dropbox is more reliable than iCloud. I use both, but I use iCloud Drive only because that is where Pages and Numbers files work best. Remember what started this thread, a post about the unreliability of iCloud.

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OK, I’ve learned something, and we now are on the same page. If I am in Dropbox and find a file that may need editing, then I should go to the Numbers app or the Pages app to find and open the file. I was wanting to open the file directly from Dropbox as I would in macOS or Windows or as I would open an MS Office file with Dropbox integration in iOS.

Does it cause a problem with my workflow? It seems somewhat inconvenient, but certainly easier than exporting the ‘QuickLook’ version as I was doing previously. So, thanks for the info.


I agree completely. It’s the only service you can 100% rely on. I’ve had issues many issues with iCloud in the past and I don’t use it for work data, only personal stuff.

I keep iWork files in DevonTHINK to quickly search and access all my files together, and these can be edited and opened on mobile. That solves this problem for me and lets me use DropBox to sync.

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That’s fair enough!

But have you tried opening the spreadsheet from the Files app? I.e. Don’t use the Dropbox app, but the general Files app that comes with iPadOS. If you edit the sidebar in Files, you can add Dropbox as a location, and have access to all your Dropbox files that way. You can add any Dropbox folder to Favourites, so it should be just as convenient a method.

I’ve just tested it, and when I opened the same test Numbers file, it opened Numbers itself in the way you’d expect.

Secondly, if you really need to use the Dropbox app, then it may be possible to write a Shortcut to open files in Dropbox in Numbers or Pages as it seems exactly the sort of thing that Shortcuts is designed for. (Hopefully someone reading this knows how to do this and can help, as I’m afraid I don’t really know my way around Shortcuts well enough, sorry…)



This works very well. I’ve done a fair amount of googling on how to use Pages and Numbers files in Dropbox, and I never ran across this. Maybe you should be a tech blogger.

Thanks again.


I’m glad you’ve found something which works for you!

I’ve been experiencing Finder operation slowdowns since upgrading to Sonoma (14.1). When I move or copy files, I’ve been greeted with a “preparing to…” dialog and a wait of many seconds, even when dealing with only one file.
The culprit appears to be Apple’s fileproviderd process, which serves cloud services. Disabling OneDrive and Google Drive, which I wasn’t really using, had minimal effect.
Today I disabled Optimize Mac Storage as a means of reducing iCloud’s instantaneous synchronization demand. Now files move and copy at full speed, but the Item Info for several files is shown as “ineligible.” My files have multiple backups, so I’m willing to risk problems in order to alleviate this Finder headache, but this is concerning.


Moving “ineligible” files restores their Item Info. Part of Sonoma’s iCloud and Finder issues, apparently.

Also, the fileproviderd cloud sync process was clearly a problem, as it consumed in excess of 100% CPU usage. However, terminating it (which required more than one attempt to accomplish) did not by itself speed Finder operations appreciably.

Before I upgrade to Sonoma…

What if I run the upgrade, and wait (patiently) for my files to “resync” - will everything be OK?

Impossible to guarantee, but Sonoma is working very well and without any problems for me after some initial issues (not only iCloud Drive, but the disk optimisation took days and showed as a few apps crashing on launch).

I just did it. Everything is smooth.
Sonoma just works.


Howard Oakley has published a follow-up to his first post:

His conclusion: the changes MacOS Sonoma has implemented in file handling on iCloud Drive has improved reliability. The “upgrade process” that led to some raised eyebrows also in this community seems to remedy issues introduced in previous OS versions.

Sonoma’s changes to iCloud Drive run deep, and so far (on limited testing) appear to increase reliability and make the choking of actions far less likely.

So, upgrading to Sonoma is not the issue but the solution to potential issues regarding iCloud Drive. (Both of my Macs are running on Sonoma, with no issues.)


Typical Apple… not only “just trust us that it will work” but also “……” when it doesn’t and “……” when they fixed the problem (that was never broken).

So perhaps “It just works” should be amended to “It just works, eventually”. I feel that’s both more accurate, and also timeless.

Or, more succinctly… “Good luck!”

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I have read the article 3x so far and I am still struggling… I upgraded to Sonoma when it came out. My dilemma is that every night I go to sleep and all my files in iCloud are on my computer. I wake up in the morning and all evicted. I need to redownload them all again. (or at least whenever I am working on a file) It’s getting to the point where it’s not worth using iCloud to store files if this keeps happening each time.

Is there a sequence of steps to follow to avoid this from happening?
Or is this just the new reality I need to accept?

Do you have “Optimize Mac Storage” turned on?

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I don’t believe I do…because when I go to General > Storage, I see this notification…

I don’t have Sonoma to give you a screen shot, but in macOS 13.6.4 the pertinent setting is in the System Settings → Apple ID → iCloud, not in General → Storage. So might be there.


Just checked my settings… ‘optimize mac storage’ is turned ON, which according to their description… ‘the full contents of iCloud will be stored on the mac’

Am I doing something wrong