ICloud can’t be trusted

Many file copies don’t complete stating that the file already exists and it then just stops.

iCloud status shows folder status updating even though all the files underneath show updated. Even after 6 days iCloud does not complete sync. So when I copy the files from my non optimized iCloud drive am I getting all of the current files.

I can’t backup my iCloud Drive in order to delete all of the iCloud files on 5 Apple devices.

A week or more to get them all resync’d


I had an Apple second level actually say “you don’t want to make too many changes to iCloud at once or it can get confused.”

I have wasted weeks troubleshooting Apple issues and rebuilding systems.

Right now when I try and run Voice Control it is unable to install the language files.

Their troubleshooting steps totally trashed my machine by filling up my 2TB disk so that it would not boot.

Still can’t run Voice Control. Sigh!

QNAP or Drop Box going forward.

Right now I have the QNAP mounting Drop Box and sharing it out.

What do you recommend?


agreed, I (and many others) personally have posted too many messages on this forum about the same issue.

i am trying to move away from iCloud as much as possible except for those apps that are mandatory to use iCloud and no other option (this is part of my consideration in choosing app). Some examples

Successful in departing iCloud - photos
Successful in find alternative app - UpNote

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More and more finding that iCloud doesn’t work very well. Yesterday I create an Apple Note on my Mac mini with some information I needed for a visit to an Apple Store later in the day when I would access it using my iPhone. Get to the Apple Store (five or six hours later) to find that the Note had not appeared on my iPhone’s copy! It only appeared a further six or seven hours later after I had killall bird on the Mac mini a couple of times. Of course I should have checked that the Note was on my iPhone before setting off to the Apple Store but I did not.

Also finding that updated content of Obsidian vaults do not get synched between the Mac mini my MacBookPro and my iPhone unless again i killall bird on the Mac mini. By the way both Mac mini and MBP are running the same version of macOS and I have a full-fibre connection to my ISP’s local point of presence.

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If possible I would keep trying to copy iCloud files to their new home. In the past when I had similar problems with failing hardware, I would run rsync once an hour to keep the target drive up to date. Chronosync might be a simple way to accomplish the same thing.

Does anyone have an idea what usage pattern of iCloud causes issues like this?

It’s clear there is an issue as multiple people have reported similar problems.

On the other hand, lots of people have no issue at all. I have 4 different iOS/macOS devices which sync data using an increasing number of apps and virtually never see a hiccup.

What’s the use case that leads to issues?

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I had a similar experience while on holiday last week. Before the holiday, I created a note with all my tickets and instructions a few days before. When I got to the airport, the note was nowhere to be found and hadn’t synced to either my iPad or iPhone, and I didn’t have my Mac so I had to go and find all the emails again. I created the note about 2 days before leaving.

Eventually, about 48 hours after returning home, it finally appeared on these devices (the laptop in question had been on since I arrived home).

I’m certainly not going to rely on Notes for anything important again.

I know of some things that definitely will cause problems: running older operating systems and making lots of changes over a short period of time. Sometimes Apple’s assumptions get in the way, too (e.g., Photos decides to stop uploading the new iPhone images to save battery) — which makes me wonder if there aren’t other hidden assumptions that cause problems.

Sync is hard, y’all. Which is why we need Apple to give us a big “Sync Now” button, like they finally had to do with Messages.


The only thing in common when these failures happen is the Apple Note (or Obsidian notes) has been created on the Mac mini. Or the Mac mini fails to sync up with things created on my other apple devices (MacBookPro, Ipad Air (4th gen) and iPhone 14.

Exactly! I keep my use of iCloud low (especially iCloud Drive) and do any changes in easy stages.

same here. I set up a NextCloud server and it has become my preferred method for any online file work.

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No, but I suspect it has something to do with the fact that just about everything associated with iCloud appears to use sqlite libraries. Apple Notes, Books, Facetime, . . .

I was once a heavy user of Apple Notes, more than 5000 notes many containing pdf attachments. It worked well, until it didn’t. And reducing the number of notes didn’t help.

If iCloud relies heavily on databases “don’t . . . make too many changes” might indicate a capacity or management problem.

I still use iCloud, Photos, Notes, Reminders, etc. for their convenience, but I don’t depend on any of them. I don’t put an data in any of them that I can’t afford to lose. (My photos sync automatically to both Apple and Google photos.)

Apple entered cloud services 23 years ago with MobileMe and iCloud is twelve years old. Seems like they would have the hang of it by now.

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and yet – many other cloud platforms seem to generally do it well, as if it were, in fact, not that hard … just sayin’ :man_shrugging:


I forgot how long they’ve been doing this. It is incredible to have the problems they have. Again, lots of users don’t have the issues, but from the (anecdotal) evidence I see online on a regular basis, those who do have problems are frequently not using it in any sort of unexpected, novel way. They just expect things to sync as advertised.

I’ve been extremely happy with my choice to shift everything possible over to Google Drive. An external drive hanging off my Mac Mini is mirrored, my laptop and iPhone just have a streaming/as-needed connection. I can set any individual file to offline if needed.

I don’t think iCloud is a high priority at Apple. Apple pays something like $700,000,000 a year to Amazon and Google for cloud storage so it probably isn’t a money maker for them. (And that is one reason they may never give users more than 5GB of free storage.)

And because iCloud works “good enough’ for most users Apple may be satisfied with its performance and we should not expect any major improvement.

FYI, I have the same Google Drive set up as you. :+1:


I haven’t had any significant issues with iCloud. My iMac is my reference machine with all files stored there and then under to iCloud. That machine is set to never sleep so any sync process doesn’t get interrupted. My MBA is set to never sleep when on AC power so it stays synced all the time except when traveling. Both my SSDs are large enough to keep all my files local which help with backups.

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Where is the Messages “Sync Now” button?

My system is set exactly the same, always connected to ethernet and power and set to never sleep. Yet, it still couldn’t sync a note with 4 attachments in 48 hours. I hardly use Apple Notes too, I’m lucky if I add a note a week.

I’ll never understand the discrepancy.

A year ago I returned to Dropbox because iCloud was unreliable. In an effort to reduce subscriptions, I returned to iCloud a few weeks ago and it’s been instant and rock solid.

…until it’s not and that worries me.


Not everything. One of the things I have major problems with using iCloud is the synching of notes in Obsidian vaults; these are stored as text files in subdirectories reflecting the organisation of the vault.

The other thing that iCloud does not cope with is packages. One of the reasons that Scrivener does not recommend storing its data on iCloud but does recommend Dropbox.

There has been a rumour going around for years that Steve Jobs wanted iCloud developed because Dropbox refused to be taken over by Apple.


He made them an offer they couldn’t refuse? And yet they refused. Fascinating, if true!