New M1 Mac mini – trying to do it all in iCloud in 2021

Got my new daily driver yesterday, and I’m very excited to set it up to replace an ageing late 2015 iMac. A bit bummed to see that a few sound production plugins from big players still aren’t updated to the M1 platform even with Rosetta (come on, iZotope, the DTK was available almost a year ago, even BitDefender works) but apart from that, looks like all my software will work.

For this machine, I intend to drop Dropbox, and I never want to have that bloated software touch my pristine M1 installation. So trying to go all-in in iCloud. I know the usual warnings – optimise storage is disabled on this and my buffed-up 2016 MacBook Pro – and some software (Alfred) actually warns you against syncing your preference files with it, but I’m willing to live on the edge. :slightly_smiling_face: Having cloud sync integrated at a low level with the Finder is so nice, and I don’t need any of the bloat Dropbox comes with these days.

Wish me luck… and I will report back with either a success story, or another horror one. :slightly_smiling_face:


iCloud has been working well for me. I too have optimize storage turned off as all my Macs have large enough SSDs to hold everything. Only devices that have to download items are my iPhone and iPad. Only issue I’ve had is a Photos sync problem where it wouldn’t display some photos that had been edited in iPhoto. After reverting to original that problem went away.

It has been incredibly convenient for me to have all files easily available on my iPad when out and about. With Dropbox that was much less transparent.


I’ve been iCloud only for nearly a year with no complaints.


Thanks Glen and @lsieverts . It’s great to know that there are people happy with iCloud! I’m really curious to test that on iOS as well. So far, iCloud has been really well behaved on my new Mac, but of course, I still have to do a real stress test. Still, I’m trusting this will go well. :slightly_smiling_face:

I have been iCloud only since I got my M1 mini last year. No complaints, it is working as good as any other cloud software.

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The one downside of iCloud is “it just works” which means when it doesn’t work you’re in for a world of hurt.

My story is one of the better outcomes in that Apple have acknowledged the issue and promised a fix. But… I have no idea when that fix will be delivered. I won’t even know when I have it installed without testing… every… single… time… there… is… a… new… release. So far, it’s not been in 11.3 nor 11.3.1. I’m kinda picking 12.0 might include it. Anyway, until then, whenever “then” is, I have to keep my Mac mini as a proxy iCloud uploader for my afflicted MacBook Pro.

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I’ve been DropBox-free for a few years now and I’ve never had an issue with iCloud.
Sure, it can be slow to update sometimes, but that doesn’t bother me.

I have in the past found that if I am working on Xcode projects, or other things that involve editing lots of little files quickly (e.g., compressing png files, batch renaming, converting png files), iCloud has occasionally caused little issues like the ImageMagick not deleting the original like it should, but nothing has ever been lost so I’m a happy customer.

These days, I move some files to a non-synced folder to work on, then move it back when done. An example of this is Final Cut projects, so that the huge files are not constantly being sent to the cloud.

So, a few work arounds but none I fond problemmatic.


That’s a great tip, thanks. I had a similar problem with Dropbox and Ableton Live on Windows years ago, so I can live with that workaround, it’s not only iCloud :slightly_smiling_face:

I can confirm issues with syncing code files, when doing web development, I do not sync with iCloud, my Code folder is outside iCloud. I use Git for code hosting. I push and pull code from the different machines.

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Cheers, thanks. I will put my code folders outside. In general I tend to avoid having two sync mechanisms anyway (git or iCloud; Obsidian sync or iCloud), but I probably would have ignored that rule in that case.

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Are you working in Logic ?. If so (and I know you commented on Rosetta), are you ticking the box to open Logic via Rosetta not just the plugin apps. We have the option to open Logic (and others) with Rosetta instead of native (not just the plugins etc). Personally I think this defeats the purpose of why people wanted the M1, but it is a workaround.

You may already be doing this, but thought I’d chime in case you are not.

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Thank you! Unfortunately no, I’m in Ableton, which works very fine through Rosetta, but iZotope plugins don’t. They flat-out refuse to install. :sweat_smile: Among various things, I need them for cleaning the audio of the bi-weekly podcast I produce, but I will live using my Intel MBP in the meantime for this specific case. iZotope support told me Apple Silicon versions were coming “soon”.

Waves said “soon” all the way back in December, but soon apparently means more than 5 months. I am not a coding person, so I have no idea what’s involved, but considering that a large amount of the audio community use macs, it’s surprising that they are not making it a priority. I may be being naïve, but I can’t imagine it takes very long to make this adjustment if you actually want to get it done

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Fully agree. Native Instruments had Rosetta support almost on day one. Points to some bad coding somewhere IMO…

I believe iCloud is going to get better. I keep trying it, and trying it, and trying it, but the result is the same every time.

so far.


I I also Dropbox-free, but I’m using Synology Drive instead. It syncs between my (many) machines… and I can access stuff from my iPads too.

So, I promised I would check back in: have the beast for a week as a daily driver and I’m really very happy. The lack of ports has been completely solved by a CalDigit hub and it works flawlessly with about 20 USB peripherals chained, two screens (5k and 4k), and GOSH do I love the SILENCE. This little machine just powers through anything I throw at it without complaints; I thought this would be a stopgap Mac before getting the future Mac Pro but I might be keeping it as a main machine for a much longer time!

And (knock on wood) so far no iCloud issues. Being without Dropbox is GREAT.


I recently got an M1 Mini, as well. What monitors are you using with yours?

Two LG Ultrafines, a 5k and 4K.