PSA: Don't rely on iCloud

Was a iCloud user faithfully for 5 months.

No longer.

Files mysteriously deleted. I thought I might have accidentally deleted 1 or 2 but it has happened even to some critical files which I would never touch unless necessary.

I emptied Trash hastily a couple days ago because I was running out of space on the MBA and now the files are completely and totally gone.

Thankfully, some had been emailed to other people and thus I can recover them that way. Some were inconsequential, although I still wish I had them with me. Some are completely and totally irreplaceable, although those aren’t super precious or anything.

Am moving back to Google Drive/OneDrive immediately.


That is frustrating.

But no matter what service you are using, you really need a backup. A cloud solution is no backup on its own. :slightly_frowning_face:


I naively thought otherwise.

Digging around for an external drive at this very moment.

Well, at least I learned something today.

No matter what you use, don’t rely on it. Always have some sort of backup in place for exactly these cases.
For example, I use DEVONthink which is setup to sync to 2 different providers at the same time (one being a NAS in my local network), and I have a monthly reminder in my todolist to move a recent copy onto a USB stick.

I also use and have it running in the background. Just recently I noticed that I lost some files when I reinstalled my machine and arq was able to restore it without any issues.
Same strategy: One onsite backup, one offsite backup.

Not related, but just a couple days ago, my entire custom lists on Apple Maps that I curated got wiped :frowning:

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iCloud has been my main cloud service for the past 3 years. Outside of the offline access issue, it has worked wonderfully. Moved to iCloud after using Google Drive for 8 years.


Thats exactly my experience. I am pleased with iCloud. Sometimes, I do have sync issues though (it takes time to sync files in those situations). :slight_smile:

But no matter what, every Cloud provider works just fine and does not lose data until it happens anyway… Maybe, due to a technical issue or due to user failures. I have made so many mistakes in the past that I would have lost tons of data, if I had no backups. And, yes, there was a time, when I had no backups, either. And yes, I lost data back then. :frowning:

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Same as @Nick_Fulgham, iCloud has been my main file storage / processing option in the cloud for several years now, no issues as yet. With folder sharing now it’s even replaced my Dropbox use.


This is my issue with iCloud. When I have a sync issue (if it doesn’t resolve itself in a day or two) it’s almost ALWAYS a matter turning off iCloud Drive and having it move all my files outside of iCloud, then I have to re-enable and move any missing files BACK into iCloud. It’s a frustrating experience, and one I’ve had to do too often.

With Dropbox, if a file isn’t syncing, it’s clear in the app’s overlay menu and I can stop sync, restart the app, move the file to re-trigger, etc… and that has worked every time.

There is little transparency in iCloud Drive and that makes me trust it far less than the alternatives.

Very occasionally does that happen to me, mostly with Apple Notes. However just toggling off Internet / WiFi solves the problem. Much less friction than moving files and/or disabling iCloud

For that I’m using iCloudStatus which turns out to be very reliable - at least as long as it will be maintained.

@Wolfie, I cannot express in words how grateful I am for that tip. Am currently restoring 400+ files from iCloud.

If you haven’t had bad experiences, that’s great! I would still advise moving away, as this is not the first time I’ve had this kind of issue (although it’s never happened on such a large scale before). I’m not the only person to have experienced iCloud quirks either. That’s just my opinion though; not about to force people to move :slightly_smiling_face:.

At least I learned the importance of backups XD

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Thanks. I’ll check that out. :+1:t2:

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Thanks for the warning. I am pretty cautious anyways since none of the competitors are completely bulletproof. Onedrive has the weirdest problem of all: as long as your filename contains a space in front or special symbols the file will refuse to sync. It’s been a while since I have used a PC but I actually thought they solved those problems. Apart from that, Onedrive is flawless for me for about a year. I have to use it for work, if you wonder.

I’m trying to understand the original problem. You said you emptied the trash to free space. That action deletes the files regardless of where they are stored. If your files were only stored on your Mac and you emptied the trash, they would be gone. Why did you think iCloud would be any different?

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Ha no I don’t think I communicated my point clearly.

The problem was that a large amount of my files, in folders I would never touch, were deleted without me doing anything.

I mentioned the Trash thing to forestall people saying, “restore your files from the Trash”. If iCloud hadn’t screwed things up the files wouldn’t have ended up in Trash in the first place.

Hope that was clear :slight_smile:

For what it’s worth I had the same issue happen to me with Google. As someone said before, keeping your own backups is the best strategy. Glad you were able to recover your files…

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Not as crucial in your case since you have several backups running, but USB sticks are generally equipped with lower quality memory, even if they come from a well-known brand, and will thus fail at a higher rate. It‘s probably best to rely on something like external USB drives (standard HDD or SSD) for your „cold“ backup. Bonus points for keeping several USB drives in rotation. I might be a bit paranoid when it comes to backup strategies, but better to be safe than sorry. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thank you… I thought I was nuts! I’ve started duplicating files on my hard drive and backing up to a paid cloud and several external hard drives.

Are you saying that iCloud put files in the trash folder on its own? I’m curious how you determined that they were in the trash at all. How did you connect missing files with emptying the trash?

Yes, that’s what I’m 99% sure happened.

Well, the files were gone. First thing you would think of is the Trash, no? I was also able to recover files from iCloud’s “permanently deleted” cache-thing, suggesting that the files were indeed deleted.
The problem isn’t emptying the trash. It’s the fact that the files ended up in the Trash without me doing anything to them.