SSD drive gets full by iCloud storage

Since I upgraded to a 200GB icloud plan to cover backup space for my family my MacBook air SSD (500GB) is complaining about disk space.

How can I prevent my drive from being filled by icloud files? I understood that icloud does balance the number of files in the cloud and on my drive.

On my mac it says iCloud takes 175GB05

On my iPhone it says 114GB icloud usage

Where is the remaining 61GB coming from and how can I limit the number of files on my SSD? The other 2 family members do not store more than 5GB each.

Any advice appreciated.

Go to System Preferences>iCloud>iCloud Drive
Is “Optimize storage” checked? If not, then you’ll have every icloud file stored locally. If you want the OS to offload large and infrequently used files based on your local available storage, enable Optimzie Storage.

Think it’s this

You turn on the optimise feature if its not already on.

I may have totally misunderstood though, there is another thread about it on here which I’ll try to link to, my setup is available on my iMac but not downloaded so it doesn’t swallow the ssd storage.

Edit. Can’t find the thread and think that having read the Apple docs on it mine are all cloud based as they were uploaded to iCloud and then I formatted the drive for Mojave so they don’t download again until I click them to open.

“Optimize storage” was already checked.

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I can basically say that I did try the mentioned options in the link. Still the problem exists. I don’t understand the 61GB Gap that seems to take space on my SSD while I only seem to use 111 GB of it.

I’m not speaking with authority here since I don’t use iCloud for backup. However there is a feature with TimeMachine on MacBooks where it creates a local TimeMachine backup. This backup eats up capacity until you need the space for something else, then the backups start to be deleted. You might be seeing the same thing. It looks like you still have free space on your SSD. Perhaps if you actually ran out of space it will start deleting the locally held iCloud data? Really, there is no reason to delete it until the space is needed.

Perhaps you have apps on your MBAir that are not on your other devices. I wouldn’t think the files would be downloaded to devices without the corresponding app.
I could be wrong, and often am. :slightly_smiling_face:

I had a similar issue in 2014-2015, where suddenly my SSD filled up until it ran out of space and memory. I recorded it and called Apple. Their technical manager (who seemed quite competent and very customer friendly actually had no clue and started investigating via remote access etc.
The one thing I had done before that may explain it, was that a previous apple support told me to delete the iCloud cache folder to refresh things. While that solved a prior issue, my system registered my iCloud content as not updated and started downloading massive GBs (that was already supposed to be synced. The Apple Tech Manager and I discussed this as a “possible explanation” and that it is unwise to do any manual stuff with iCloud preferences and cache folders. In theory, it should not act this way and Apple techs were not aware of this consequence but we agreed that it was the most likely explanation. So if you have removed or moved any folders (system configs or just your own content) that has not been registered for iCloud sync, this may cause such a problem. I have not had this again but I also changed my iCloud content to such that will less likely need organising etc.

–> iCloud has a cache folder that is being synced and one explanation could be that when this is deleted or moved, or renamed etc. the syncing gets cranky and fail to recognise that you already have the content, so it downloads everything again.
–> In theory, the cache folder ought to be safe to delete and Apple Techs were very surprised by this issue even at senior level from our remote session
–> My solution was to turn off and resync everything again, and deleting pref files. iCloud is a cranky baby

Thanks Henrik.

I turned off iCloud. It saved me 280GB by removing my 200GB iCloud plan from my Macbook. However, turning iCloud on again does not restore any iCloud files on my macbook…

They are still visible on my iMac, iPhone and iPad.

Any ideas how to restore the files? I restarted, signed out and in again…

If the files are showing in your Macs iCloud folder, try dragging one to a folder on your Mac (other than the Desktop or Documents) as a test.

Seems like I had to do that to get files back when one of my executives turned on optimized storage by mistake.

That worked. However, the problem seems to get worse.

My 200GB iCloud account claims 338 GB on my SSD. This is also what Finder indicates. Still have no clue why it claims 138GB more than my iCloud account and slows my Macbook by filling up my disk.
Has anyone similar experiences?

Hi Rob, did you ever find a solution to your issue? I have the same thing going on to a greater degree. I have the standard 5gb iCloud storage that is taking up 435gb of computer storage!

No, unfortunately not. It still eats all of my hard drive, slowing down performance.