Does iCloud Drive Use Mac storage?

Does iCloud Drive use Mac storage? Yes, that is the answer. iCloud Drive is an Apple cloud storage service that synchronizes files and data between all of your Apple devices by using the storage capacity on your Mac. This post will explain how iCloud Drive utilizes Mac storage, how it impacts the functionality of your device, and how to improve and manage iCloud Drive storage on your Mac.


iCloud Drive does use Mac storage. Your Mac creates a folder in the Finder sidebar where your synced files are accessible and manageable when you turn on iCloud Drive. Your Mac's storage drive will need room if you save any documents, pictures, or movies on your iCloud drive.

Why is iCloud Drive Taking Up Space on My Mac?

There are various reasons why your Mac may be taking up space due to iCloud Drive:

  • Local File Storage: When you enable iCloud Drive on your Mac, it stores local copies of your files, consuming storage space.
  • File Versions: iCloud Drive keeps multiple versions of your files, which can accumulate and occupy additional space.
  • Temporary Files: Temporary files generated by iCloud Drive and its associated apps can contribute to storage usage.

To address this issue, consider the following solutions:

  • Enable Optimize Mac Storage: To automatically delete local copies of files and clear up space on your Mac, enable the "Optimize Mac Storage" feature in the iCloud Drive settings.
  • Delete useless contents: To save space, go to your iCloud Drive location on Mac and remove any files that are duplicated.
  • Remove File Versions That Don't Need: you can delete the file versions that are saved on Mac, just go to the iCloud Drive settings to remove.

How Much Mac Storage Does iCloud Drive Use?

To check how much storage iCloud Drive is using on your Mac, follow these steps:

  • Open Finder on your Mac.
  • In the sidebar, select iCloud Drive.
  • Click on File in the menu bar.
  • Select Get Info.
  • The information pane will show you how much space your iCloud disk folder is taking up on your Mac's storage disk as well as its overall size.

How Do I Store Files in iCloud But Not Mac

By following these steps, you can store files in iCloud without using much space on your Mac:

  • Activate iCloud Desktop and Documents: To access Apple ID, navigate to System Preferences > iCloud > Settings. Enable the Desktop & Documents Folders box.
  • File Uploads to iCloud: Transfer the files to your Mac's Desktop or Documents folder, then they will be uploaded to iCloud server.
  • Eliminate Local Copies: Using the Finder, choose File > Remove Download to get rid of local copies of files that have been uploaded to iCloud.

iCloud Drive Storage Impact on Mac

iCloud Drive can affect your Mac's performance even while it provides handy access to your data from anywhere, particularly if your storage drive is almost full. Keeping a lot of data on iCloud Drive may cause load times to increase, performance to slow down, and even cause stability problems.

How to Manage iCloud Drive Storage on Mac

But when storage is restricted, iCloud Drive uses a tool called "Optimize Mac Storage," which automatically deletes local copies of files to make room.

You can try the following operations to optimize the performance of Mac, try and enjoy:

  • Gain More Storage: To meet your needs, you might want to consider moving up to a larger storage tier in iCloud if you regularly run out of space on your Mac.
  • Move Files from iCloud Drive to External Storage: To free up space on your Mac, think about storing large files or backups on external storage devices or online storage services, such as move iCloud files to USB, external hard drive.
  • Use iCloud Drive Desktop and Documents: If you're running low on storage space, consider using the "Desktop & Documents Folders" option in iCloud Drive settings to store your desktop and documents in the cloud.
  • Offload Unused Apps: Take advantage of the "Optimize Storage" feature in macOS to automatically offload unused apps and reclaim storage space on your Mac.

FAQ about Mac Storage Management

Q: How does iCloud Drive affect Mac storage?

A: On your Mac, iCloud Drive stores files locally, which may use up storage space.

Q: Can I control which files are stored locally on my Mac with iCloud Drive?

A: Yes, you can control which files are stored locally on your Mac by enabling the "Optimize Mac Storage" feature in iCloud Drive settings.

Q: Will enabling iCloud Drive impact my Mac's performance?

A: The performance of your Mac may be affected by turning on iCloud Drive, particularly if your storage drive is almost full. On the other hand, efficient management of your iCloud Drive storage might help you maximize performance.

Q: How do I check how much storage iCloud Drive is using on my Mac?

A: Open Finder, choose iCloud Drive, and click "Get Info" to view storage details to see how much space iCloud Drive is taking up on your Mac.

Q: Can I free up space on my Mac by deleting files from iCloud Drive?

A: Yes, you can make space on your Mac's hard drive by removing unwanted files from iCloud Drive.

Q: Are there any tools or settings to help manage iCloud Drive storage on my Mac?

A: Yes, you may use the iCloud Drive settings in System Preferences to control how much storage you have on your Mac. Third-party cleanup tools can also assist in locating and eliminating large or superfluous files.

  • Cloud Transfer: Move one cloud data to another without download and re-upload.
  • Cloud SyncSync data across clouds seamlessly in real time.
  • Cloud Backup: Dynamically backup and restore files between clouds.
  • Automatic: Set up a schedule to make task automatically run as preferred.
  • Offline: Transfer, sync or backup cloud data online without going through local.
  • Efficient:  Access and manage all your clouds with a single login.