If you’re a Mac user struggling with limited storage, you've likely considered cloud solutions to keep your device clutter-free. One handy feature is the ability to ensure iCloud Drive do not store locally. This implies that your data stay in the cloud and are always available without taking up valuable storage space on your Mac. However, how is this configured, and why is this relevant? Let's get started and cover all you need to know about configuring iCloud Drive to work as efficiently and as little space as possible.


Understanding iCloud Drive Storage

It's critical to comprehend how iCloud Drive functions if you want to make the most of it. Apple's cloud storage solution, iCloud Drive, lets you save files online and retrieve them from any Apple device. But keeping your Mac responsive and clear of superfluous data requires careful management of this storage. To keep your Mac responsive and clear of superfluous data, you must efficiently manage this storage.

Your data is automatically synced with iCloud Drive across all of your Apple devices. When you save a document to iCloud Drive, it is uploaded to Apple's servers and then synced with your other devices. You can always access your files thanks to this reliable connection, whether you're using your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

Using iCloud Drive only online storage has several benefits:

  • Saves Local Storage: By keeping files online only, you free up significant space on your Mac.
  • Accessibility: Access your files from any device without carrying them all on your Mac.
  • Security: Apple’s robust security measures protect your data in the cloud.
  • Automatic Backups: Files stored online are automatically backed up, safeguarding against data loss.

Setting Up iCloud Drive Do Not Store Locally

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of setting up your iCloud Drive so that it does not store files locally on your Mac. This setup ensures you maximize your Mac’s storage while keeping your files easily accessible.

Step-by-Step Guide to Ensure iCloud Drive Files Not Stored Locally

To make sure that files are not kept locally, follow these steps to configure your iCloud Drive:

  • Accessible System Preferences: In the upper-left corner of your screen, click the Apple emblem, then choose "System Preferences."
  • Choose your Apple ID: Select "Apple ID" located at the window's top.
  • Select iCloud: Choose "iCloud" from the sidebar. Activate iCloud Drive. Make sure "iCloud Drive" has a checkbox next to it.
  • Enhance Mac Storage Performance: On the "Options" menu, select iCloud Drive.  Make sure "Optimize Mac Storage" is selected. This setting ensures that older files are stored online only when local storage is needed.

How to Keep iCloud Drive Files Online Only

Sometimes, even after enabling the Optimize Mac Storage setting, you might find some files still stored locally. Here’s how to keep iCloud Drive files online only:

  • Manually Remove Local Copies: Right-click on the file in Finder, select "Remove Download," and the file will remain in iCloud but not locally.
  • Use Finder’s iCloud Status Column: In Finder, go to "View" > "Show View Options" and check "iCloud Status." This column shows which files are stored locally and which are only in the cloud.
  • Regularly Check Storage: Go to "About This Mac" > "Storage" > "Manage" to monitor and manage your storage, ensuring files are kept online.

Saving Space on Your Mac

Utilizing iCloud Drive to save space on your Mac is a smart way to keep your device running smoothly. Here’s how to make the most of this feature.

Why iCloud Drive No Local Copy is Beneficial

Choosing to keep iCloud Drive no local copy can significantly benefit your Mac's performance:

  • Free Up Space: Local storage isn’t cluttered with files you don’t need immediate access to.
  • Boost Performance: Your Mac will run more smoothly if its hard drive is less congested.
  • Backup Assurance: In the event of a hardware malfunction, files are securely kept on cloud servers.

Tips to Optimize Mac Storage with iCloud Drive

The following advice will help you maximize the use of your iCloud Drive and maintain optimal storage on your Mac:

  • Clean Up Files Frequently: Examine and eliminate pointless files from your iCloud Drive on a regular basis.
  • Use External Drives: For large, rarely accessed files, consider using external drives.
  • Make Use of iCloud's capabilities: To prevent file duplication, make use of capabilities like shared folders and collaborative documents.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even when you've set everything up perfectly, you may occasionally experience problems with iCloud Drive. Here's how to solve typical issues.

What to Do if iCloud Drive Files Are Stored Locally

Here's what to do if you set up Optimize Mac Storage and discover that your iCloud Drive files are still kept locally:

  • Verify the iCloud settings to make sure "Optimize Mac Storage" is turned on.
  • Remove Local Copies: Manually remove local copies of files as described earlier.
  • Restart Your Mac: Sometimes, a simple restart can resolve syncing issues.

Solutions for Syncing Problems with iCloud Drive

Syncing problems can be frustrating. Here are some steps to troubleshoot:

  • Check Internet Connection: Ensure you have a stable internet connection.
  • Update macOS: Make sure your Mac is running the latest version of macOS.
  • Sign Out and Back In: Sign out of your Apple ID and sign back in to reset the iCloud connection.


One great approach to better manage the storage on your Mac is to use iCloud Drive do not store locally. You can free up important storage on your device and guarantee that your data is safe and constantly available by storing files in the cloud. Optimize your iCloud Drive settings by following the above instructions, and then enjoy a high-performing, clutter-free Mac.

FAQs on iCloud Drive Storage

How do I ensure my iCloud Drive files do not store locally?

A: To ensure your iCloud Drive files do not store locally, go to System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud, and make sure "Optimize Mac Storage" is selected. This will keep your files in the cloud, storing only recently opened and smaller files on your Mac.

Why does my iCloud Drive store files locally?

A: iCloud Drive stores files locally to provide quicker access when needed. However, with "Optimize Mac Storage" enabled, macOS will automatically keep less frequently accessed files in the cloud to save space on your Mac.

How can I keep my iCloud Drive files online only?

A: You can manually remove local copies of files by right-clicking in Finder and choosing "Remove Download" in order to keep your stuff on your iCloud Drive only online. You can also enable "Optimize Mac Storage" in iCloud settings. This clears up space on your Mac by ensuring that files are kept online.

What happens if I disable Optimize Mac Storage?

A: Should you choose not to enable "Optimize Mac Storage," all of your iCloud Drive files will be downloaded to your Mac and kept locally. This can easily take up your local storage, particularly if your iCloud Drive is full of data.

Can I manually choose which iCloud Drive files are stored locally?

A: Yes, you can manually choose which files to keep locally by right-clicking on them in Finder and selecting "Download Now." Conversely, you can remove local copies by right-clicking and choosing "Remove Download."

How does iCloud Drive save space on Mac?

A: iCloud Drive frees up disk space on your Mac by archiving older, infrequently accessed files online. Enabling "Optimize Mac Storage" causes macOS to automatically manage storage, moving some files online to free up space and storing the most important ones locally.

  • 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.