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AnsweredWhy Does iCloud Drive Take up Space on Mac?

Trying to switch from OneDrive to iCloud drive and I see on my 128GB MacBook that iCloud is taking up storage on the device. Why is this the case? ... it is basically an external drive. I want to store on it like I did on OneDrive, just have files kept off the computer that I might need later. But I want to maintain space on the MacBook for other projects that come and go. Don't understand why it is showing in blue as on my drive.

Best Answered by Vera September 21, 2023

Professional Editor | With many years immersed in the world of writing, I bring a wealth of experience to every project I undertake. My dedication lies not only in crafting compelling content but also in sharing invaluable insights on cloud transfer, synchronization, and backup strategies.

It's a common misconception, but iCloud Drive does take up space on your Mac for a few reasons:

1. Syncing: iCloud Drive syncs your files across all your devices, including your Mac. So, any files you have in iCloud Drive will be downloaded and stored locally on your Mac to ensure you can access them offline.

2. Optimize Mac Storage: When your Mac is running low on storage, it can use the "Optimize Mac Storage" feature. This means that older and larger files from iCloud Drive will be replaced with smaller versions or placeholders on your Mac to free up space.

3. Cached Data: iCloud Drive keeps some files cached on your Mac to speed up access and reduce the need for frequent downloads.

4. File Versioning: iCloud Drive maintains versions of your files, allowing you to revert to previous states. These versions can take up space on both iCloud and your Mac.

To manage iCloud Drive's impact on your Mac's storage:

1. You can manually delete files from iCloud Drive if you don't need them locally on your Mac.

2. Consider using "Optimize Mac Storage" or "Store in iCloud" options under Apple menu > About This Mac > Storage > Manage.

3. Regularly review and clean up your files to keep your Mac storage in check.

Remember, while iCloud Drive can help access your files from anywhere, it's essential to manage your files to balance storage needs on your Mac. 

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If you really mind your iCloud Drive occupying your Mac space, you can also use MultCloud to upload some important files to other cloud accounts, such as Google Drive.

Step 1. Sign up for MultCloud.

Step 2. Add your Google Drive account to MultCloud.

Step 3. Enter Google Drive, and tap "Upload File" to choose important files from your Mac to upload to Google Drive quickly.

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