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  1. #1
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    (MPB 10.13.6)

    I've never used iCloud on a regular basis but I this morning I thought I'd have a little go. I was fiddling around and can't quite remember what the message was but it was something really scary like "if you continue, all documents will be deleted from this Mac!" I may have uploaded some documents to iCloud at this point … or not (?) … I really don't know.

    Anyway, the desktop went back in time to 2017, which was when I last fiddled around with iCloud. Then, horror of horrors, I could not find my documents. All I could see were the documents that existed back in 2017.

    I hunted around in Finder but to no avail. Then I remembered a Word document that I'd created a couple of days ago and entered its name into Spotlight. Lo and behold, up came the document. So although I couldn't find my documents, Spotlight could. (Phew!)

    I then used "Get Info" to follow the path and have found them in a folder within iCloud Drive.

    With regard to the desktop, this is now called "iCloud Desktop" and it’s the old 2017 desktop. However, anything that I now save to this new desktop is being uploaded – presumably to iCloud. What's more, the desktop that I had before I started to fiddle around is also present in a folder called "Desktop – (My Name's) Computer".

    Now, alongside some of the documents in iCloud Drive I see a cloud with a solid outline; alongside others I see a cloud with a dotted outline; alongside others I see no cloud at all. Am I right in supposing that those with no cloud have already been uploaded to iCloud? And those with a dotted cloud are in the process of being uploaded? And those with a solid cloud are waiting to be uploaded?

    I trust that the documents that are being uploaded to iCloud will still exist on my MPB in the folder called ICloud Drive. And that they will remain accessible even when I don't have internet access.

    There are loads of Word Documents and other stuff on my MPB and at some point I'll run out of space on iCloud. When this happens, I suppose the proceedings will come to a halt and I'll get a note from Apple telling me to buy some more storage. Is this so?

    Apologies for the ramble above … it was one of those times when you wish you'd left well alone!

    But I'd really appreciate comments from anyone who can put me right.

    M

  2. #2
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    With a recent version of macOS, it is possible to have your Documents folder be synced to iCloud so that it is available on all devices. To make that happen, the contents of your local Documents folder are moved to iCloud and then the local version is removed. Read more about it here.
    --
    Regards
    ...Ashwin


  3. #3
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    Rod's Avatar
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    If you have selected to display iCloud Drive in the sidebar of you finder window you can click on that (if its not visible just tick it in Finder preferences) in it you should now find all your Desktop files.
    You can of course copy/move any one of these files back to the Mac in the same way you would with other files by dragging it back onto the desktop or elsewhere. You will get a notice asking if you are sure you want to remove this document/file from iCloud. It will then be on your computer only.
    I used to be conceited but now I'm perfect.

  4. #4
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    The scary warning probably came when/if you turned on iCloud Document and Desktop sharing, then tried to turn it off. Turning it on MOVED your documents to the iCloud, removing them from your Mac, but making them available to the Mac and all of your devices over the net. Turn OFF that function does NOT move them back to your Mac, just deletes them and they end up gone. I suspect that is because once they are on iCloud, Apple doesn't know where to send them back to if you stop that service (Mac, iPad, iPhone?). So the trick is to first get them selected, then copy them all to some other location on your Mac that is NOT your Documents or Desktop. Once you have them all, you can turn off iCloud sharing, then move the documents on your Mac from where you put them to where you really want them in Documents and Desktop.

    I can't say what the various little cloud icons mean, I don't use the iCloud for sharing that way.
    Jake

  5. #5
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    chscag's Avatar
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    The "desktop and documents" option stored on iCloud should be avoided if you do not know what happens with the process. As Jake said, if your docs are stored in the cloud and you do not have a copy on your Mac, deleting them from the cloud means they're gone.

    Microsoft's OneDrive also stores docs and other files in cloud and gives you 1 GB of free storage if you subscribe to Office 365. But the same holds true about removing files from OneDrive if you do not have a copy on your Mac.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the various replies.
    I feel sure that when I got the scary message about all documents being removed from the Mac, I immediately stopped the process.

    In the Finder sidebar I see "iCloud" and below it:

    1) iCloud Drive
    2) Desktop
    3) Documents

    When I click on the clock face beside (1) above, I can see that an upload is in progress. There's still a long way to go but I presume that when my iCloud is full, I'll get a message inviting me to increase the storage.

    I'm unsure about the clouds that I see next to documents in the various folders. Sometimes the cloud next to a document has a solid outline; sometimes the cloud is dotted; at other times there is no cloud at all. Can someone pse explain the significance of this?

    All documents appear on the MPB when I'm not connected to iCloud so I presume that everything will still be present when the upload has finished (??)

    I cannot see anything like "iCloud Archive". Will this appear later or will the "iCloud Archive" simply be my documents folder?

    Thanks in advance.

    M

  7. #7
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    When I click on the clock face beside (1) above, I can see that an upload is in progress. There's still a long way to go but I presume that when my iCloud is full, I'll get a message inviting me to increase the storage.
    Yes, that is what that clock icon means. I don't know if you will get any message to increase storage. I don't know what happens when you get to the limit. This article seems to imply that there is no message, the upload just stalls: Use iCloud Drive to store documents on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad - Apple Support



    All documents appear on the MPB when I'm not connected to iCloud so I presume that everything will still be present when the upload has finished (??)

    I cannot see anything like "iCloud Archive". Will this appear later or will the "iCloud Archive" simply be my documents folder?
    If you managed to get all the documents from Documents and Desktop to the cloud, what is on your Mac will be only recent documents and recent photos. You will see links that look like the file is there, but the actual file won't be there. You won't know that until you try to open the document and it can't be opened unless you are on the net.
    Jake

  8. #8
    Thanks again for the reply.

    I'm alarmed by the comment:

    "If you managed to get all the documents from Documents and Desktop to the cloud, what is on your Mac will be only recent documents and recent photos. You will see links that look like the file is there, but the actual file won't be there. You won't know that until you try to open the document and it can't be opened unless you are on the net."

    I really don't want the above to happen. My thought was that I'd have the documents on the Mac but also in the Cloud. This would be for when I get a new Mac and want to download them; also as an extra back-up in case my MPB fails or gets lost or stolen.

    I realise that people use iCloud to access documents from other devices and from other locations. However, I never need this. I also have an iPad but only use it for reading the newspaper and for occasional browsing when I have WIFI access somewhere. My MPB sits on a desk at a fixed location.

    At the moment, as far as I can tell, all the documents are still accessible via the MPB even when the WIFI and/or Ethernet are disconnected. Some must already in iCloud but it seems that I can still access everything from the MPB. Am I clinging to straws when I think that they will continue to be accessible when the upload is completed? Or will it be that when the last document has been uploaded, all those on my MPB will suddenly disappear?

    The upload is 40% completed – it goes on inexorably day and night and can only be stopped when I disconnect from WIFI and/or Ethernet. Can I halt the process at this stage?

    Thanks in advance.

    M
    Last edited by Mikeo1938; 12-16-2019 at 09:17 AM.

  9. #9
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    At this point you are probably better off letting it run to completion. Aborting it may leave you in a state where some are in one place and others are in the other. Letting it finish should guarantee that they are all in the Cloud (assuming you have the space there). Once done, you can then copy them all from Documents and Desktop to some other place (maybe external drive? Maybe just a different folder on your Mac, if you have the storage for it, outside the Documents folder?) and once you have them all downloaded again you can then stop the storage process, in which case they will disappear from your Documents folder. Once done, you can copy them all back to the documents folder from where you put them temporarily.

    Sorry about all the work, but once you start the iCloud storage, you pretty much get committed to it. I don't know of any way to abort, safely. Maybe a guru will come along and have a magic touch for you.

    This whole sequence is one of the reasons most of us here recommend against the iCloud storage of Documents and Desktop.

    Here is an article from Apple about it. Note the last section on how to undo storage in the cloud: Add your Desktop and Documents files to iCloud Drive - Apple Support
    Jake

  10. #10
    Thanks Jake ... I wish I'd never started this self-inflicted rigmarole! I'd better ensure that I have enough storage space in iCloud.

    You say: "Maybe just a different folder on your Mac, if you have the storage for it, outside the Documents folder? and once you have them all downloaded again you can then stop the storage process, in which case they will disappear from your Documents folder."

    The MPB is getting a bit short of space but if I understand correctly, once all the documents are in iCloud, I will have freed up a certain amount of space on the MPB. Then, if I download everything again, the stuff that I download should go back into the space that I've freed up. Is this so?

    Sorry to be dim but another question about iCloud: can I be selective about what I download to the MPB and what I leave up in iCloud? I mean there are some documents that I rarely need. Perhaps I can leave these in iCloud and just download those that I need frequently to the MPB?

    Once the process is completed, will I just see a whole bunch of aliases on my MPB (???)

    Are there perhaps some people who opt to leave everything in iCloud and just download files as and when they are required?

    M

  11. #11
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    chscag's Avatar
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    Sorry to be dim but another question about iCloud: can I be selective about what I download to the MPB and what I leave up in iCloud? I mean there are some documents that I rarely need. Perhaps I can leave these in iCloud and just download those that I need frequently to the MPB?
    Yes you can, but you need to do it manually. In other words, do not select to store your documents and photos in the cloud as stated in System Preferences, iCloud.

    In your Finder sidebar you should have an icon that says "iCloud Drive". If you click on that it will open to show three selections: Saved Documents, Shortcuts, and Pages.

    You can move what documents you choose to the "Saved Documents" folder. Actually, you can move them back and forth as desired. And if you use Pages, the same applies there also.

  12. #12
    Thanks "chscag" for your reply.

    I'm letting the uploads run to completion as suggested by Jake. Can I wait with your tip above until the uploads have finished?

    In fact, the Finder sidebar is currently not showing Saved Documents, Shortcuts, and Pages. Is this because the upload is still in progress? Will the three options that you mention appear when the upload is done? (At present it's showing: iCloud Drive, Desktop, Documents.)

    Although I've taken on board your comment, I hope that I won't have to do anything else for the time being.

    M

  13. #13
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    chscag's Avatar
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    Yes, you can wait. But keep in mind if you have already selected "Desktop & Documents Folders" from the iCloud or Apple ID System Preferences options, that will upload all your Documents to the cloud. Once you've done that and then deselect that option, you will lose your documents unless you have them copied elsewhere.

    That's why I do not recommend using that option but instead manually move things as I stated above.

  14. #14
    OK and thanks for your prompt reply.
    Well, I am where I am and the documents are uploading. I'll let that take its course.

    You say:
    But keep in mind if you have already selected "Desktop & Documents Folders" from the iCloud or Apple ID System Preferences options, that will upload all your Documents to the cloud. Once you've done that and then deselect that option, you will lose your documents unless you have them copied elsewhere.

    It was a day or so ago and I can't really remember what I did. I guess that I did indeed select "Desktop & Documents Folders" from the iCloud or Apple ID System Preferences option because otherwise I would not be in this pickle now. I hope that I didn't subsequently deselect it.

    As things stand, my understanding is that when my documents have finished uploading, they will be in iCloud and will then disappear from my MPB.

    What about when the upload finishes? (Of course, I may not be at the computer at that time.) Will I be presented with a choice? Will I have to take some action or be careful not to do something? I'd hate to mess things up at the last stage!

    I've upgraded my storage and have plenty of room in iCloud.

    Thanks again for your patience.

    M

  15. #15
    Blundering around in the iCloud (!)
    chscag's Avatar
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    Once the upload is finished all your Documents will be available from the cloud and will no longer be on your Mac. Again, do not deselect that option without first copying all your documents to a separate folder on your Mac or to an external hard drive. Without doing that, all your documents will disappear from the cloud and your Mac.

    There's really nothing to choose once the upload is finished. Just open the iCloud Drive folder from the Finder sidebar and navigate to your documents.

    By the way, don't worry about making that selection for Desktop and Documents Folders. Lots of folks have inadvertently done the same thing before reading the "fine print".

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