Reclaim Local Mac Storage Space by Removing iCloud Drive Downloads

Learn how to free up space on your Mac by removing files that are also stored in iCloud Drive.

If you are using iCloud Drive to store some of your files, those files are stored on both your Mac and in iCloud. What you can do is remove those files from your Mac and access them through iCloud, thereby freeing up space on your Mac. How? Apple provides an Optimize Mac Storage checkbox that, when checked, stores the full contents of iCloud Drive on the Mac only if there’s enough space. This is located under the Apple Menu>About This Mac>Storage>Manage. 

You can also recover local storage space on your Mac without selecting that option. Open iCloud Drive in the Finder, Control-click a file, and choose Remove Download. The file remains in iCloud Drive, and if you need it locally, you can click the cloud icon next to its name to download it. If you’re not sure which files in the iCloud Drive window occupy the most space, choose View > As List, and then click the Size column so the largest files sort to the top (click again if they’re sorting to the bottom).

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