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iCloud Drive FAQ

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Question: Can I move iCloud drive from my Mac to an attached external drive?

Can I move iCloud drive to an external thunderbolt drive. I have 2+TB available on an external drive but only 25GB available on my Mac. I have 50GB to store at a minimum. Can the files be stored locally on the thunderbolt external drive?


I understand how iCloud works to manage storage on my Mac by removing files locally that I don't use but I'd like to store large amount of data. Ideally I could buy 2GB of iCloud storage and keep 2GB of data both there and locally on the external thunderbolt drive.

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Nov 16, 2017 2:41 PM in response to Miles Cortez In response to Miles Cortez

Not in any direct fashion. The iCloud Drive is actually a folder on your startup drive as well as on iCloud. It isn't likely you could get it to work by moving the folder to an external drive then creating a soft link alias on the startup drive to replace it. A regular Mac alias does not work with a Library folder. Zinacef's suggestion would not work as you want.

Nov 16, 2017 2:41 PM

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Nov 16, 2017 2:46 PM in response to Kappy In response to Kappy

Thanks for the response. That's what I was afraid of. It seems like I can upload 2 TB of data by logging into iCloud.com and selecting the upload icon at the top. I suppose then only the regularly used documents and folders with sync to the Mac hard drive?


It occurred to me that I could reinstall OSX onto the external drive but I think this is fraught with potential problems (i.e. the Lacie Drive fails. Plus the external drive isn't an SSD so everything slows down.

Nov 16, 2017 2:46 PM

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Nov 16, 2017 3:00 PM in response to Miles Cortez In response to Miles Cortez

Apple does not intend iCloud Drive to be simply an alternative to DropBox or other cloud backup sites. It is intended to make it easier for all iCloud enabled devices to access data from apps that support iCloud like TextEdit, Pages, Numbers, etc. It is not a general cloud backup service.

Nov 16, 2017 3:00 PM

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Question: Can I move iCloud drive from my Mac to an attached external drive?