Unfortunately, I had to suddenly replace a lost MacBook. It has about 200GB of documents (almost anything that matters) in iCloud Drive.

  1. Open new MacBook
  2. Full Time Machine restore via Migration Assistant
  3. iCloud Drive is empty (and apart from app-specific directories, has been empty for about a day with no activity from brctl log --wait --shorten or iCloudStatus

(Presumably if I just leave my Mac powered on and connected to WiFi for several months or years, all 200GB will download to it and become available.)

So, I have four other Macs on my home network. What I'd like to do is just go to one of those machines and:

  1. tar -zcvf icloud.tar.gz "~/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs"
  2. Disable iCloud Drive's daemons from running or connecting to iCloud Drive (without disabling iCloud Drive from the user prefpane, which will delete the directory upon re-enabling it)
  3. Move the backup to the new MacBook and expand it into its own "com~apple~CloudDocs" directory
  4. Reenable iCloud Drive in such a way that it will respect the new files, the fact that they are identical, and neither corrupt anything or duplicate anything.

I've attempted this in less significant ways before and have never figured out a workable approach to either step #2 or step #4 Unfortunately, Google has been lousy for researching this because 99% of hits re about people restoring iOS devices from iCloud backups.

Any ideas?

  • A good research regarding this question would be determining whether a file changes in any way, when copied from one device/platform to another. Anything like "date modified" or "date added/created" properties. Moreover, I think cloud storage software, like Dropbox or iCloud Drive, don't simply check files differentially, they actually "monitor" the folders for any operation, so "copying" a file, which is already in the cloud, to the monitored folder, will cause a duplicate, because it was "copied". Interesting question though, will be checking this. – Behdad Jul 11 '15 at 17:31
  • So if you take a local file and copy/move to replace an identical existing file, fsevents will fire a delete action on the path. The iCloud Drive services will interpret this event by deleting the file from ALL your other devices and then attempt to reupload it, which is pretty darn inefficient. – Justin Searls Jul 12 '15 at 2:57

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