I am having a problem with iCloud Drive. I managed to see progress thankfully with brctl log --wait --shorten (taken from here).

It seems like there is an error running every second or even more often.

[ERROR]  14.007 [2016-01-09 23:17:13.007] bird.scheduler.Uploader        fs.uploader               BRCFSUploader.m:732
Unable to copy thumbnail at '/.DocumentRevisions-V100/PerUID/501/6c131/com.apple.thumbnails/:501:QLThumbnailAdditionName/thumbnail.jpg' to upload stage: <NSError:0x7fec5e22a330(NSCocoaErrorDomain:260) - {
    NSFilePath = "/.DocumentRevisions-V100/PerUID/501/6c131/com.apple.thumbnails/:501:QLThumbnailAdditionName/thumbnail.jpg";
    NSUnderlyingError = "<NSError:0x7fec5e248200(NSPOSIXErrorDomain:2) - {\n}>";

The bird process in the Activity Monitor, which is responsible for the iCloud Drive syncing, is taking up 150 and more percent of the CPU all the time and doesn't stop.

What I tried:

  • installed iCloudStatus, which shows which files are being synced... but the file doesn't show up
  • killed the bird and the cloudd process... will just fire up again
  • deleted ~/Library/Application Support/CloudDocs all my files were deleted and newly downloaded but I got the same error

What can I do to get rid of this? Thanks for any suggestions.

5 Answers 5


I got rid of the problem by removing the folder that contained the file over the terminal. Seems like there was something mixed up.

This is how I did it:

  1. Identify the source of the problem using this command:

    brctl log -w --shorten

  2. I looked into it and saw there was one error always repeating and it always tried to upload it.

  3. Because I couldn't find the file via the terminal (because it was never on my disk) I deleted the folder that should have contained the file. It did that using the command

    sudo rm -rf name_of_the_folder

I hope that helps someone.

  • How do you get the folder name? here is an excerp pastebin.com/Lsm9wwU6
    – dv3
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 15:14
  • I don't see any path either in this log. Seems like this <private> is diguising it. You can try to run the first command with sudo or remove the --shorten parameter. Maybe it gives you the info you seek.
    – palme
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 18:43
  • @palme How did you find the name of the folder causing the issue? Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 7:33
  • 3
    That command didn't work for me. I had to user brctl log -w --shorten
    – villy393
    Commented Nov 11, 2019 at 23:11
  • 3
    The log no longer shows anything, after a privacy update so that all entries are <private>. Commented Mar 7, 2020 at 3:14

If you are not using iCloud at all, you can disable the service.

launchctl remove com.apple.bird

I just spent a lot of time with different guys and girls from the APple Care about that subject, and it turns out that I wanted to upload an ubuntu-16.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso file, and as soon as I threw it away and didn't upload it on iCloud, bird went alright. The guy I had told me that I shouldn't try to upload any OS on iCloud, and it's written on the User's conditions... He told me that only simple and typical files (pictures, videos, .number or .xlsx, .pages, .psd, .zip) should be updated.

  • Pretty stupid remark from that AC as iCloud can upload the Documents folder automatically and all kinds of things can legitimately be in there.
    – MiB
    Commented Jan 21, 2023 at 12:38

If youve tried everything and doesnt work do it:

just navigate to

~/Library/Application Support/

and execute

rm -rf CloudDocs <<<<<<<<< USE AT YOUR OWN RISK


I lowered bird from about 90% to 0.0% doing this:

  1. Look in iCloud Drive in Finder in column view.
  2. Command-shift-period to toggle on hidden files
  3. Look for cloud icons (with or without an arrow) to the right of file names. These seem to indicate items being cloud synced.
  4. Drill down within the folder(s) with the cloud icon until you get to specific files being synced. (I found two PDFs)
  5. Copy the files somewhere outside iCloud (I did this on an iOS device but you could probably just use Finder. Removing from iCloud by dragging and saying OK to the "Remove from iCloud?" dialog might work instead of deleting, I can't say).
  6. Use Finder to delete the offending files that are in iCloud Drive (unless you removed from iCloud per my note in step 5).
  7. Empty the Trash (note this is emptying your local Mac trash as well as in iCloud).

If you run brctl log -w --shorten before and after doing this, you should see a difference in logging. You should see lower %CPU for bird in Activity Monitor afterward.

After emptying trash, a hidden ".Trash" folder (see step 2) at the top level of iCloud Drive continued to show the cloud icon. After about 5 minutes, the cloud icon disappeared and bird went from about 9% to 0%.

Caveats: Try not to delete files you want to keep!

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