I have almost no disk space left on my MacBook Air.

Having run Disk Inventory X, one of the main hogs is the files under Users/MyName/Library/Containers/com.apple.cloudphotosd/Data/Library/Application Support/com.apple.cloudphotosd/services/com.apple.photo.icloud.sharedstreams/assets (assets contains several folders with gobbledygook names).

**The content here seems to be my iCloud Photo Sharing shared photos (ie. "Shared" in Photos), which is about 21.9Gb large.

I don't understand why this is the case, since my "Photos" folder (ie. library) is only 12.94Gb large (local storage is optimised, real library more like 52Gb).**

My MacBook Air early 2015 has the 120Gb storage and runs OS X 10.11.6

So, what is this folder mentioned above, why is it so large, and can I delete any of it without losing my Shared photos or the photos streams which I have been added to?

3 Answers 3


The iCloud files come down from the cloud, so you can't really delete a local copy as it will start downloading again. Instead, let's review the settings that control what data comes down.

Ideally, you can turn off iCloud on the Air and let the OS delete all the content so you have space to work. (Bad things break in odd ways when the boot drive fills).

Open iCloud preferences and under photos turn off either/or/both:

  • iCloud Photo library
  • iCloud photo sharing

The first will be your pictures existing only on other devices and Apple servers. The second is all of the shared photos that other people have shared with you and you have shared with other people. I even know of some people who use iCloud photo sharing to share photos only with themselves because these photos don't count against the free 5 Gb storage limit.

You are correct that the folder you found is for shared photos. If you can't free up other space on the Mac - you can opt out of some sharing of images / movies that are large. I also find the optimize photo size option handy on mobile devices when I don't need the full resolution of photos in my local copy of the Photos library:

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  • 1
    I disabled iCloud Photo Sharing and, indeed, the folder size dropped. But I re-enabled it because, well, I want to see the photos. Also, disabling iCloud Photo Library would kind of defeat its purpose - I want to see my photos, hosted in the cloud. I'm so surprised that both take up so much - in the case of iCloud Photo Library, files should be smaller due to optimisation; in the case of iCloud Photo Sharing, those should be both smaller files and remotely hosted in someone else's iCloud account, mostly not mine. Apple's cloud services... Aug 7, 2016 at 18:43

MacWorld has an interesting article on this subject. Unfortunately, it boils down to there's not much you can do, but you can try disabling iCloud Photo Library and deleting the com.apple.cloudphotosd folder, then re-enabling iCloud Photo Library.

(Not sure why you have to disable iCloud Photo Library first, but that's what the article says.)


I found this answer was the cure to my problems; a disk space shortage. I just put a new SSD in my imac from 2009, which runs like a rocket now, and after 3 months, I was running out of space without putting hardly anything on it!

Also, unless you are willing to pony up for icloud space, then you'll most likely have to store photos on your imac locally, taking up space or prescribe to another clound storage solution. We use dropbox, which was the bellweather before Apple got into the cloud storage realm. We use that, but our account is so large now, about 110GB, that linking dropbox and any of our computers, takes up a lot of space on them. So we access it through a browswer and that works fine for our needs. Primarily its for backing up photos anyway. We pay $99/yr for 1TB of storage.

  • This answer just... doesn't help at all. Doesn't even address the question: "what is this folder mentioned above, why is it so large, and can I delete any of it[...]?" Feb 9, 2019 at 23:57

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