Yesterday I discovered an unfortunate thing: iCloud Drive had apparently detected that I had too little free disk space for its tastes, and then it had decided to upload my ~180 GB VM image to iCloud and delete it from my local hard drive.

Since then, I have freed lots of space, totaling around 280 available GB – but iCloud Drive refuses to download my VM, saying that I have too little available disk space!

To make matters worse, the web-based download accessible here consistently fails after having downloaded a few GB. I am of course trying to download the file to a file that is not synchronized by iCloud Drive.

Does anyone know 1) How much space does iCloud Drive actually need in order to be able to retrieve a file?, and 2) Is there any other way for me to retrieve the file?

  • did you have the VM in your iCloud Drive? Do you mean that it decided to delete the local copy since it had already been uploaded? It would be quite alarming if Apple decided to take things in other parts of your hard drive and delete them, but upload them to iCloud.
    – iconoclast
    Oct 8, 2021 at 22:38

1 Answer 1


The current belief is that it starts complaining about free disk space somewhere around 20% left. So if you have 282 GB free and are trying to download 185 GB, that would leave 77 GB free, which is less than 20% of your 500 GB hard drive.

I don't believe there's anywhere that codifies what "low" means in this context, though, so I can't point you to an official source that says it's 20%.

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