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Uploading of Desktop and Documents to iCloud hasn't worked for me for months (macOS 10.12).

I have now started from scratch with a brand-new install, and am trying to sync just ~70MB of files that are sitting on the desktop.

It's been stuck on "77.8MB of 77.8MB" for 3 days.

Why does this happen, and how can I fix it?

I've looked at possible solutions (like logging out etc.), but this is a fresh install, shouldn't it just work?

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All programs are supposed to "just work", however bugs are unavoidable when humans are programming.

With a brand new install it seems that logging out or rebooting the Mac to test if this fixes the problem shouldn't be a problem. So you might want to give that a try.

If you want to fix the problem without logging out or rebooting, try opening a terminal and running:

brctl log --wait --shorten

This should give you a reasonably readable output of log info from the syncing process. Hopefully this will give you a clue as to why the process isn't progressing.

You can also try simply killing the bird process that handles the synchronization. When it starts again it might progress to completion.

  • Killing the bird processes (two in my case) from Activity Monitor worked for me. Finder showed an alert about the stuck download failing, but after double-clicking in the file again it downloaded in a breeze. – jcabrera May 1 at 21:35

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