I'm looking to save some space on my internal drive and noticed that com.apple.bird takes lots of space - 76 Gb to be exact.

As I understand from What is com.apple.bird? Why does it grow so big? it's part of the iCloud stuff and should only keep the data temporarily. This wasn't true for my machine in the past 3 years. No matter what I did to it it just kept growing to the same size.

Now my question is whether it is safe to move com.apple.bird to an external drive and just create a symlink to the folder on the external drive?

2 Answers 2


This process contains cache for Apps using iCloud-Backup. Might check to see which applications are using the most space in your Library/Caches/com.apple.bird folder.

There is a script available here https://github.com/bwesterb/blame-bird to help with that.

  • But as I said the problem has been consistently occurring for the past two years. I can't just stop using WhatsApp or other apps that use iCloud just because there is some rare bug.
    – förschter
    Feb 15, 2018 at 7:24

The easy way to do this is to move your entire home folder to the external drive. Apple designs their OS to have the user home folder portable, but everything inside that home folder really derives from the location / storage of the folder.

You can sometimes override the location of things like iTunes Music Library or iPhoto Library (the parts that don't cache down from the internet).

Moving bird and the sync data is one item that seems exceptionally hard to do technically and likely to cause breakage and errors. Have you considered reducing the storage or moving other files off the boot volume so your iCloud local cache can be on the same storage as the user folder (and optionally the OS itself?)? That clearly isn't what you hoped, but with this details - maybe you can move all user files or come up with a different accommodation.

If you boil this down to a yes/no question on macOS 10.13, I would say it's not safe to try to move that data elsewhere and you'd want to thin the data entering iCloud of you don't want 76 GB of it on the Mac where your home folder exists.

  • > Moving bird and the sync data is one item that seems exceptionally hard to do technically and likely to cause breakage and errors. Why? The photo library seems to be way easier to break. Moving other files isn't really an option. They are either apps or already on an external drive.
    – förschter
    Feb 15, 2018 at 7:25
  • @joelfischerr It's hard coded and several daemons depend on it. In a nutshell, the functions exposed by bird comprise network capacity measurements and throttles, synchronization status of fragments of files, processing push notifications, encrypting them at rest and coordinating interactions with a cloud distribution network and local cache points to upload / download and resolve conflicts in files. It's not a simple subsystem that's self contained like music or photos.
    – bmike
    Feb 17, 2018 at 14:45

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