As my title suggests I'd like to know what is the difference between the iCloud Drive and iCloud. Is it just the location of where stuff is stored? I thought iCloud Drive was like Google Drive but when I go to iCloud Drive in the Finder it shows its at:

/Users/myname/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs 

which is on my drive. Can someone explain what the iCloud Drive is? If the files I put on my iCloud drive are stored on my computer, how can I increase the iCloud drive storage to TBs?

  • Have a look at: apple.com/icloud & support.apple.com/en-us/HT201104 – user3439894 Mar 12 at 15:21
  • @user3439894 Thanks, that helps a lot. I need to sort thru this to understand what files can be stored on the iCloud drive. It seems from reading these I could move everything to the iCloud drive except for the operating system and clean off my internal drive. I can add more iCloud storage if necessary. Thanks again. – jmh Mar 12 at 21:04
  • why the downvote? Its an legit question. – jmh Mar 13 at 3:24
  • My guess would be that is has nothing to do with whether or not it's a litigate question and more so that your question as written showed no research at all. I know I found not only the links I put in my comment but many other links to well known sites with good explanations on the subject. – user3439894 Mar 13 at 13:46
  • @user3439894 I found a gazillion explanations but none that explained my specific question. Even in the comments it was answered with a "pretty much yes" reply. My reputation should indicate that I do research before asking a question! – jmh Mar 13 at 14:18

Put simply:

iCloud is the data synchronisation service developers (incl. Apple) can use to sync application data across devices and, in the case of iOS and macOS, even across platforms.

iCloud Drive is an online folder for arbitrary documents/files etc. – pretty much like DropBox – which, as it works on top of iCloud, can also sync any of the files/documents inside the iCloud Drive folder across devices.

  • @user3439894 Sorry, but I did not confuse anything. iCloud is the sync service Apple (obviously) and 3rd party devs (can) use to sync application data. developer.apple.com/icloud What has this to do with the usage of the iCloud term? Also, I did not state that iCloud Drive operates the same way as Dropbox, hence the "pretty much like". – Gummibando Mar 12 at 22:15
  • I'm trying to better understand storing data on my iCloud Drive. From best I can tell, I should be able to move everything but the operating system to the iCloud Drive and still have access to it all. This allows me to clear off my internal drive so I can fill it up again over time. Is there something wrong with my reasoning? – jmh Mar 12 at 22:16
  • @jmh Pretty much yes, within the limits of the storage space plan, obviously. You can put any arbitrary file/folder etc. into the iCloud Drive, move/rename/delete it etc., more or less the same as with "normal" Finder folders. Just with sync. iCloud/CloudKit data from applications does not appear in the file system, but can be "managed" (usually only deleted) from the system preferences in macOS and iOS. – Gummibando Mar 12 at 22:24
  • @jmh There is even an automatic "space-saver" feature in macOS + a feature to sync the Desktop and Documents folders. See System Preferences app > iCloud > iCloud Drive [Options]. – Gummibando Mar 12 at 22:29

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