I found that sometimes my files which I put on my iCloud are going to disappear from my local hard drive and thus force me to download them again. These files have the "download from the cloud" icon on Finder, and I'm not sure when and why these icons are added to which files.

I don't like to download them again, but this happens quite often. The files are put under ~/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/my_directory. How can I avoid them and keep the files available at local?

  • I'm guessing this is by design. If I'm right - let me know and I can add more screen shots to my answer and explain how I'm managing things between iCloud - an SSD that has 256 only for storage and a cloud library / photos and documents that's about 176 GB and not having the situation you describe. – bmike Jun 5 '19 at 12:00

This is the correct situation if your Mac has Optimize Mac Storage enabled in the iCloud preference pane.

iCloud Documents detail pane - showing Optimize Mac Storage

If your storage is under light pressure, I don't find recently used documents being released from local storage much if at all, but if you are running with a very close to full drive, the system may be removing the local copy before you like.

Apple SSD showing light storage pressure

Above is an SSD under light pressure - lots of space for local backups, iCloud data to remain cached and space to add new files. Below is iCloud showing nearly 200 GB of data so if all of that were on my MacBook - my pressure would be constrained / close to full.

enter image description here

There's nothing sudden about this, though in my experience. Most people I assist with this are more bothered by the large amount of data that could be "purged" and isn't but I get your not wanting to re-download and wait for files.

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  • Thanks. I now wonder if it’s possible to choose the files to un-download (delete the files only on local drive)... – Blaszard Jun 5 '19 at 13:59
  • The point of this is to just use things and let the system allocate the space. – bmike Jun 5 '19 at 16:50

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