Files have automatically started downloading to my Mac from iCloud Drive and I'd like to stop them.

I've tried clicking the X button next to the progress bar, and I've also tried looking for a stop button in context menus, yet no luck. Even though they are definetly downloading, all I see in the context menus is "Download Now".

Any help please?

Screen recording: https://RyderCragie.com/iCloudDriveIssue

  • 1
    I'm confused. That's what iCloud Drive is about. Oct 27, 2021 at 14:30
  • If I want to access a file I will choose to manually download it. I don't want it to download automatically. Oct 27, 2021 at 15:59
  • 2
    That's not how iCloud Drive works. You can, in the iCloud preferences on your Mac, set it to optimize storage, and it will throw out infrequently accessed files. It's not like DropBox, where you can set up SmartSync and never have $THING come down to the computer. Oct 27, 2021 at 16:35
  • I already have it set to optimise. And the files that it's trying to download are infrequently used. I uploaded them ages ago and never touched them since. Oct 27, 2021 at 16:45
  • I did more research and added what I hope TPTB would accept as a potential answer. I do not use iCloud myself, because I like my data and trust Apple with it about as far as you could throw Cupertino. Oct 27, 2021 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


Read through the various issues described against this 3rd-party tool:






They make interesting reading re how to manage iCloud. But it does seem that you cannot simply not download a file, the best you can do is evict it once it has been downloaded.


Since there seems to be no proper way to achieve this, I have sent feedback to Apple.

I will send feedback on a weekly basis until they fix it.

Feedback screenrshot


Go to system preferences > internet accounts > iCloud and disable iCloud drive. Wait for the download to stop. Then re-enable it.

  • Is there a side effect when disabling iCloud Drive? What happens to the files stored there?
    – nohillside
    Oct 27, 2021 at 20:00
  • Your iCloud Drive files should not be affected. But the files you have downloaded to your mac can get deleted. I believe it would give you an option to keep local files or delete, not sure if it does or not. Oct 29, 2021 at 1:12

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