Thursday, December 14, 2023

iCloud Drive in Sonoma: FileProvider and Eviction

Howard Oakley:

Prior to Sonoma, one of the features in iCloud Drive that hasn’t behaved as documented is Optimise Mac Storage. This has changed in Sonoma, as it now effectively switches between two different types of file provider: a replicated file provider, which syncs between local and remote copies of all files put in the cloud, and a nonreplicated file provider, which hosts and manages files that can be stored locally or whose data may only exist in the cloud.


It’s essential to remember that, in the new iCloud Drive, changing Optimise Mac Storage results in a major change in behaviour, and as far as FileProvider is concerned, it effectively switches between two different versions of iCloud Drive.


Update (2023-12-29): Howard Oakley:

None of this guarantees that iCloud Drive won’t sulk when it should be syncing, and plenty have suffered traumatic conversions to this new FileProvider architecture. But experience so far is encouraging. Most importantly for us, it puts Apple’s service on a par with other cloud services. If they’re affected by problems in the FileProvider mechanism, then Apple has great incentive to fix them, as they’ll most probably also affect its own service. And what could have been considered unfair advantages of iCloud Drive are removed, integrating all cloud services with similar benefits in macOS.

In the longer term, it could open up some cloud services that haven’t yet been fully realised on Macs, such as backup to the cloud, a feature conspicuously absent from iCloud even though it was provided in Apple’s older services such as .Mac way back in July 2002.

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