Why is There a Cloud Next to My Files?

July 16, 2023
David Sunnyside

What exactly is this cloud that hovers over us, controlling the way we send emails, stream movies and listen to music? It’s a system of millions of hard drives, computer servers, signal routers and fiber-optic cables. It’s a system that, like the water droplets, ice crystals and aerosols that make up real clouds, connects us to each other across huge distances of space and time.

Depending on the settings you have selected, your files or folders may display different types of cloud icons in Finder. This article explains the different symbols and their meaning.

Cloud icon (Uploading) - The file or folder is being uploaded to iCloud from your Mac. It may take some time to upload large folders, as it is a background process. You can view the progress of the upload by clicking on the cloud icon.

Dotted cloud icon (Waiting to Upload) - The file or folder is waiting to be uploaded to iCloud from your Mac and will soon be available online. You can also click on the cloud icon to download it from iCloud.

Blue cloud icon - The file is only stored in the cloud and not locally on your Mac. It will only be available if you are connected to the Internet. It is not recommended that you store large files on your hard drive as this can quickly fill up your storage space. If you choose to enable Storage Sense, these files will be automatically downloaded to your hard drive when they are needed.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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