OneDrive Mac Users Unhappy With Buggy Update That Removes Ability to Keep Local Copies of Synced Files

Changes to the way OneDrive syncs files and folders on Mac has caused upset among users of the cloud storage service, following Microsoft's rollout last month of a new "Files On-Demand Experience" for Macs running macOS 12.1 and later.

OneDrive
In a change coming with macOS 12.3, currently still in beta, Apple is deprecating the kernel extensions originally used by OneDrive's syncing features, so the Mac client is now using Apple's File Provider extensions instead. Microsoft says this new technology stack should make the feature "much better integrated with the operating system compared to the first version." Judging by feedback though, that has not been the experience of many users, with slowdowns and bugs variously reported.

Worsening matters, in tandem with the new macOS extensions integration, Microsoft has also made Files On-Demand the default behavior of its OneDrive client. The Files On-Demand feature is designed to allow users to access files in the cloud without having to download them and use storage space on their Mac. Previously, it was an optional feature and users could disable it. However, the latest update has controversially removed the original user setting to disable it, further angering customers who now have no way of keeping local copies of their synced files.

What this has meant in practice for many users is that any local copies of files synced to OneDrive have been summarily wiped from their Mac since the update was rolled out. Responding to the change on Microsoft's community answers forum, one customer complained:

What is going on? Why would you enforce Files On-Demand on your customers, isn't it enough to enable it by default? My 70GB of cloud data is not local anymore, sometimes I have no internet, you are locking me away from my files. Also making it impossible for me to do full text searches. Files On-Demand is also too slow, waiting a second to display folder contents is too much when you organize things in deep folder structures.

How I can disable Files On-Demand? Will you please stop knowing the best for your customers? We aren't toddlers. Thanks!

If Files On-Demand is enforced by policy, I will leave your cloud service once and for all.

Responding to the question, another user wrote:

You could have asked instead of just deleting everything so I have to download all of my files again. So angry at Microsoft over this. Returning my files to local has been a gigantic pain in the rear end. I have far better things to do than to painstakingly select each folder and choose "always keep on this device".

onedrive always keep on device

Microsoft includes an ability in OneDrive's Finder integration to mark synced files as "Always Keep on This Device" (internally referred to as "pinning"), and some users have resorted to exhaustively re-downloading all their files and folders using this option, but not without a high degree of syncing fails. Another user writes:

The proposed solution of doing this on the root doesn't work. If I select this option for more than a couple of folders, I am greeted with a Finder error citing "cannot communicate with the helper." I've been working on this for hours and it appears I have several hours to go. Already provided feedback via the option on OneDrive. Bad form, Microsoft.

On top of these errors, some users are also experiencing problems with files refusing to download or open correctly in their default application. One Redditor posts:

Prior to today, when I double clicked a Word document, PPT, etc. in the Finder that resided in my OneDrive folder, the Office app would open the OneDrive version and autosave my changes. Today, when I do that, it just treats it as a local file and won't sync it with OneDrive. I still have the setting "Use Office applications to sync Office files that I open" enabled, but the new version seems to have broken that.

Hundreds of similar complaints about the enforced changes and associated bugs can be found on Microsoft's OneDrive blog, the MacRumors Forums, and scattered over Reddit, with many users saying they will move to a rival cloud storage syncing solution unless the ability to store synced files locally is brought back and the syncing bugs are fixed. We've reached out to Microsoft to provide more clarity on the situation and will update this article if we hear back.

Top Rated Comments

clydeturkey Avatar
20 weeks ago
I'm guessing the complainers haven't been reading the news as of late.
https://www.macrumors.com/2022/01/27/macos-12-3-deprecates-dropbox-onedrive-kexts/
https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-onedrive-blog/inside-the-new-files-on-demand-experience-on-macos/ba-p/3058922

Don't blame the vendor, when Apple is implementing the restrictions the vendor has to live with.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Andy-V Avatar
20 weeks ago

This is honestly why I stick to Dropbox for high priority needs, even if I only have 20 GB of space. Dropbox just works, and it has always just worked. I also have "unlimited" Google Drive but I don't have any local syncing because it's low priority files.
These same changes are coming to DropBox too
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
b4rtw Avatar
20 weeks ago
Apple: We're changing stuff.
Microsoft: Ok, we will adjust our app to your new API's
Users: Microsoft, WTF!?!

Typical.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
VictorTango777 Avatar
20 weeks ago
OneDrive for Windows:


OneDrive for Mac, before update:





OneDrive for Mac, after update:


Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image

Attachment Image
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
valdikor Avatar
20 weeks ago
The way the changes in macOS are described by MacRumors and generally interpreted is wrong. I have little experience with Dropbox but OneDrive does not nor has it ever used kernel extensions. It is available from the Mac App Store, and that precludes the inclusion of any kernel extensions (yes, there is also a direct download version, but AFAIK it works essentially the same).

The changes in 12.3 force the cloud providers to change the way Files on Demand work, yes. But nobody forced Microsoft to make Files on Demand mandatory, they could have made sure to keep the “all files are local” mode available – but they did not.

Even the oft-maligned iCloud Drive lets you keep all files locally (by switching off Optimize Mac Storage).
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wildkraut Avatar
20 weeks ago
Sounds like they are laying out the way to gatekeep macOS.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iCloud Bug Feature Green

Developers Unhappy With Bug Causing iCloud Unreliability

Monday January 24, 2022 10:15 am PST by
A number of developers are upset with an increasingly problematic iCloud server issue that is causing some apps that have implemented iCloud support to fail to sync properly. As outlined on the Developer Forums and on Twitter, there are CloudKit connectivity issues that have been occurring since November. Some users of apps that have iCloud support built in are seeing the following message:...
airpods 3 in ear

Apple Could Add User Authentication to AirPods

Thursday January 27, 2022 7:05 am PST by
Apple is exploring methods to bring user authentication to AirPods, a newly published Apple patent application shows. In a patent application titled "User Identification Using Headphones," filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and spotted by Patently Apple, Apple explains how it can authenticate AirPods users using other nearby devices, ultrasonic signals, voice...
macos monterey

macOS Monterey 12.3 Update Bricking Macs That Have Had Logic Board Replacements

Thursday March 17, 2022 5:12 am PDT by
The latest macOS Monterey update, released to the public this week, is bricking Macs that have had their logic boards replaced, causing panic among customers who are unable to get their Mac back to a working state, according to a cluster of user reports posted on social media and Apple's support forums. Apple this week released macOS Monterey 12.3, which among other things, brought Universal ...
OneDrive

Microsoft Responds to OneDrive Mac User Criticism Following Decision to Enforce Files On-Demand Feature [Updated]

Thursday February 3, 2022 7:50 am PST by
Earlier this week, MacRumors reported on a OneDrive for Mac update that has caused upset among users of the cloud storage service, partly due to alleged bugs it has introduced but mainly because the new version no longer allows users to opt out of its cloud-based Files On-Demand feature, which was previously an optional setting. In an update to its original blog post introducing this aspect...
iPad Air Feature 2 green

New Apple Products Filed in Regulatory Database, Likely Including New iPhone SE and iPad Air

Tuesday January 18, 2022 6:11 am PST by
Apple today filed unreleased iPhone and iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission database, as spotted by French blog Consomac. The filings likely represent the rumored third-generation iPhone SE, fifth-generation iPad Air, and potentially more. The unreleased iPhone models have the identifiers A2595, A2783, and A2784, while the unreleased iPad models have the identifiers A2588, A2589, ...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...
google drive for desktop1

Google to Roll Out New 'Drive for Desktop' App in the Coming Weeks, Replacing Backup & Sync and Drive File Stream Clients

Tuesday July 13, 2021 1:18 am PDT by
Earlier this year, Google announced that it planned to unify its Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync apps into a single Google Drive for desktop app. The company now says the new sync client will roll out "in the coming weeks" and has released additional information about what users can expect from the transition. To recap, there are currently two desktop sync solutions for using Google...
apple amsterdam

Apple Issues Statement Following Resolved Hostage Situation At Amsterdam Store

Wednesday February 23, 2022 4:30 am PST by
Apple has praised Dutch police as well as customers and staff at an Amsterdam store where a hostage situation yesterday came to a close with no injuries to the public and the suspect detained in custody. In a statement obtained by TechCrunch, Apple said that all employees and customers are safe after the "terrifying experience" at Apple Amsterdam in Leidseplein on Tuesday. "We want to thank ...

Popular Stories

ios 16 lock screen feature

What to Expect From Apple Through July: iOS 16 Public Beta, New MacBook Air, Back to School Promotion, and More

Monday June 20, 2022 4:39 pm PDT by
While the summer months following WWDC are often a relatively quiet time of the year for Apple, there are still some notable items on the agenda through July. Below, we've rounded up six things to expect from Apple over the next six weeks or so. Public Betas of iOS 16 and More As part of WWDC 2022, Apple announced that public betas of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, watchOS 9, tvOS 16,...
Shazam Music Recognition Control Center

iPhone's Built-In Music Recognition Feature Syncs With Shazam App on iOS 16

Tuesday June 21, 2022 7:37 am PDT by
Since the release of iOS 14.2 in 2020, the iPhone has included a built-in Music Recognition feature in Control Center powered by Shazam. And with iOS 16, and also the iOS 15.6 beta, the feature has received a small but useful upgrade. As noted by Twitter user @someone_andrew, songs identified with Music Recognition in Control Center finally sync with the Shazam app. It also remains...
home app ios 16

Apple Confirms iPad Will No Longer Be Supported as a Home Hub in iOS 16

Wednesday June 22, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
The iPad will no longer be able to be used as a home hub following the launch of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS Ventura, and the HomePod 16 software this fall, Apple confirmed today. As discovered in iOS 16 code by MacRumors contributor Steve Moser, Apple says that the iPad will no longer be supported as a home hub. This information will be displayed in the Home app after updating to iOS 16.A home ...
customize wallpaper setting ios 16

iOS 16 Beta 2 Tidbits: New Wallpaper Colors, Backup Over LTE, SMS Filtering and More

Wednesday June 22, 2022 2:16 pm PDT by
Apple today seeded the second betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to developers for testing purposes, and the new betas introduce new features and refine some of the changes that Apple made with the first iOS 16 release. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Lock Screen Photo Wallpaper Customization When customizing a photo on the Lock Screen, there are two new DuoTone and...
apple ar headset concept 2

Apple CEO Tim Cook Hints at AR/VR Headset: 'Stay Tuned and You'll See What We Have to Offer'

Wednesday June 22, 2022 6:34 pm PDT by
CEO Tim Cook this week did an interview with China Daily, where he once again commented on on the future of augmented reality and hinted at Apple's work on an AR/VR headset. Render via designer Ian Zelbo Cook said that Apple is excited about the opportunities available with augmented reality, which is not too far off from prior comments that he's made, but he went on to say that people should ...
ios 16 lock screen feature2

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 to Developers

Wednesday June 22, 2022 10:07 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming two weeks after Apple unveiled the new software at WWDC and released the initial betas. Registered developers can download the iOS and iPadOS 16 profiles from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, the betas will be available over the air. Given...
apple back to school

Apple Said to Launch 2022 Back to School Promotion on Friday, Might Offer Gift Cards Instead of Free AirPods

Tuesday June 21, 2022 8:27 am PDT by
Apple plans to launch its annual Back to School promotion in the United States on Friday, coinciding with the launch of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In a tweet, Gurman said Apple may offer a gift card with the purchase of an eligible Mac or iPad, rather than free AirPods like last year. UPDATE: Apple has launched its 2022 Back to School...
12S HiRise3 LS15 HiRes

Twelve South Launches New 'HiRise 3' Charger for iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods

Tuesday June 21, 2022 6:03 am PDT by
Twelve South today announced the "HiRise 3" stand charger for iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods, priced at $99.99. The stand supports MagSafe-compatible charging and holds an iPhone 12 or later vertically, and also includes a charging puck for Apple Watch and a Qi charging mat on the base that supports AirPods or any Qi-compatible smartphone. The HiRise 3 is available in black and white color ...