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

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.

OneDrive
In an update to its original blog post introducing this aspect of its new "Files On-Demand Experience," Microsoft has now responded to these concerns by explaining that the first version of Files On-Demand is built on several pieces of technology that are now deprecated by Apple in 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. On the question of whether this has introduced a technical reason for why Files On-Demand must always be enabled, Microsoft touts the benefits of OneDrive's new dependency on Apple's File Provider platform, including the resolution of compatibility issues, and how that has factored into its controversial decision to enforce its Files On-Demand feature:

Files On-Demand has been available on Windows since 2017, and on macOS since 2018. In that time, we've progressed from the feature being opt-in only to being on by default for all users and have closely monitored how many users turn off Files On-Demand. Only a very small number of users disable Files On-Demand on both platforms, and there are two main reasons for that.

When Files On-Demand first shipped on Windows, some applications didn't work well with the way we stored files, or with anti-virus or other security software that was installed. Over time, we've fixed most of these problems. On macOS, we took a similarly cautious approach, but the application compatibility landscape is quite different and, in some ways, less complex. Still, there were a few cases where, due to the technology stack we were using on macOS, it made sense for certain users to disable Files On-Demand to preserve compatibility. With the File Provider platform, these problems have gone away, so application compatibility issues on macOS should be much less likely to occur. If you find something different with your setup, please reach out to your support contact so we can diagnose the issue.

Despite its rationale for enforcing Files On-Demand, Microsoft acknowledges that keeping all content locally on devices is "an important scenario for a small set of users," and says the best way to do this is to select Always Keep on This Device to mark content as pinned. "If you want all files synced on your device, you should pin the OneDrive folder," says Microsoft.

Users can do this by browsing to their OneDrive in Finder, changing the view to Icons view, and then right-clicking the blank space between icons and selecting Always Keep on This Device. "We're actively looking at ways to make this easier to configure on both macOS and Windows," adds Microsoft.

macOS Pin the Root 2
In addition, Microsoft offers an explanation for why some users have experienced slowdowns when browsing folders in OneDrive:

"To save space and system resources, the File Provider platform doesn't actually create the files OneDrive is managing until the first time you need them. The first time you open a OneDrive folder, macOS will create them on-demand. This can sometimes take a moment.

"To avoid this delay, you can force the system to pre-create all of these files and folders for you without downloading your content. To do this, open a Terminal window and type "ls -alR ~/OneDrive" (or the path to your OneDrive). This will ensure all of your files and folders are created, but not downloaded, before you browse.

"Finally, it is important to note that beginning in macOS 12.3, File Provider is the only Files On-Demand solution that is supported on macOS. Our prior solution is no longer supported."

Microsoft says it is aware of users experiencing issues with AutoSave when using the App Store version of the OneDrive app and it is actively working to resolve the issue in the next few days.

In the meantime, users who can't wait until then can move to the Standalone build of OneDrive by unlinking their account, uninstalling the ‌App Store‌ version, and reinstalling the Standalone version [Direct Link].

Are you happy with Microsoft's explanation for enforcing the Files On-Demand setting? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Update 2/4/22: Microsoft recently updated the blog to confirm the AutoSave issue has been fixed: "The fix for AutoSave for the ‌App Store‌ version was released in the Store today. It is fixed with 22.002.0201.0005."

Top Rated Comments

ahostmadsen Avatar
21 weeks ago
Files on demand is probably the worst, most exploitive idea ever. NEVER use files on demand. Why?

1. You no longer own your own files. You lease it from your cloud provider.
2. You are totally dependent on your cloud provider. If they have a technical problem, go out of business etc. you loose everything.
3. You have no backup of your files.
4. If you buy a HD that cannot hold all your files, it's very hard to move from one cloud provider to another.
5. You cannot use your files without an internet connection.
6. etc.

So, of course cloud providers love files on demand. But for users it's a disaster. It's like peeing in your pants: at first it's nice warm (you save money on local HDD), but in the end it will become a disaster.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contraband Avatar
21 weeks ago

Why doesn't apple make their own onedrive service... or rent out more icloud storage on googles servers. God forbid a computer company spin up some servers for their users.
The fact that you are asking for Apple to make a OneDrive-like service just shows how unsuccessful iCloud Drive is.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Aaron Priven Avatar
21 weeks ago
The problem is not that Microsoft switched to Apple's new back-end system. The problem is that instead of saying "oh, you currently have files-on-demand turned off, we'll set all your root folders to have 'Always store on this device' turned on", they said "oh, you currently have files-on-demand turned off, we'll turn it on without asking you."
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tritian Avatar
21 weeks ago
Short version:

"We changed a default setting awhile ago. Most people either
A) Hated it but were too lazy to see if the behavior could be changed
B) Didn't know how to change it
C) Didn't notice

So we are keeping it because most of our users are too dumb to understand what we are doing to them. Smart vocal users are the minority so we can do whatever we want."
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Uln4321 Avatar
21 weeks ago

Files on demand is probably the worst, most exploitive idea ever. NEVER use files on demand. Why?

1. You no longer own your own files. You lease it from your cloud provider.
2. You are totally dependent on your cloud provider. If they have a technical problem, go out of business etc. you loose everything.
3. You have no backup of your files.
4. If you buy a HD that cannot hold all your files, it's very hard to move from one cloud provider to another.
5. You cannot use your files without an internet connection.
6. etc.

So, of course cloud providers love files on demand. But for users it's a disaster. It's like peeing in your pants: at first it's nice warm (you save money on local HDD), but in the end it will become a disaster.
This! ^ backing up files on external drives is nearly impossible with all these on demand options.

Edit: Looks like its a little easer than I thought. You can select all and download all at once. The only issue I have is new files added on other computers are going to have to be manually downloaded each time.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
David Harris Avatar
21 weeks ago
This has been an atrocious update that cannot be reversed or downgraded. I travel regularly and have 650Gb and 300k files from customers and projects that I MUST have access to at all times, and be able to Index and Search (impossible with cloud files. Yes, I'm a heavy user.

I have however found a slight 'fix' to this 'offline' debacle. I first did this - 'open a Terminal window and type "ls - alR ~/OneDrive" (or the path to your OneDrive)' and then clicked the Cloud icon of the folder to fix. Then in Finder sitting at an unexpanded OneDrive root folder, press Option/Right Arrow. This fully expands the subfolder tree, and this initially seemed to 'work', in that after a number of hours I finally I got an accurate folder total size.

The only issue - files subsequently copied into the folder are reverted back to 'On Demand'. It seems this is in fact intended behaviour by Microsoft. So no real fix at all.

I well recall when Apple gave the middle finger to Pro a few years back users its Mac range slipped to single figures, my close friend took direct part in subsequent QA discussions and Apple reversed course. My IT company in Melb. AU sold almost 10yrs ago had well over 4k SMB and Mid customers over 25yrs and it's people like those on this forum and I who are the influencers of many - I've been inundated with queries and so far I'm saying sit tight.

That said, I've watched closely the replies above from MS Team @Ankita Kirti ('https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/33934') @Jack Nichols ('https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/192452') @gacarini ('https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/254664') @Carter_MSFT ('https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/user/viewprofilepage/user-id/312836') and it seems there is silence on whether 'On Demand' is here to stay, and local or offline files gone. I sincerely hope that's not the case, however if it is then this is moving into Class Action territory and/or Consequential Damages for any prolonged outage or God forbid if data is lost. Not me, but I can fore-see where this might go.

I get it that MS want sticky customers, who doesn't - but this is not the way to do it.!!!

Taking away MY RIGHT to use and backup MY DATA on MY DEVICES is egregious and unconscionable, and arrogant beyond belief.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

OneDrive

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

Tuesday February 1, 2022 4:45 am PST by
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. 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 ...
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, ...
powerdir exploit microsoft

Microsoft Discovered New 'Powerdir' macOS Vulnerability, Fixed in 12.1 Update

Monday January 10, 2022 9:17 am PST by
Microsoft's 365 Defender Research Team this morning published details on a new "Powerdir" macOS vulnerability that let an attacker bypass the Transparency, Consent, and Control technology to gain unauthorized access to protected data. Apple already addressed the CVE-2021-30970 vulnerability in the macOS Monterey 12.1 update that was released in December, so users who have updated to the...
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 ...
windows 11 3

Microsoft Releases Windows 11, Mac Virtualization Support Still Seems Unlikely

Tuesday October 5, 2021 4:34 am PDT by
Following three months of beta testing, Microsoft has officially released Windows 11, which brings a new design, new multitasking features, and other software additions to the PC-using public. Perhaps inspired by macOS, the main Windows 11 screen features rounded corners on several interface elements including application windows, and in combination with a new theming system that combines...
tim cook spring loaded event

Apple Files New Macs in Regulatory Database Ahead of Rumored Spring Event

Monday February 14, 2022 1:20 am PST by
Apple has filed three new unreleased Mac computers in the Eurasian Economic Database ahead of when the company is expected to hold a rumored Spring event on or around March 8, as first spotted by Consomac. The three new Macs, listed with model numbers A2615, A2686, and A2681, are all listed as running macOS Monterey, but no other details including the specific model of the computers are...
telegram

Telegram Messenger Gains Download Manager, New Attachment Menu, and More

Friday March 11, 2022 3:24 am PST by
Telegram Messenger has updated its iPhone and iPad app with several new features, including a new download manager, redesigned attachment menu, support for live streaming with third-party apps, and more. Telegram users are able to send files of any type up to 2GB each and access them from any device, with no limit on cloud storage, which has made downloading files more popular on the...
24 inch imac and macbook monterey

Users Report External Monitor Issues After Updating to macOS Monterey 12.3

Thursday March 24, 2022 3:43 am PDT by
Following the latest macOS Monterey 12.3 update, users are reporting several problems when using external monitors, ranging from Macs not detecting displays at all to inaccurate screen output, according to posts on the Apple Support and MacRumors forums. In the ten days since the update became available to the public, users have already reported issues with the update bricking Macs that...

Popular Stories

macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
top stories 2jul2022

Top Stories: M2 MacBook Air Release Date, New HomePod Rumor, and More

Saturday July 2, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The M2 MacBook Pro has started making its way into customers' hands and we're learning more about how it performs in a variety of situations, but all eyes are really on the upcoming M2 MacBook Air which has seen a complete redesign and should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Other top stories this week included a host of product rumors including additional M2 and even M3 Macs, an updated...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
rootbug

Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - How to Fix [Updated]

Tuesday November 28, 2017 12:33 pm PST by
There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check. The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username "root" with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login...