How to use Optimized Storage in macOS Sierra

“Apple’s laptops rely on flash storage, and prices really shoot up if you want more local storage (the actual storage in your computer) — if the model you want offers an upgrade in the first place,” Roman Loyola writes for Macworld.

“The new Optimized Storage feature in macOS Sierra is designed to help free up precious storage space on your Mac,” Loyola writes. “Optimized Storage requires iCloud, Apple’s online service.”

“Apple provides 5GB of free iCloud Drive storage per Apple ID, so you may want more to take full advantage of Optimized Storage,” Loyola writes. “iCloud storage pricing as as follows: 5GB for free; 50GB for $1 per month; 200GB for $3 per month; 1TB for $10 per month.”

Full instructions on how to use Optimized Storage in macOS Sierra here.

MacDailyNews Take: If we only had a nickel for every time we’ve emptied the Trash on our parents’ Macs.

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  1. 5 GB per Apple ID is pathetic, because it doesn’t reward you in any way for buying more Apple gear. In fact it makes you have to pay more to, for example, back them all up to iCloud.

    1. Your post is more than a bit extreme, trondude. But your point is valid – Apple has always charged a hefty premium for RAM and storage upgrades. In the old days, I bought third party products and saved a lot of money. That is no longer possible for many current Apple products.

      Still, my old iMac has lasted nine years and the only things that I have done to it are immediately adding RAM after I bought it and, years later, swapping in a 2TB HDD for the 500 GB OEM unit. Not bad, even considering Apple’s premium.

    2. Apple memory & Apple SSD = consumer rape

      It really shouldn’t cost $600 to go from a 128 gigabyte Solid State Drive to a 512 gigabyte Solid State Drive at the factory. I could see them charging $100-300, but $600 just isn’t fair. And since Apple’s soldering the RAM in, they should only charge an extra 20% for RAM, so a 16 gigabyte RAM upgrade would cost $100, not $200.

  2. Optimize Storage sucks in many situations. What’s still needed is the ability to Selective Sync, which every other cloud service provides and even Apple does with iTunes and Photos.

  3. If we move out files and photos from our Mac to iCloud (‘Store in iCloud’), how are we supposed to back them up? This is entirely contrary to The #1 Rule of Computing: Make A Backup!

    ∑ = Great concern on my part. (0_0)

  4. mossman, trondude, you guys are both correct.

    iCloud sure isn’t a Mac selling feature. After you get raped by Apple on hard drive and RAM pricing, do you really think anyone wants to spend a fortune renting overpriced server space from Apple?

    Obviously Cook made the decision that subscription-based computing is the way he wants to compete against MS and Google, which are essentially forcing the same thin-client computing model. iCloud to Apple is like Windows to Microsoft, all they can do is force all users to have it whether it is the best solution or not. Here are the obvious problems to Cook’s strategy:

    1. Eddy Cue & managers are too distracted and he has no clue what Mac users need.

    2. local storage and local network storage are better for most Mac users. Thunderbolt is better than WiFi to someone else’s server for daily work. For backups, your secure server is better than WiFi to someone else’s server. That will never change. Despite all computer makers pushing subscriptions under different guises, many PC and Mac users are smart enough to not rely on anyone’s Cloud, or they rely on superior data hosting solutions.

    3. Apple isn’t besting the Cloud competition. iCloud is neither better nor cheaper than the other consumer clouds; it offers no guarantee of data integrity, privacy, or availability. How can it be when Apple actually rents its servers from Google, Amazon, etc?

    4. iCloud usability is often s-l-o-w and not super reliable. It’s too complicated for Apple Geniuses, let alone users, to fix the myriad of possible problems. It’s a non starter for businesses and critical data, and it’s a pain if you do not spend your life tethered to an internet connection.

    5. No way to scale = no way to be cost competitive. Estimates put the Mac user iCloud adoption rate at less than 10% and iCloud earnings a very small fraction of the “Other” profits that Apple reports. And it will never grow if it can’t be easily accessed from PCs and Linux workstations, which is the vast majority of computer users (even Apple aficionados are multi-plaform users by necessity). What is Apple going to do? Apple can’t justify more investment in Mac specific iCloud features and they can’t drop prices without losing money renting server space from Amazon et al. If Apple moves Mac parts of the iCloud in house, it’s a too late, it will never grow to the scale of multi-platform capable clouds. Of course, insecure datamining companies will always offer the cheapest price no matter what Apple does. But the bottom line is that Apple has no premium or professional iCloud solution or way to attract Linux or Windows users. Cook can’t figure out what to do. If the Cloud was a big money maker, iCloud would have been hosted by Apple from the beginning or Apple would have bought out a major player. Neither has happened. iCloud has no realistic plan to improve, at least not for Mac users.

    6. Macs are not iOS gadgets. Forced iOS reliance on iCloud works because Apple TV, watches, iPads and iPhones are inherently thin clients designed primarily for consumption, not significant data creation and multi-platform collaboration. iOS devices intentionally lack local memory and easy local external storage connectivity, plus the nonexistent file system. Go ahead and try to take a long 4K video on your iPhone and share it with your Linux friends — it’s way harder than it has to be. Macs on the other hand have Thunderbolt and much better file management that eliminates the need for someone else to be a Cloud. For production, iOS workflow is almost always more tedious and slower than on a Mac.

    7. It’s not value added to have your Mac and your iPhone both buzz at the same time for a notification that isn’t pertinent to the task you are trying to do on your Mac. That’s not added value to the Mac owner. Annoyances, actually.

    8. To a developer, iCloud is a nightmare of crappy code. Nothing more needs to be said there.

    9. Legacy Mac users aren’t impressed with iCloud operation. even if they just want to use it to manage lightweight stuff like calendars and music, iCloud like Mobile Me and other attempted Apple services before it fails often. At some point one just doesn’t trust it to sync. Some new users will just use whatever default settings and apps are pre-installed, but most Mac users are savvy enough to find better ways to work that they can understand and control, especially after they’ve been burnt by an Apple iCloud issue.

    10. While Apple pushes shit like Handoff, new Mac users are stuggling to see the value benefit. Most people just want to do the task as fast as possible with the fewest number of devices as possible. Instead, Apple thinks that people are rich and patient enough to try to manage 3 or 4 or more devices. Apple is just wrong, nobody in the real world wants gadget redundancy.

    11. Price. This is a huge reason that iPad sales plateaued — they just don’t offer better value than a Mac for most people. Those who claim iPads are as fast as Macs are smoking something bad for their brains. Even as Apple takes its eye off the ball with Mac improvements, Macs still dominate productivity uses. The travelers and managers who don’t need a full computer and are willing to submit their data to someone else’s cloud are a minority. They are more productive on a Mac and they have no reason not to seek 3rd party alternatives to the iCloud. For some, Apple’s stance on Mac pricing makes it more likely that they will avoid the iCloud. Producing sealed thin Macs and overcharging for storage memory & RAM pisses off Mac users, it doesn’t sell more iCloud accounts. Once a person blows his wad on Apple RAM, do you think he’s going to pay through the nose for online storage too?

    12. iCloud-focused apps suck. Software that pushes subscriptions is a turn-off. Once a Mac user could enjoy shareware, limited time trials, or other options. Now Apple is in bed with MS promoting “software as a service”, and of course iCloud storage is the core of that strategy. Every other trick to push subscription based computing has failed, so storing your data is all Apple can think to do to extract your money. It is no a coincidence that this started just about the time Cook merged OS X and iOS groups. Suddenly Mac updates became just rushed desktop implementations of leftover iOS features. They often don’t work efficiently on a large desktop and certainly don’t improve the user experience. In 2009 Mac apps were almost all rock solid, since then the problem reports have jumped and Mac software reviews have plummeted. Now bloat and hiding things like iOS does is the order of the day. So if this is the new Apple, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that people no longer trust iCloud any more than they trust dumbed-down Mac freebie software. Just like much of the new software, iCloud got slower, more convoluted, and harder to troubleshoot. Real user controls to sync stuff between devices isn’t even present. iOS has no idea how to work with files that need to be opened with different programs. It’s no wonder Cook has to give away software, he couldn’t even sell his dumbed down Mac software if he wanted to. To underscore how much Mac software development has been trumped by iOS, look at the Mac app store. Not unlike iOS, It is an embarrassment that doesn’t allow for intelligent multi-parameter searching or user control. With that level of attention to Mac software, it’s no surprise that people don’t trust iCloud to work reliably.

    Where do we go from here? There is no indication that Cook will ever do anything to support improvements in personal computing on a Mac. Cook’s intentional decision to slow Mac improvements does nothing to entice Mac users to rent additional storage from Apple.

    At this rate, I would be very happy if Apple canned Cook and replaced him with a leader that still understood the needs of personal computing. Make iCloud an optional service, not a feature baked into every OS and every app.

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