I can't delete my iMacs Documents from iCloud


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My family iCloud of 200 GB is full, and I can't back up my iPhone to it. I just got a new iPhone with twice as much memory as my old one, but it should be using the same amount as before.

So on my Catalina iMac, I went to "System Preference/Apple ID/iCloud/iCloud Drive/Options" and unchecked everything except "Mail.app" and "System Preference.app". I went to "System Preference/Apple ID/iCloud/" and unchecked "Photos". But my iCloud still shows 54.46 GB used by my documents.

Going to Finder, I see there are folders in my iCloud named Documents & Desktop. If I trash them, they come back.

I tried going to https://www.icloud.com/iclouddrive/, and I can trash them there as well. But they come back. If I select "Recently Deleted" on that screen, it finds no items.

I finally tried selecting the desktop folder in my iCloud and hit option-command-delete (the keyboard delete), and the folder disappeared, leaving the couple of documents on my desktop. After a few minutes https://www.icloud.com/iclouddrive/ lost the desktop folder, so I tried with my documents folder. That took a half-hour before it disappeared. "Recently Deleted" still is empty.

But when I look at iCloud storage, I still see 53.07 GB being used by documents.

What do I do next to free up the space I need?
 
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Cory Cooper

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Hi,

As always, it is best to have a current Time Machine or other backup of your Mac - which I believe you do.

Even though the new iPhone is storing the same amount of data as your previous iPhone, iCloud sees them as separate devices and creates separate backups for them, which takes up more iCloud storage space.

If you have all of your data moved to the new iPhone, you could look at: Remove a device backup from iCloud. Removing iCloud backups of devices you no longer use should clear up some iCloud storage space.

Manage your iCloud storage

As we have discussed, I only use iCloud for syncing a few things: contacts, calendars, Safari bookmarks, and manually added files to folders I made. I don't use it for Desktop & Documents, Photos, or iOS device backups. So, I don't have a lot of recommendations or experience with the iCloud sync setup most folks use, or use Family Sharing.

C
 
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A day later, my iCloud space freed up. I guess there's a delay. I don't know whether the option-command-delete was necessary, but apparently waiting a day was. I like belts and suspenders for IOS device backups, both on the cloud and on my Mac. I do Mac backups by hand often and occasionally rename old Mac backups.

I gave up on having my photos library on the cloud. On my IOS device, I have "Shared Albums" and "My Photo Stream" turned on, but nothing else on.

I forgot to rename my iPhone. I see two iPhone backups on iCloud with the old name, one from last week that is 33.8 GB, and one just now which is 4.5 GB. Odd. I will delete them both along with an iPad backup from last year.

Thanks.
 
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Hmm, I couldn't delete them from my Mac, but could from my phone. I deleted them all and will start over.
 

Cory Cooper

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Hi,

OK, sounds good. Yes, there must be a delay before it updates the storage figure.

Let us know how it goes.

C
 
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Lots of space now. I had no idea that I've been carrying around backups of old hardware even though the software had been migrated to new devices.
 
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