[Solved] iCloud Drive migration  



I have two Macs sharing a common iCloud login and iCloud Drive.

I have a large folder of files on an external SSD that I would like to be in iCloud Drive AND downloaded to both Macs.

I don't want to use double-bandwidth. That is, (1) to put in iCloud Drive on Mac1 and have it upload. (2) to download it from iCloudDrive to Mac2.

Instead I would like to copy the folder via the Finder to the iCloud Drive folder on both Macs, perhaps to Mac1 first and allowing it to upload, and then via the Finder to Mac2 and hope iCloud Drive will recognize it's presence on Mac2 and avoid the download needed by (2) above.

Will this work? Any caveats? ( It must be a common situation. Getting a new Mac has blasted my Comcast monthly limit. But Comcast limits and so on are not the question.)




I know exactly what you are looking to do. The feature you are looking for is called LAN Sync and that is something that Dropbox has that iCloud Drive does not. Yes, it is a problem with companies like Comcast that are stingy with bandwidth and does slow down setting up new computers but for now it really is the only supported way to do this.


I wonder if macOS's Content Caching would cache this kind of data, too?



It might but the problem is that unless macOS supports LAN Sync directly you are risking ending up with multiple copies of the files and that will be a lot bigger of a problem to deal with then just letting it run and sort itself out on its own or signing up for Dropbox and using that.

well, that's the point of Content Caching... it stores locally on one Mac and then any other devices (iOS or macOS) get the content from there vs. the cloud.



That's true. But you are assuming that there is not a list or database that keeps track of what files have already been synced and what ones still need to be synced that is kept independent of the actual files. So by manually copying the files from system to system you would not be updating the database that is used to tell the system what files need to be synced. Now if there was a way to force that database to be updated then you could manually copy the files across.


I just know that iCloud Drive is still a bit buggy at times and it is best to let it handle things for now. Like I said above, if you want to use LAN Sync, the best thing to do is to sign up for a paid Dropbox account and be done with it.

Fair point. It's been a while since I actively monitored Dropbox's LAN Sync, but I remember it wasn't perfect, suffering from exactly the things you describe. 



Yes. DropBox's LAN Sync is not perfect but I have been able to get it to work the way that pnielan is looking to do as I have done migrations and upgrades for clients where I moved the whole DropBox folder structure from one computer to another (even cross platform).

This all works partly because Dropbox is an app that can be closed down on the target (new) computer while I copy the files over and then started back up. It is smart enough to then go through the files and folders to match up the manifest list of what is there versus what it sees on the DropBox server and be smart enough to not copy anything that is already there.

Of course this is why doing file syncing is hard and why DropBox is one of the best at doing it and why they should have sold to Apple when Steve Jobs (RIP) asked. Of course maybe Apple was not offering enough money and I can see that happening. But still, it would be a great thing for them to have now as they have had to learn some hard lessons on how to do syncing right with iCloud Drive and Photos. Something that they still have a bit more work to do as I am sure you have also seen your clients upload bandwidth get killed when they start a fresh new upload to iCloud Photos from a library with 100's of Gig's of photos.