.icloud extensions on placeholder files

Hi - everytime I start my mac, it creates another set of placeholders adding a “.” in the name string and a “.icloud” at the end.

e.g If i have a file called Calculus.pdf in one folder, i also have

and so on. Pls note the first extension is .cloud and after that is .icloud

I am unable to delete these placeholders after a certain number of “.” have been appendedand dont know how to clean up the whole directory structure. Please help.

Thanks very much for the help in advance !!

Hi @sameer.baya,
the .icloud extension is created by Apple’s iCloud product. It is a bit notorious for not interacting well with other applications.

It sounds like you may have a folder or folders that are being synced by odrive, but also being scanned/synced by icloud.

I’m not sure why icloud is adding multiple extensions, but you can turn off icloud’s storage optimization, which will prevent it from creating these icloud files, at least. Ideally you will want to configure things so that you are not using both odrive and icloud on the same data.

To turn off the creation of .cloud files:

  • Go to ‘System Preferences’ on your Mac and click on ‘iCloud’.
  • Click on ‘Options…’ to the right of the ‘iCloud Drive’ item.
  • In here you can see what is currently setup. The ‘Desktop and Documents Folders’ is most-likely checked and indicates that iCloud is syncing those items to your iCloud storage.
  • At the bottom of this window is the ‘Optimize Mac Storage’ option. This is what controls the creation of the .icloud files. Uncheck this option to prevent the creation of .icloud files.

Hi - thanks for the help. I tried the solution above. However, after that i could not sync any files - the sync, unsync options etc vanished from the ricght click menu. Once I reversed the steps, they appeared again and i could sync files as required.


Hi @sameer.baya,
It is possible that performing the steps caused MacOS to reset its Finder extensions, which may require an odrive restart to fix.

Are you still seeing the files with many .icloud extensions?

Hi @Tony - I did everything as suggested and restart odrive after deleting all the .icloud files . However on restart the .icloud extensions started building up again. Noticed the odrive was autosyncing - and then went to odrive on the web and saw all the problematic placeholders exist there. Is there a way to search and delete those files? deleting individually would take years.

Please help.

Hi @sameer.baya,
The .icloud files are created by Apple iCloud, so we won’t be able to prevent those from being created.

Can you take a screenshot of what you see in your icloud drive settings after following these two steps?

  1. Go to ‘System Preferences’ on your Mac and click on ‘iCloud’.
  2. Click on ‘Options…’ to the right of the ‘iCloud Drive’ item.

I think we need to stop these files from being created before we try any cleanup, to make sure we are not deleting files we shouldn’t.

Can you also send a diagnostic from the odrive menu so I can take a look?

Hi Tony - have sent the diagnostics using odrive - pls let me know if there is another way to do so. Also uploading a screenshot of how the icloud preferences are now.

hope this helps with getting to the root of the problem.

Thanks very much!

Thanks @sameer.baya,
You definitely have a lot of these files sitting in the odrive trash. We can empty the odrive trash, which will delete these files remotely and should help clean things up, then we can see what we are left with.

Since there are so many files, I suggest using the CLI to do the emptying of the trash. Please take a look at this post and let me know if you have any questions:

Hi Tony - emptied the trash using CLI - now I have 5000+ items Waiting (on the odrive menu). Also logged into Odrive using web-login. I still see a lot of the .icloud files in my directories online, but not on my computer. how do I get rid of the files online please.

thanks very much

Hi @sameer.baya,
Can you send another diagnostic so I can take a closer look?

Hi Tony - Sent just now.

Hi @sameer.baya,
Since these files all seem to be syncing to Google Drive accounts, let’s try some cleanup on the Google Drive side.

  • Login to the Google Drive account on the web (drive.google.com) and type this in the search bar: title:.icloud and hit enter. This will search for all .icloud files.
  • You can then scroll through the list until it has loaded all of those files. (Google Drive lazily loads the file listing, so you may have to scroll down for a bit to get everything to load).
  • Once you reach the bottom, press crtl + a to select all. At the bottom you will see a message that says “x selected” where x is the number of files you now have selected. The number should be pretty large.
  • With all of the .icloud files selected, right-click somewhere on the selection and choose “Remove”. This will trash all of those items.