Cloudy with a Chance of Insanity: Unsticking iCloud Drive

A recent article in The Eclectic Light Company seems to speculate that syncing problems may have been fixed by using FileProvider for iCloud:

We need to do more work to discover how iCloud Drive now functions as a FileProvider in Sonoma, and whether this might finally resolve its longstanding problems with choked syncing.


Sync has been terrible on Mac for decades.
I have never gotten my iPhone to sync right with my Mac. Whatever it was called back in the 1990s or whenever it first started…
Also, if I take a picture with my iPhone, it does not sync reliably, or at all, to iCloud or, the Mac does not detect it. The idea being when I take a picture with my phone, I want to then go Photos and open it, edit it, and attach it. Nope. Most of the time, nothing. Nothing gets it syncing. Then minutes later or hours later or days later or never, it finally syncs.
Sync has been terrible on Mac for decades.

Apparently iCloud does throttle syncing

Note that article only confirms throttling in iCloud Kit, not iCloud Drive. Howard attempts to make it very clear, but judging by the comments there, some folks still don’t get it.

iCloud consists of two main services: iCloud Drive to sync files stored locally and in its cloud storage, and data syncing for apps that share databases in iCloud and use CloudKit to manage their shared data. Those who are paying Apple princely sums each month to store files in terabytes of iCloud Drive will be relieved to know that this throttling doesn’t appear to involve iCloud Drive at all, although that does of course have a storage quota enforced. Throttling only affects shared data that relies on CloudKit.

Howard’s latest article on iCloud indicates that it’s not always one or the other; sometimes both iCloud Kit and iCloud Drive are involved:

Photos libraries … appear to sit between iCloud Drive, providing the storage for images and other files within the Photos library, and the database inside that library, which could be accessed via CloudKit.

Either way, it’s not terribly reassuring. Two of my favourite apps are lire and Downcast, and both have been hit by throttling in CloudKit. They both tried using document sync in the past, with predictable consequences.

I wish Apple would get this right, because it’s obvious that your iCloud account is absolutely the right place to store sync data for the apps you use which just need cross-device syncing. Otherwise people will have to keep signing up for accounts to do the simplest things, like sync your read/unread or played/unplayed statuses, which is silly.