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MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Helpful | Level 5

So I don't think I'm the first to ask this, but I don't see any real solutions, so here goes...

I have 2016 MacBook Pro 13" 250GB which is now showing storage issues.

For example, one of the documents in the Large File report shows a PSD file at 827MB - this file is an 'online-only' file. Looking at it in Finder and requesting the File Info and sure enough, Finder reports it as 827MB. EVERY Dropbox folder with 'online-only' content is included in the physical storage report to the point where I have to exclude folders in my sync preferences as the only way to free space - not what I thought this feature was supposed to deliver in user experience?

So what do I have to do to 'free' space in a way my Mac can really use?

FYI this is not a recent file waiting for some sort of memory snap-shot to exclude.

1 Accepted Solution

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Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Thanks for the swift and elaborate response @thefc - most appreciated.

First off, thanks for using our BETA versions - I guess you've opted in "early releases" on your Dropbox account, right? 

[Kindly note that as beta builds are still in the testing process, you could experience some issues or an inconsistent experience.]

Now, as per the matter at hand, from what I see in your last screenshot this specific file is physically taking up no space (i.e. this is what the "Zero bytes on disk" means). Read on for more context:

As there are various places to see the size of a file in Finder, it's good to know that some of these locations will display the logical size, others the physical size. A Smart Sync placeholder takes up approximately 0kb, this is the pysical size. The logical size of the file is the actual size of the file, if it were downloaded to the device (the size reported through your "Large File Report" is the physical size of the file). 

To see both the logical and physical file size:
- Right click on a file/folder
- Select 'Get info'
- In the properties window you will see the original file size, followed by the actual on-disk size:

For example:428,510 bytes (0 KB on disk) 

It is important to be able to view both sizes, not just to reassure you that the file is not taking up space, but also to understand the space and speed implications of returning the file(s).

In other views of Finder, the operating system will report the logical size. For this reason you shouldn't be concerned if it initially appears that the placeholder is taking up space. To confirm the file or folder is not taking up space, please check via the above steps. Files that are not taking up space on disk will have an icon overlay that changes from the usual green tick to the grey cloud icon, denoting that the file isn't locally present.

Please note that third party disk management software may not read the physical size of a Smart Sync placeholder, therefore that software may not correctly report disk usage.

I hope this inforrmation helps and please let me know if there's anything else I can do.



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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View solution in original post

22 Replies 22

Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Hey there @thefc - sorry to hear about this. Do you the "Online Only" icon on this specific file to begin with?

Could you share a screenshot of where you located the space discrepancy as well?

Also, can you let me know which version of our app are you running (our latest stable version is 61.4.95) and what it reports at the moment (meaning, is it up to date or still synicng changes)? 

Thanks in advance for your reply and cooperation on this one!



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Helpful | Level 5

Hi Walter

The version on my Mac is v62.3.93

Below are two screenshots - the first from the storage report of the Mac showing large files to declutter - the top file is 828MB

Screenshot 2018-11-09 09.06.35.pngAnd below the second image of the actual folder where the file is located on the Mac showing the online-only icon (it's the last one on the list)...

Screenshot 2018-11-09 09.07.41.png

The issue is if you "CMD I" the file for information, the box shows the file size reported in the storage management list, but that it takes up no disk space as shown below...

Screenshot 2018-11-09 09.19.34.png

So what do you or anyone else think of this confusion between the MacOS and the Dropbox sync system?

Highlighted

Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Thanks for the swift and elaborate response @thefc - most appreciated.

First off, thanks for using our BETA versions - I guess you've opted in "early releases" on your Dropbox account, right? 

[Kindly note that as beta builds are still in the testing process, you could experience some issues or an inconsistent experience.]

Now, as per the matter at hand, from what I see in your last screenshot this specific file is physically taking up no space (i.e. this is what the "Zero bytes on disk" means). Read on for more context:

As there are various places to see the size of a file in Finder, it's good to know that some of these locations will display the logical size, others the physical size. A Smart Sync placeholder takes up approximately 0kb, this is the pysical size. The logical size of the file is the actual size of the file, if it were downloaded to the device (the size reported through your "Large File Report" is the physical size of the file). 

To see both the logical and physical file size:
- Right click on a file/folder
- Select 'Get info'
- In the properties window you will see the original file size, followed by the actual on-disk size:

For example:428,510 bytes (0 KB on disk) 

It is important to be able to view both sizes, not just to reassure you that the file is not taking up space, but also to understand the space and speed implications of returning the file(s).

In other views of Finder, the operating system will report the logical size. For this reason you shouldn't be concerned if it initially appears that the placeholder is taking up space. To confirm the file or folder is not taking up space, please check via the above steps. Files that are not taking up space on disk will have an icon overlay that changes from the usual green tick to the grey cloud icon, denoting that the file isn't locally present.

Please note that third party disk management software may not read the physical size of a Smart Sync placeholder, therefore that software may not correctly report disk usage.

I hope this inforrmation helps and please let me know if there's anything else I can do.



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


Heart Did this post help you? If so, please give it a Like below.
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View solution in original post

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Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Helpful | Level 5

Hi Walter

First of all thanks for the reply.

However, I think we're not talking about 'third-party' views of the Mac storage, we're talking about how Apples OS measures disk space.

My concern is how other applications such as Photoshop interact with the disk storage management system to know the free space available. The incorrect reporting based on the logical size in effect causes alerts that at best are irritating or worst prevent an application completing a task. This is also true of the OS as it was the MacOS that alerted me to the lack of logical space.

I'm guessing that there is no answer to this right now, but perhaps Dropbox could talk to Apple about how they manage what is effectively an 'alias'. I've just created one on another Mac of iMovie a 2.79GB application. The alias on my desktop shows both a logical and physical size of just 4k. Whilst I know this is acting more like a bookmark than potentially a locally stored file, it has no impact on my local storage.

Thanks again for your help and time in replying.

Stuart

Highlighted

Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

Thank you for your elaborate response Stuart (@thefc) - your feedback helps us improve our product so I'll make sure to pass your comments along to our dev team. 

If you have any additional feedback, don't hesitate to reach back out Stuart. 

Cheers!



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Explorer | Level 4

Hello Everyone, hello @thefc , here is a free (visual) solution I found to know exactly what space you still have. 

I've made a tutorial.

https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/Syncing-and-uploads/Smart-Sync-Solution-How-to-see-the-REAL-space/m-...

Cheers. 

Highlighted

Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Helpful | Level 5

Has there been any update on this? The issue is wreaking havoc on my Macbook Pro, as it's storage space is ~1/12th that of my iMac, but I have dropbox set up on both. 

I've set nearly all files to "online only" on the macbook pro, but am constantly getting warnings about storage space, and it seems to be affecting the performance of my laptop (perhaps a safety mechanism from the OS)?

Anyhow, it's very tiresome and wastes a lot of time for everyone on my team  -- would be keen to know if there has been a solution. 

Highlighted

Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

Dropboxer
Dropboxer

I'm sorry to hear you're also having issues with this @RaxAdaam.

This has been reported quite some time ago and you can find more about this here:

https://www.dropboxforum.com/t5/Files-folders/Smart-Sync-still-taking-up-local-space/m-p/359756

The solution would be to opt-in the 'Zero Size Placeholders' beta as detailed in the 'Accepted Solution' on the linked thread. 

I hope this helps and please keep me posted on your progress!



Walter
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
https://dropbox.com/support


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Re: MacOS 10.14 SmartSync files included in disk storage calculation

New member | Level 2
New member | Level 2

Hi,

I'm bringing up this old post to point out that, in fact, this problem hasn't been solved yet.

As has been made clear in the above and below posts, most (if not all) applications actually only look at logical space files occupy. This means that, in practice, online-only syncing is useless.

In other words, what use is having an empty hard drive if every application (including those from Apple such as Boot Camp) still sees files as though they were never moved in the first place?

Maybe I'm getting this the wrong way so I'd love to stand corrected, but I don't think this problem has been solved.

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