Microsoft described updates to a cloud service, but surprisingly, the company didn’t talk about OneDrive. Instead, iCloud, Apple’s cloud service, was the subject at hand. As it turns out, iCloud for Windows is picking up OneDrive features.
One of the better features of OneDrive’s Windows integrations is Files on Demand. If you have a Terabyte of data stored in the cloud, and laptop with just 500 gigs of hard drive space, you won’t want to sync everything to your machine. But if you don’t sync everything, it’s hard to keep track of what you have in the cloud without logging into a website or app and hunting everything down.
Files on Demand solves that problem. When you open file explorer and browser through OneDrive synced folders, placeholders are shown for anything on the cloud but not on your computer. If you double-click on a file or picture, it automatically downloads, and you’ll have access going forward.
Until you need them, the data doesn’t use storage on your machine, which balances knowledge of what you have in the cloud with limited space availability locally.
Until recently, you had to use OneDrive to benefit from Files on Demand. Dropbox and Google Drive offer a similar feature, but you have to be a business customer to take advantage. Now, if you’re an Apple iCloud user on Windows, you also benefit from Files on Demand. With the latest iCloud Windows app update, you can access iCloud Drive from File Explorer, and you will see placeholders for files you haven’t downloaded locally yet. And naturally, you can share and edit from Windows, and those changes will appear on your iOS devices.
One can only hope the personal versions of Dropbox and Google Drive will add Files on Demand in the future. In the meantime, it’s good to see Microsoft and Apple working together for the benefit of consumers.