One Drive Privacy Update and Cloud Storage Concerns

Read where OneDrive has added a “Personal Vault”, which requires additional second factor authentication to access files stored in it. Long awaited feature by me. Up until now, I encrypt any important documents prior to storing them in cloud storage. Expect Google and Apple will follow suit very soon.
This brings up longstanding concern with Mac’s default configuration being Desktop and Document folders stored in iCloud rather than on device. I think a lot of casual users (non-geeks) do not understand what they are getting into. Up until installing Catalina, I have avoided it, but decided to try it out. The thing that bothers me the most is the fact I casually put a document on my desktop, never thinking it is being stored in the cloud. A good example was the recovery codes for SQRL. Left a screen shot on my desktop for several weeks before finally remembering where it was. Good thing it was just for playing with. And, when configuring my quad boot MBA, I was copying photo libraries to the desktop. Suddenly noticed the 60+gb file was being uploaded.

On the assumption that most so called casual users users aren’t working for the CIA don’t you think that most are better off with the offsite backup of their files? Granted, I agree that it would mean you shouldn’t save your super secret files where they will suddenly be shipped out of your control, but I also assume anyone with super secrets wouldn’t install cloud sync software to begin with? On the other hand, too many people don’t backup well or at all, and on the assumption that their most valuable items (the stuff they’re currently working on, like say a thesis) are the ones that are saved for easiest access, it makes sense to backup those easily accessed areas of their file system.

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I don’t consider using the Mac Desktop and Documents iCloud folder feature as a backup. Any action I take on the files I can touch without consciously mounting a backup container are not safe from my dumb mistakes. I see this Mac feature as a space saving tool, and to provide easy access between different devices.
I believe this is the third time I have opted to try the feature, and each time, I end up turning it off because it just adds confusion to my life. Not true for everyone, just me.
And being an observant computer user, when I turned off the feature for the first time, I ignored the warning that popped up about the system deleting the folders, and keeping the files in iCloud Drive. Boy, was I pissed at Apple while I recovered my files from my backup drive. And slightly embarrassed when I read the warning several months later, about to repeat the same mistake.

I really can’t stand that Desktop/Document auto backup feature. OneDrive started doing it by default this year and I always forget until I store a large file on my desktop and the stupid program starts uploading. And then when you finally remember to turn it off, it moves everything off your desktop!

Well I am not an Apple user really, so I don’t know how it works with Macs, but I know that other cloud services keep your files around for some period of time even after sync deletes them, so if you realize you screwed up, you can still recover… for some period of time around 30 to 90 days.

Well, just in case anyone who uses a Mac wants to know how it works, when I delete a file stored in iCloud Drive (including Desktop and Documents folders), it ends up in the Recently Deleted folder on iCloud (only available by logging into via browser) and is available for 30 days. Also, since I delete files from Desktop or Documents folders by putting them in the Bin on my dock, the deleted file shows up in the Bin folder. When I click on “Empty” the Bin folder, the files that came from Desktop or Documents folders are removed from the Bin folder, and the Recently Deleted folder on iCloud. If you’re obsessive like me in keeping the bin empty and not using disk space, there appears to be no way to recover the document. My takeaway is I cannot depend on Desktop and Documents on iCloud as a backup solution.