MacOS Monterey - Disable Files on Demand

Brass Contributor

I use OneDrive to synch all my files with another computer at work and just upgraded to Monterey. I need to be able to search for data in the files using Spotlight/Quick Look etc. so I typically do a full sync and disable files on demand.


Since this is no longer an option with Monterey, I have instead enabled "Always Keep On This Device" from the OneDrive root folder. However, I am now seeing files that are both "Always Available on this Device" and "Not Downloaded". Aren't these two mutually exclusive?


Is there any way to disable Files on demand?


MacOS is 12.1

OneDrive is Version 21.245.1128.0002 (Standalone) with Insider Preview Updates enabled




128 Replies
best response confirmed by VI_Migration (Silver Contributor)
That sounds strange. I would expect it to be one or the other as you say. On my own Mac running Monterey I cannot duplicate your issue. As you say, you can't disable FOD from the OneDrive client settings but you should be able to do this with a PList as per

@PeterRisingThanks for this. I tried adding



to the plist file and restarted the Mac but didn't seem to make a difference. OneDrive happily tells me "You're all set. All files are in sync" but I am still seeing the following in Finder





Hmm, interesting. Sounds like a bug. I'd be tempted to open a support ticket with Microsoft to see if they can help you troubleshoot further.



Same issue here.
Two icons are shown next to the file name

Screenshot 2022-01-13 at 09.43.37.png

Tootip for icon on the left states: "Shared and Always Available on this device"

Tooltip for icon on the right states: "Not Downloaded" 

Likewise, "Files on demand" cannot be turned off. 

It seems like a quirk rather than a bug, as if files on demand were turned on automatically. 

As a result, spotlight indexing doesn't always work with such files.

Utterly annoying. 

@Yann Gourvennec 


Have you managed to resolve this issue?  I am running into the same problem with the same symptoms.


Clicking on each "Not Downloaded" icon forces the file system to recognize that the files are local.  It does not appear to actually download anything.  However, this regularly resets to showing both icons.


In addition to spotlight indexing not working for files that are local but flagged as "Not Downloaded" other programs that require the files to be local error when the files show as "Not Downloaded"

Hi @ABCorbett I went for a shortcut by right clicking the desired folders and choosing the "always available on this device" option. It's still erratic though, sometimes it works and sometimes I lose my files and I have to repeat the process. Another issue I have is that it keeps creating supplementary versions of my files for no apparent reasons and deleting the duplicates on the Mac won't have any impact as they keep being recreating. I found a workaround by going to Onedrive online and deleting the online version(s) of the same file. I even had up to 3 different duplicate versions!

Onedrive is definitely unwieldy and bug-ridden. I miss my dropbox days.

@ABCorbettUnfortunately, I have not been able to resolve it. Have been with MS support on this and so far, have not received a solution or a workaround. They did send me the documentation several times to say select  "Always on my device" even though, from the beginning, I had told them that it was set (and they had seen that during a remote session).


An additional interesting test when I was with support was that when I disabled internet access, I could click on the "Not Downloaded" icon and was able to get the file locally. So it looks like the file is local but OD is responding to Spotlight/Quick Look that it's not.


For now, I've disabled OD and only fire it up to synch when I start then shut it down once the sync is complete. And once more before I shutdown to synch changes that I have made. Not great for Spotlight and not ideal but until they fix it, the only other alternative is downgrade to Big Sur.






"So it looks like the file is local but OD is responding to Spotlight/Quick Look that it's not."
Indeed I'd come to the same conclusion Philip. It seems the file is both here and not here. It's either a bug or a quirk, I couldn't say. The footprint is definitely that of the downloaded files, they are supposed to be there, but the finder will take at least a couple of seconds before the contents of the folder are displayed.

Disabling Onedrive is a bit extreme though, I'm using the stuff for team and client work and all my files need to be updated in real time. I haven't had time to contact support yet, I'll let the dust settle for a while see if the bug is fixed when onedrive is updated and I will call them later if it's still wonky.

Same problem for me.  I cannot imagine why this was changed by Apple.  I have found when I look at the OneDrive icon in the top toolbar, it shows a files as being synced/downloaded. But it is not in the spot in OneDrive where it should be.  Also, when you click the OneDrive with down arrow icon and download files, it any file is added by someone who shares the folder, the icon reverts to undownloaded.  Then you have to redo the download.


MS tech's only solution was to use Sharepoint.  If you have done so and it works, please let me know.  Thanks.


*if any file is added...
Hi David, as I wrote above, I've let sleeping dogs lie for a while and I was right to. This very afternoon, Onedrive stopped syncing and after a little while it crashed altogether. I had to reboot and upon restart, Onedrive fired up and started to sync my 60,000+ files. Last time I looked (it's on my other computer back in the office), the second icon had disappeared for all downloaded files and Onedrive was sort of working properly. Still cautious here but it looks like it was a bug and fixed itself upon the way, without even downloading a new version. Go figure it out. Anyway, don't panic, use the sharepoint (i.e. online version) if needs be. You will still be able to open your files using the Mac Apps. In due course, onedrive will certainly crash on your computer as it did on mine and all will end well. Good luck! Your sharepoint link should look like

Today, struggling with this, I notice the fan on my MacBook Pro is running a lot.  Used to run only when I had Parallels open and was using Windows.  Now, about half of the time it is running. 

I have a 2020 mac mini that I recently updated OneDrive on and also ran in to this issue. I use CloudBerry to back up my OneDrive folder so it's very useful to be able to disable files on demand.
I did find the option to right click on the top level folder and select always keep on this device, but that didn't seem to work as expected.
My silly solution is to first set the top level folder to always keep on this device and to then run a recursive md5 check sum on every file in the OneDrive folder.

find . -type f -exec md5 '{}' \;

After the md5 check sum finished each file no longer showed the cloud icon and only showed the always available on this device icon.  I was also then able to successfully run a backup of the folder.

This isn't my favorite solution, but it seems to be working.  I though others mind find this useful.

BTW my 2015 mac book pro hasn't gotten the most recent update to OneDrive that changed the behavior of disabling files on demand.

Strange. I own quite a few dating back 2015-2016 and never ran into this problem. It's only happening on my newer M1 MBP.
Sounds a bit convoluted but I'm making a note of it just in case I run into this problem once more. I use Crashplan instead of Cloudberry and what you wrote made me think that maybe I'm not using the best solution and certainly not the cheapest. I'm definitely going to investigate.

I am having the same problem. The app automatically updated and killed my day and still struggling. The option "always keep on device" does not download the files and all my work projects are under One Drive and I could not work today and still cannot work.  I don't know how to solve this issue, at worst I will manually download files and work them locally with out using One Drive but I am not sure how to update it maybe do it manually time to time. This is a huge epic fail and very bad breaking change for all of us.

@Yann Gourvennec 


I did some more testing and found that files that are created on another system will show up as "Always Available on This Device" but won't be downloaded and will cause my backup to stall.  To remediate this I created a small BASH script that finds any file modified since yesterday and runs the MD5 checksum on it.  I then have my backup plan configured to run the script before running the backup.  Hopefully this will cause any new files to be downloaded / actually available on this device.



find /Users/MYUSERNAME/OneDrive/ -type f -newermt $(date -v -1d +'%Y-%m-%d') -exec md5 '{}' \; > /Users/MYUSERNAME/pre-backup.log


Hopefully this will work for other backup solutions as well.

I am not sure this is an Apple/Mac issue. I have 2 iMac desktops (1 at home, 1 at work). Both are running the same operating system: Monterey 12.1. There was no hiccup with my work computer, I can disable Files on Demand in OneDrive Preferences (that option is available). The other no longer shows the option to disable Files on Demand in Preferences. Has there been versioning of OneDrive such that a newer version is the one with the issue?

This problem completely killed me, literally killed me. Thanks to Microsoft and One Drive super uber developers and testers. I had a perfect life before this Files on Demand feature.


I even cannot see what's happening behind the scenes. Many files are downloading uploading etc. My available hard disk size is changing between 150GB to 70GB it is not stable.


Tomorrow I have to work and I don't know what to do. Probably I will download very important folders manually and I will delete this stupid version and wait for a proper fix.

This version created a very very bad problems. In the future, synching files will be a pain and I have to do it manually.

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best response confirmed by VI_Migration (Silver Contributor)
That sounds strange. I would expect it to be one or the other as you say. On my own Mac running Monterey I cannot duplicate your issue. As you say, you can't disable FOD from the OneDrive client settings but you should be able to do this with a PList as per

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