"Free up space" not working MacOS

Copper Contributor

I am running OneDrive on a Mac (Catalina 10.15.3).


I have some large files that I have chosen to "Free up Space". In the Finder they have the cloud icon next to the file name indicating that they are stored in the cloud and not on my harddrive. However when I look at the storage usage for my mac those files still appear in the Mac System tool and appear to be taking up space.


How do I resolve this?


As per the screen shot below...those four files beginning with "All Mail" have all been selected to Free up Space but still appear here.

23 Replies



I seem to have the same issue.  I'm in the process of converting by dropbox to one drive.  After completing the transfer, it seems as if all the videos are stills showing up in my hard drive (even though one drive shows them as online only).  Curious if you find a solution.  


Hi there. Same happening here... It seems like this is an issue MS needs to attend to...


I am having the same issue. It's a major blocker for me because I use OneDrive especially to store some large files off my personal computer. Would love to see a response from MS


I have solved the problem by doing the following:


Navigate to OneDrive Preferences on your Mac -> Account -> Choose Folders


Then uncheck the folders which you only want to store in OneDrive. Please see the attached screenshots.

@nissu thanks so much for the tip. I'll get on that.


Nice work-arround, but that solution doesn't solve this issue of "Free up space"...this way I can't search the files locally because they disappear if I unselect the folder to sync. 

Hope that MS solve this big bug soon.

@pedroferreira I think what you'll find is that although the files appear on the list when you look at "Storage" they don't actually take up space on your computer if you've used the "Free up space" action on OneDrive.


When I used the workaround described above it didn't free up anymore space on my HD....Finder still showed the same amount available.

Ah I'm having the same issue here (MacOS 10.14.6 Mojave)....I keep all my large files on my Onedrive in order to save space locally, but seems there's either an issue with OneDrive or MacOS itself? The files for me appear in local "Storage" despite having the cloud icon when located in Finder, however when I click to open the file it shows that it is downloading. So maybe it is really not kept locally but just appears to take up space...? (Mac is leaving room for you to download it in the future?) @TKruger 

@TKruger I am having the same issue. Free up space used to work but not until recently for me. 


I am on macOS Catalina version 10.15.1 (19B88)

@TKruger Also happening to me. I have a 31Gb folder. I just want some files locally accesible to me but the rest online-only. macOS information panel still shows the folder as taking 31Gb even though only 1Gb should be local. This is indeed a big issue.

@TKruger Hi! I was wondering if there will be a fix for this. But not! My workaround, nowadays, is to keep my OneDrive on Portal Office - and don't sync with the Mac. My company is a heavy user - and OneDrive start to increase about 4 Gb / day - and just with team members updating some files in directory that I have marked with "on demand".

Hope to have a solution in a near future!


I've been dealing with this BUT if you notice, while my folder is supposed to be 104Gb... it really only takes 249Mb on disk.


I BELIEVE this is due to the way that macOS handles files and space on disk. I'm not an expert, but I think we may be blaming OneDrive for no reason. It's probably working as expected.


Screen Shot 2020-10-22 at 14.38.26.png

@ronaldpoi Hi! Thank you for your reply. I have this certanty at the past, but something went wrong with my "Other" in the disk space management - it increased day by day. As I can do a reinstall of the MacOs any time, I did it two days ago, and free up about 80Gb of my disk. And OneDrive is at the bench until I come back to rely on it.  

@ronaldpoi not for me. Space on disk includes the space for files that I have selected "free up space" for.

in my mac it's not appear that symbol (white cloud - free up space). I don't know how to make this appear :((((

@TKruger so here is an offical Support Link from Microsoft.
If all setting are the same, open a ticket to Microsoft

@Hans Brender 


I forced a relaunch of Finder and this worked. Free Up Space now appears. 



I had previously relaunched Finder and it didn't add the Free Up Space command. So just now did it twice more and it worked.




No I don't think it is working as expected. I can see that the Properties of the OneDrive folder shows something similar on mine, where the size of the OneDrive folder is 68GB but shows as only using 1.78GB on disk, so OneDrive thinks Files on Demand is working. However the Mac OS thinks the disk is full and won't let me open any large files. The OS isn't recognising that Files on Demand has saved space by having the files in the cloud, which defeats the whole purpose of Files on Demand...