Finder is the file explorer app in macOS showing all file and folders in your Mac. You can see the pie chart and cloud icons in sidebar navigation and next to files and folders. Did you ever wonder why Finder shows circle pie chart and different types of cloud icons? Here is the explanation along with the meaning of different cloud icons and pie icon in Mac Finder app. You can get the complete list of macOS symbols in this article.
Pie Chart Icon
Pie chart in Finder indicates that files are being synchronized between iCloud Drive and your Mac. You can see the chart shows progress in the sidebar “iCloud Drive” folder. Since iCloud is a synchronization service, it automatically tries to sync the files across your devices logged in the same iCloud account. You will see the pie chart appears whenever you move, copy/paste, download or upload the files.
It works like below:
- Let’s say, you move a folder containing lot of files from Documents to Desktop.
- You will immediately see a pie chart appears in the iCloud Drive in Finder’s sidebar. Since the folder movement will result in uploading of its content in iCloud, the content needs to be synchronized.
- Hovering over the on the chart will change the icon to an information icon.
- Click on that information icon to see the progress of uploading to iCloud. You may see the downloading progress when getting files from iCloud to your Mac.
- Pie chart will progress and finish when the synchronization (upload) is completed. After that you will see a tick mark flashes next to iCloud Drive indicating the folder movement is synchronized.
- You can anytime hover over iCloud Drive to see a tick mark and clicking on it will show the time of last finished synchronization in iCloud.
Note that you will also see the cloud icon with down arrow in App Store against the deleted apps. You can click on the icon to download the app from iCloud without entering the password.
Cloud icons are shown next to files and folders in Finder app indicating its current location status. You may see three types of cloud icons.
- Cloud icon (Uploading) – indicates the file/folder is currently being uploaded from your Mac to iCloud account.
- Dotted cloud icon (Waiting to Upload) – indicates the file/folder is waiting to be uploaded in iCloud.
- Cloud with down arrow (In Cloud) – the file/folder is only available in iCloud and not stored locally on your Mac.
If you do not see any cloud icon, then the file/folder is synchronized and available both on iCloud and your Mac.
Let’s take an example that you move a large size folder from one location to another in Documents folder. You will see cloud and pie chart icons as explained below:
- After moving, you will see a cloud icon appears next to the files inside the moved folder indicating it is being synchronized (uploaded) in iCloud.
- Since it is a large folder, it may take some time to finish the synchronization and hence you will see a pie chart icon next to iCloud Drive folder in the sidebar. As mentioned above, the pie chart will change to information icon when you hover over. Click on it and you will see the upload progress in iCloud. You can cancel the iCloud synchronization by clicking on the X icon showing at the end of progress bar.
- If you have slow internet connection or large number of items are already in upload queue, you will see a dotted cloud icon next to the moved folder indicating the synchronization is not yet started. The dotted cloud will disappear when the synchronization starts and you will see a cloud icon indicating the item is being uploaded.
- After some time, the large folder will be moved to iCloud when your Mac is running out of storage space. You will see a cloud with down arrow icon in this case, means the folder is only on iCloud and not available in your Mac to free up space.
- Clicking on the cloud with down arrow icon will download the file from iCloud to your Mac. In this case, you will see a pie chart next to the folder as well as next to iCloud Drive in the sidebar. You can click on it to view the download progress.
Managing iCloud Drive Synchronization
If you do not want to see these pie charts and cloud icons in Finder app, then you can disable iCloud Drive synchronization. Though this is not recommended when you have premium iCloud storage plan, you may need to do this when using another cloud storage service or you do not want to use iCloud. Also, these synchronizations will stop working when you run out of free 5 GB space and do not want to purchase additional iCloud storage.
- Click the Apple menu and go to “System Settings…”.
- You will see the Apple ID is shown on the top of left sidebar. Click on it and then navigate to “iCloud” section.
- Disable “Optimize Mac Storage” option to stop automatically moving older files/folders to iCloud. Due to this option is enabled, you will see the cloud icon with down arrow on older files/folders in Finder as they might have been moved to iCloud from your Mac. For completely disabling iCloud sync, you need to turn off all the apps showing in this section.
- Click “iCloud Drive” option and turn off the iCloud Drive if you want to disable syncing of files/folders. Alternatively, click “Options” button showing against “Apps Syncing to iCloud Drive” heading and selectively disable the synchronization.
- For files and folder, you need to disable “Desktop & Documents” folder showing as a first option in the list under “Documents” tab.
- Click “Done” button and close the Settings app.
Hope this helps to understand the meaning of pie chart and cloud icons showing in Finder app. Remember, disabling synchronization will delete the previously synced content from iCloud and keep it only on your Mac. This may create confusion when you have multiple devices already connected to same iCloud account or using Family Sharing. So, do this only if you are not using iCloud.
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