Microsoft goes native with OneDrive on Apple Silicon

Hopefully a better experience than the 'disastrous' Files On-Demand update


Microsoft's cloudy storage service, OneDrive, has gone native on Apple Silicon as Folder Backup arrives in Public Preview.

The update follows issues in January encountered by customers using the updated Files On-Demand for macOS.

Customers called the update "disastrous" and described large chunks of it as broken, from speed to synchronization.

But if in doubt, port it to M1 (as the saying doesn't go). Before Microsoft made its unfortunate tweak to OneDrive on Mac, the Windows giant previewed a native version of the tool.

Over the weekend, the company made OneDrive sync for macOS generally available. Sort of. For reasons unknown, The Register ended up having to download the standalone version from Microsoft's support pages in order to persuade our M1 Mac Mini to switch from the world of Rosetta and Intel for Apple Silicon. We asked Microsoft why this was and will update should the company respond.

Installation annoyances aside, once up and running everything went swimmingly on our system although, as with the problematic Files-on-Demand update of January, caution would be recommended. It must also be said that having used the facility since release, it doesn't seem all that much quicker that the Intel original. Performance will depend on the type of files and synchronization in use.

More interesting for administrators considering storage security is the move of Folder Backup (aka Known Folder Move) into public preview. In a nutshell, this means that key folders, such as Desktop and Documents, can be shunted into OneDrive for macOS users and used over different devices (although only up to 5GB without a subscription).

Users need to be a OneDrive Insider to access the toy (which might frighten some) and also requires at least macOS Monterey 12.1. Even if one is an Insider, the rollout of Known Folder Move is slow; it has been enabled for only 10 per cent of Insiders at time of writing, with the rest following "over the next few weeks."

OneDrive came in for biting criticism last year after former Microsoft senior threat intelligence expert Kevin Beaumont branded the company the "world's best malware poster for about a decade."

He called out abuse of Office 365 and Live platforms, and claimed Microsoft was too slow to react to reports by infosec analysts. ®


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