Microsoft has begun rolling out Files On-Demand for Mac, a feature of Office 2019 that enables users to view all of their OneDrive files from their Mac desktop, with documents downloaded from the cloud only when needed.
The Files On-Demand feature, which was initially announced in September, is now being rolled out as a full feature. According to Microsoft’s product roadmap, the status of Files On-Demand for macOS Mojave has been updated to “Rolling out” as of Thursday and is now available to OneDrive for Business users on Mac.
It is unknown how long it will be before all OneDrive for Business customers have access to the feature, or if it will be made available to non-business Office 365 subscribers in the near future. Thurrott reports that it will be made available as part of the standard OneDrive sync client.
Files On-Demand enables users to navigate their OneDrive cloud storage using their computer’s native file management system, in the case of the Mac, Finder. The OneDrive storage appears as an APFS-formatted volume in macOS Mojave as if the files are stored locally, but users only see minimally sized placeholder versions of the files. OneDrive downloads the file to the Mac and replaces the placeholder when it is required.
Theoretically, Files On-Demand will prevent users with limited local storage capacity from wasting too much money on rarely used files. While frequently-used files can be kept on the local drive, less-used versions will appear to be accessible but are actually stored in the cloud for later retrieval.