Mac users beware – a macOS Sonoma 14.4 bug could delete saved versions of files in your iCloud Drive

The latest update for macOS Sonoma has yet another bug, this time causing havoc for users' saved files in iCloud Drive. 

Normally, when you save files within your iCloud Drive all the different versions of that file will be saved for future reference. So, if you’ve been working on a big project or assignment, you can look through all the versions of your file if you need to. 

This is the case even when you remove a file from the drive; the past versions of it will still be available to you if and when you need them. Unfortunately for some users, this new bug erases all the previous saved versions when a file is removed from the iCloud Drive – which could mean all your work is gone. 

Howard Oakley from The Eclectic Light Company stated in a post that users of macOS 14.4 who have enabled the ‘Optimize Mac Storage’ setting should be warned that there’s a risk of losing all their saved versions of a file if they choose to delete or move it from the iCloud Drive. Oakley notes that this issue “certainly doesn’t happen in Ventura” and that when tested in the earlier 14.3 updates did not observe the problem either.

Clutching my saved files  

If you’re worried about your own saved files, don’t! You can try and curb the potential threat by either simply not updating your operating system to macOS 14.4 if you haven’t already, or disabling the ‘Optimise Mac Storage’ setting. This way, your files won’t be booted off iCloud Drive and neither will any previous saved versions. 

This bug is merely the latest problem to plague the macOS Sonoma 14.4 update, following reports that the update was breaking some users' USB hubs and even taking down printers as well. So, you’ll want to be as careful as possible if you’ve already updated to the latest version of Sonoma. 

So far there haven’t been numerous reports of the bug going around, which means it is likely not a widespread issue just yet. We’ve yet to hear any word from Apple regarding these bugs, which can be interpreted as good news in itself –  if Apple hasn’t said anything yet, that’s a good sign that this is a minor issue that will probably be quickly and quietly resolved in a further update. 

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Google Drive is finally getting a dark mode – and this makes me happy

It looks like Google Drive could finally get a dark mode option for its web version, meaning perusing documents could become a lot easier on the eye for people who like their web pages muted rather than a searing while. 

This information comes courtesy of 9to5Google, which reports that one of its Google accounts received an update that prompts users to try out a “New Dark mode” so that they can “enjoy Drive in the dark”. The option to trigger this dark mode is reportedly under the ‘Appearance’ option in the Settings menu of Drive, but I’ve not seen this in either my personal Drive or my workspace Drive. 

However, from the images 9to5Google provided, it looks like the dark mode in Drive is rolling out bit by bit, and will be a fairly straightforward integration of the mode that one can find in Android, Chrome and other Google apps. No icons are changed in terms of design or color, rather the background switches from white to black, with text flipping to white – all fairly standard. 

There’s some difference in shading between the inner portion of Drive, where one will find documents and files, compared to the sidebar and search bar; the former is black, while the latter is slightly grey in tone. 

Is this a huge deal? Not really, but for people who work late into the evening, the ability to switch from light mode to dark can be a blessing on tired eyes. And having a dark mode can offer a more pleasant experience for some people in general, regardless of the time of the day. 

I’m definitely up for more dark mode options in Google services and beyond. Where once I thought dark mode was overhyped, I started using it on some of the best Android phones and my iPhone 15 Pro Max and haven't really looked back – it makes scrolling through various apps in bed more comfortable, though common sense would say you’re better of putting your phone down when in bed and picking up a book instead. 

My hope is that by bringing dark mode Drive, Google will better integrate dark options into more of its apps and services, especially in Gmail, which has a dark mode but won’t apply it to actual emails when using the web versions, which is jarring. So fingers crossed for a more ubiquitous dark mode from Google.

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Google Drive could add a smart new way to keep your files organized

Finding your way around your Google Drive files could be about to get a lot easier: there's evidence that you'll soon be able to categorize your files into different groups, like banking and work, to keep them better organized.

This is according to hidden code spotted in the Google Drive app by TheSpAndroid (via Android Police). Apps often lay the coding groundwork for future features, before those features go live and are announced to users.

As per the app, the categories you'll be able to make use of are Auto, Banking, Expenses, Home, IDs, Insurance, Medical, Pets, School, Taxes, Travel, and Work. From this leak, it doesn't seem as though custom labels will be allowed, but those 12 categories cover the business of modern life pretty well.

As Android Police points out, these categories are similar to the labeling system that companies can use in Google Workspace. However, this should be available to individual users too, across Android, iOS, and the web.

How it'll work

Google Drive category feature leak

How the upcoming feature might look (Image credit: TheSpAndroid)

Here's how it's going to work: From the Home tab in the Android app, you'll be able to tap the three dots next to a file, then choose from the categories list. A file can be in multiple categories, potentially making the feature more useful than the current folders system.

We don't get any indication here about when the switch might be flipped to give users access to file categories: the report on TheSpAndroid says “it won't come very soon”, so presumably there's still work to do before it's ready for the public.

Given Google's recent and very committed push into artificial intelligence features, it's possible that some kind of AI processing might be involved as well, in categorizing files for you (or at least suggesting categories based on a file name or its contents). Suggested categories do appear in the screens produced by the hidden code.

We now know that Google I/O 2024 is getting underway on May 14 this year, so in between all the Android 15 and Pixel 8a news we might get an announcement or two regarding new Google Drive features – and of course we'll bring you all the news from the event.

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Think Windows 11 is too bloated? This 100MB version could be worth a try – or drive you bananas

NTDEV, the team behind the Tiny11, is back and has achieved an incredible feat – compressing Windows 11 down to just 100MB. While impressive, we wouldn’t recommend trying to run the developer's latest take on Microsoft’s latest operating software because well – it's a bit bare, to say the least. To shrink Windows 11 to such a size they’ve had to strip away much of what we’re familiar with and reduce it down to a text-only version.   

In a YouTube video posted by NTDEV (via PC gamer) you can get a better idea of what it looks like. Gone is the normal GUI (graphical user interface) that we all know and love (well, depending on who you ask) and it has been replaced with an almost entirely black background and lines of white text – essentially turning Windows 11 into a command-line operating system like DOS (an old PC operating system which was popular before Windows 3.1 arguably killed it off).

So, there’s no windows, no colorful greeting screen, and no desktop. You won’t have a menu to select from or a taskbar to search for apps- instead, you’ll have to write exactly what you want to do, similar to how you would the command line app of your PC. 

There are no pre-installed apps either, of course, so forget about firing up Microsoft Paint. With the GUI gone, you lose everything except the very bare bones of Windows 11. Of course, NTDEV is not doing this to allow people to download and use the itty bitty OS for their everyday lives, but instead to just show that it is even possible. Most people who work office jobs or in fields that require daily computer use probably don’t want to add hours to their work week having to type in a command prompt to bring up everything they’d normally be able to access with a single mouse click. 

This could be a fun project, however, for users who’ve always wanted to bring newer versions of Windows to life on some very old computers. Nick Evanson of PC Gamer makes a point that most people are probably not thrilled with AI making a jump to almost every app and potentially future generations of Windows (more so than we’re seeing already), so perhaps this is a potential solution for users who want to go back to the basics – like, very basic. 

Still, it's a very cool ‘proof of concept’ to see and makes one nostalgic for 1980’s computing aesthetics, and could provide a point of reflection for everyone to look back at how far we’ve come in the world of computing. However, I do prefer my Windows to actually have windows!

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Google Drive has a fix for its missing files issue – here’s what to do

Some Google Drive users have recently been reporting that the service has been deleting months’ worth of files from their computers. If you’ve found yourself in that predicament, help could be at hand, as Google has just shared a few tips that might help get your files back.

It’s possible that even after trying Google’s methods, your files can’t be returned, so it isn't a guaranteed remedy. But Google says its fixes are for “desktop users on version 84 who experienced issues accessing local files that had yet to be synced to Drive,” so the solutions seem to be fairly limited in scope.

Judging by posts online, many users have lost files from months ago, which is potentially at odds with Google’s note that the fix is for files that hadn’t been synced to Drive. I myself have lost files due to this bug and regularly sync my Google Drive app. Still, it’s worth trying Google’s ideas if you are affected.

The first method requires you to download the latest version of Google Drive. Once that’s been installed, you’ll need to run Google’s recovery tool. To do so, open Drive for desktop and select the app’s icon in your system tray (Windows) or menu bar (macOS). Hold the Shift key and select the Settings (cog) button, then choose “Recover from backups.”

A laptop screen on a pink background showing the Google Drive recover from backup menu option

(Image credit: Future)

That’ll kick off the recovery process. You’ll get a message reading “Recovery has started” if there are files to recover, or “No backups found” if not. If there is a backup, you’ll see “Recovery is complete” and a new folder with your unsynced files will appear on your desktop.

You might also see a “Not enough disk space” message once the tool finishes. In this case, you can free up disk space and try again, or attempt the next method to recover the files to a different drive.

Choose a different drive

A laptop screen on an orange background showing the Google Drive desktop app

(Image credit: Future)

Running the recovery process on a different drive with more free space requires using the command line, which is a little more advanced. To do this, you’ll again need to download the latest version of Drive for desktop. After that, close the app and open a command prompt (Windows) or Terminal (macOS).

On Windows, run the following command, including the quotation marks:  “C:\Program Files\Google\Drive File Stream\launch.bat” –recover_from_account_backups

On macOS, you’ll need to enter this, including the speech marks: “/Applications/Google Drive” –recover_from_account_backups

You can use '–recover_output_path' in command line to specify where recovered files should be saved. The tool will run in the background in Windows and in the foreground in macOS. When complete, a folder called Google Drive Recovery will appear in your selected output location (the desktop by default) containing your recovered files.

Recover from a backup

Google Drive

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

There’s one other method to try if neither of the last two work for you, and this could help if you previously disconnected your account or removed the Google Drive cache from your machine. 

However, the technique requires you to have either a Windows backup or a Time Machine backup in macOS. For the full instructions on this last solution, check out the 'Advanced troubleshooting options for data recovery' section in the Google Drive help page.

If after all  of that you still can’t get your files back, you’ll need to let Google know by submitting feedback through the Google Drive app. Use the hashtag #DFD84 and tick the checkbox to include diagnostic logs.

A real pain


(Image credit: Getty Images)

This whole sorry saga has been a real pain for some Google Drive users – after all, the whole point of using the app is to keep your files safely synced, not to have them deleted.

I know this issue all too well, as I’ve lost files because of it. One minute they’re in their folder on my computer, the next they’ve been deleted. Sometimes I’ve been able to find them in my computer’s trash, and other times they’re in the trash online in Google Drive, but some files have simply disappeared without a trace.

With any luck, Google’s proposed fixes are able to put a stop to this problem, or at least help users get back files they thought had been deleted. But while this Drive update might help to restore your files after the fact, we don’t know if it will fix your documents being deleted in the first place. We’ll be looking out for a more permanent fix in the coming weeks.

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Google Drive is getting some big changes – with a bonus for iPhone users

Google has announced that big changes are coming to Google Drive, its cloud-based file storage platform. This latest series of tweaks to the popular cloud storage service come mainly in the form of a shiny new landing page, but there’s an extra treat in sort for iOS users.

The new homepage (aptly named the ‘Home’ view) will become the default landing page for every Drive user when it rolls out over the next couple of months – though you’ll be able to swap back to the old view if you prefer. In a blog post explaining the changes, Google says that Home will be “streamlined” compared to the standard My Drive landing page, designed to make it “easier and faster for you to find files that matter most”.

To that end, the Home screen will include personalized suggestions that use AI to learn which files and folders you access regularly (or documents that are tied to upcoming events in your Google calendar). It’ll also include new ‘search chips’ that make filtering your files easier, and will employ Google’s Material Design 3 guidelines for a (hopefully) more modern and user-friendly look.

That’s not all, folks

Google isn’t stopping there, either. A long-awaited Drive feature is finally coming to iPhone and iPad: the document scanner, which uses your device camera to take high-quality scans of physical documents which are then converted to PDFs, with the ability to scan multiple pictures in succession for producing multi-page documents.

The feature has been available for Drive users on Android for a while now, so it’s good to see that Google isn’t planning on leaving iPhone owners out in the cold. The document scanner (which was recently upgraded for Android Users) will also use machine learning to suggest names for your scanned documents, such as recognizing a receipt from a store and giving it an appropriate filename.

The scanner feature is rolling out to iOS and iPadOS users now, so if you’ve got an Apple device you can expect to have it soon if you don’t already. The updated Google Drive homepage will be arriving at a slower pace, with early access starting now and a wide release for personal users from January 15 next year.

I’m personally a little dubious about an AI-powered homepage for Drive – ‘suggested content’ in the software I use has rarely been useful in my experience, AI-assisted or not. But thankfully Google has already confirmed that users will get an instant pop-up asking if they’d like to swap their default view back to the old My Drive page, so it’s not like this change is being forced on us.

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Your WhatsApp backups on Android will soon eat into your Google Drive storage

Bad news for WhatsApp users on Android: chat log and media backups will soon count toward your Google Account storage limit.

This includes the free 15GB of storage given to people whenever they create a new Google Account. That amount is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos with the update further restricting on what can be saved. This move is a complete reversal of a 2018 decision where backups didn’t count toward the limit. It was all on the house. 

Google explains on its Android Help website that it’s enacting this change so the “WhatsApp backup experience… will be in line with how it works on other platforms, with the added benefit of” having the free 15GB. The tech giant takes the time to point out this is “three times more than most mobile platforms” which appears to be a random potshot at iCloud’s more confining 5GB of storage. 

The new rules

WhatsApp’s own post on its help website describes in detail how the update will roll out. It’ll affect WhatsApp Beta users first starting in December 2023. After that, the changes will periodically expand to all Android users throughout the first half of 2024. The platform states it’ll erect a banner in the Chat Backup section of the app’s Settings menu 30 days before it goes live on your phone.

Once you’ve reached the storage limit, you will need to start deleting files on your account in order to resume backups. You do have the option to purchase more storage via Google One. Prices normally start at $ 2 for the 100GB plan; however, at the time of this writing, monthly subscriptions have been reduced to $ 0.50 for the first three months. WhatsApp also recommends using their Chat Transfer tool to move chats between phones.

It’s important to mention this only affects personal Google Accounts. “If you have a Google Workspace subscription through work or school,” nothing changes for you. Restrictions won’t be implemented.

Feeling the squeeze

We should mention the move isn’t totally coming out of nowhere. 

Hints of this decision first appeared all the way back in early 2022 when news site WABetaInfo discovered code in a WhatsApp beta revealing the cut off. We theorized the limitations were due to the sheer size of some chats as well as the “quantity of multimedia content people share” on the platform. All that data may have been putting a squeeze on Google servers “costing [the company] a significant sum.” 

It appears all the recent WhatsApp updates have exacerbated this issue. We reached out to Google asking if it would like to make a statement. A company representative told us one of the main reasons why the two are making this change is “that over the years, more people have joined WhatsApp, sharing more high-res images and videos than ever before.” 

During this past summer, the platform gave people the ability to share high definition photographs and videos. Perhaps the large file sizes proved to be too much for Google to handle, forcing the company to implement some sort of limitation on the platform.

Be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best photo storage and sharing sites in 2023 if you're looking for other options.

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Microsoft cuts another feature from Windows 11 in ongoing drive to declutter the OS

Windows 11 is slowly but surely getting more streamlined, with Microsoft cutting and pruning away some of the bloat in the OS.

The most recent move, as highlighted by Windows Latest, is that the Steps Recorder app is getting its marching orders.

What’s that? We wouldn’t blame you if that was your first thought, because it was ours, as we’d forgotten about the existence of this app, which was brought in with Windows 7.

Steps Recorder, as the name suggests, allows you to record something happening on your screen, and the steps you take when running into a problem – so you can send it to an expert (or support team) who can see exactly where you’re going wrong (hopefully).

This app has just been added to the deprecated features list for Windows 11, on top of a bunch of other functionality that was recently marked for axing (most notably the Tips app).

As Microsoft notes, Steps Recorder won’t be updated any longer and will be “removed in a future release of Windows.”

The reason is that it’s pretty much redundant now with other options present in Windows 11 for screen recording duties. Microsoft points to the Snipping Tool, Xbox Game Bar, and Microsoft Clipchamp as alternatives, though some will miss the lightweight nature of Steps Recorder perhaps.

Analysis: Getting serious about streamlining

As mentioned, this is just the latest move to declutter Windows 11 somewhat, including getting rid of the Tips app as recently announced.

Also of late we’ve seen Microsoft removing the Windows Maps and Movies & TV apps in preview versions of Windows 11, as well as adding in the ability to uninstall more default apps (like Photos, Camera, the ones that all come preinstalled) in testing. Indeed, the latter ability has now progressed from the Canary channel in preview to Dev channel (so is heading for release, by the looks of things).

On top of that, we have other supplementary debloating moves afoot in Windows 11, such as the introduction of the RGB hub to avoid the need to install separate apps to control your peripherals with fancy RGB lighting. That feature is now live in Windows 11 and came in with the update at the end of September.

Considering there appears to be some momentum building around this cleaning up of the operating system, we can likely expect more pruning of Windows 11 from Microsoft going forwards, which can only be a good thing in our books.

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Don’t worry – Google Drive is already removing its new file limit

Google appears to have already stepped back from introducing a file limit to its online cloud storage platform.

Earlier this week, reports began to surface from Google Drive users across the globe that they had encountered new notifications about a seemingly newly-introduced account limit of five million files.

However, Google Drive has now officially responded to the reports, revealing that it will not be introducing a limit after all, and reassuring users that their files are safe.

There's no limit

“We recently rolled out a system update to Drive item limits to preserve stability and optimize performance,” the company's official Twitter account said. “While this impacted only a small number of people, we are rolling back this change as we explore alternate approaches to ensure a great experience for all.”

“If we need to make changes, we will communicate them to users in advance.”

The move was met with some alarm by Google Drive customers, who received no warning of the change, suggesting it may have been a mistake on the company's part.

The wording of the warning notification certainly didn't reassure users, who were confronted with a message reading, “Error 403: This account has exceeded the creation limit of 5 million items. To create more items, move items to the trash and delete them forever.”

One Reddit user was even given a notification telling them to, “Please delete 2 million files to continue using your Google Drive account.”

As we noted in our original story, five million files is a pretty big allowance in real terms. For users on Google Drive’s 2TB offering – the highest personal plan available – the average file size across an account would have to be 400 kilobytes (KB). 

That being said, there are certainly some instances where users may have that many files, for instance in the storage of large amounts of record data – but for the vast majority, users shouldn’t hit their limit, whatever Google decides that will be.

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Google Drive has suddenly decided to introduce a file cap – but you might never hit it

It’s official – cloud storage provider Google Drive has decided to add an official cap on the amount of files that can be stored on a single account.

Per Ars Technica, the limit, set at five million files, started cropping up for some Google Drive users in February 2023, despite Google offering no warning that the cap was being introduced, and offering a notification that wasn't all that clear at explaining what the problem was: “The limit for the number of items, whether trashed or not, created by this account has been exceeded.”

Said notification has evolved since then, and now reportedly reads: “Error 403: This account has exceeded the creation limit of 5 million items. To create more items, move items to the trash and delete them forever.”

Google Drive file cap

As of last week, the notification for one Reddit user read “Please delete 2 million files to continue using your Google Drive account.”

The new policy (which remains undocumented across all pricing pages) means Google Drive customers are being prevented from accessing the full extent of the storage they’ve paid for. However, it’s worth noting that 5 million files, in real terms, is a pretty big allowance.

For Google Drive’s 2TB offering – the highest personal plan available – the average file size across an account would have to be 400 kilobytes (KB). There are certainly instances where that may be the case – the storage of large amounts of record data, for example. But in the vast majority of cases, users shouldn’t run up against the limit.

Business users are even less likely to face issues with the limit. A spokesperson for Google told Ars Technica that the limit applied to “how many items one user can create in any Drive,” rather than a blanket cap.

Details were thin on the ground, but they also noted that the new limit is “a safeguard to prevent misuse of our system in a way that might impact the stability and safety of the system.” 

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