While Microsoft has adopted the Apple Silicon-based M1-SoCs straight from the beginning, their was still some work left to do.
With the release of Apple’s own chips in the current MacBook Air-, Pro and Mac mini-series last November, many developers jumped on the bandwagon straight from the beginning. The common goal: No need to emulate Intel-based code on the new Macs with the help of (still fast) Rosetta 2-engine to ensure a seamlessly and adopted native experience as universal binaries.
Embracing Apple Silicon
Microsoft was one of the bigger names amongst the early adopters and with Microsoft Office (Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word) the world’s most-famous productivity suite embraced M1-SoC very early. My own user experience was great here and — recently — Microsoft Edge enqueued as well, bringing native Apple Silicon-speed to the new devices. Alas, my personal bucket list had two specific Microsoft-apps that are still overdue, Microsoft Teams (wrapped up in a cloaked and cross-platform-based Electron app) and Microsoft OneDrive, the client for Microsoft’s cloud syncing service.
OneDrive for Apple Silicon is ready to embark
Today, Microsoft finally set another puzzle piece into the big whole with officially announcing OneDrive-support for M1-powered Macs later this year. The users asked and Microsoft listened — finally. OneDrive — which still seems a bit sluggish despite Rosetta 2’s efforts of doing its best — is told to take full advantage of Apple’s chips and all of its performance improvements „later this year“.
Fortunately, the feature of platform adoption doesn’t come alone — Microsoft also states that it brings KFM („Known Folder Move“) with it. Windows-users may already know this feature as it is surely one of the best security aspects in syncing your Desktop and documents as well as Picture-folder straight to your OneDrive: A feature that was missing yet on macOS as well as the Personal Vault for subscribers of Microsoft 365 Family-plans. Changing Macs or working on different ones is getting more easy now as all you need to keep everything up-to-date is to enable this feature on all machines and wait for the syncing to be finished.
No extra costs
As Microsoft states (and everyone already expected) the KFM-feature won’t come with extra costs. Private OneDrive-users can use the service up to the free amount of 5 GB, every paid subscription goes with the storage of 1 TB anyway and the new feature will be integrated straight from the scratch. Losing or damaging your device won’t come along with losing your data In my daily job working with Windows 10, the ability of syncing my favorite files in a hassle-free way is quite comfortable and your files are available from the web simultaneously. KFM will be available for a private preview later this year, interested organizations may apply here to join the developer train!
Files On-Demand and Finder updates
Later this year (no specific moment given here neither) Microsoft will also strive for integrating the OneDrive-client even deeper in macOS, using the system’s new File Provider-platform. With this update, OneDrive will be visible under „Locations“ in the Finder-window, taking care of the fact that you can access your files quick and easily.
The File-on-Demand-feature will be polished, too: This feature, which is enabled by default, directly shows you wether a file is always available or primarily residing in the cloud until you decide to download/sync it. This update will provide a refreshed file status iconography in OneDrive: Online-only files will be represented by a cloud icon while, when opening an online-only file it is downloaded to your device as a locally-available file. Locally downloaded files that require device space will display the always-available file icon, therefore giving the feature a new and visually-adopted optical style.
Work in Progress
Additionally, Sync Admin Reports, recently presented, will also find its way into macOS. The well-known performance and reliability improvements are on the list, too and the feature of excluding specific file types will be added to the available features of OneDrive on macOS. Last but not least the ability of using your Office-apps on iOS and iPad OS to offline-edit files will be integrated later this month. Offline editing will be available with the Office mobile app as well as the standalone Word and PowerPoint apps on iOS and iPadOS to suit your personal needs.
Although there is still some work to do, Microsoft efforts of approximating the features of OneDrive on macOS with the well-known Windows-version are quite impressive. There is still an uncertain way to go, but with the new features and especially the KFM-feature I think that OneDrive is taking yet another, even more professional, approach on macOS. Let’s see what comes next and how specific „later this year“ will be!