Microsoft OneDrive finally embraces Apple Silicon

Microsoft OneDrive finally embraces Apple Silicon
Photo by Isa Boog / Unsplash

Wonders will never cease! After Microsoft’s Office was one of the first native apps built for Apple’s M1-SoCs released in November 2020, OneDrive finally catches up with the Office suite and Microsoft’s Edge-browser.

Admittedly, it took some time and although OneDrive worked well using Rosetta 2-emulation, the app’s behavior felt sometimes laggy and alien compared to native Universal-binaries designed for Apple Silicon-chips. Yesterday, Microsoft then finally announced the general availability of the adopted OneDrive-client and finally closed a long-time gap while testing did already start in June of 2021.

OneDrive native client on macOS (Apple Silicon) - Screenshot credits: Microsoft
„We’re excited to announce that OneDrive sync for macOS will now run natively on Apple silicon. This means that OneDrive will take full advantage of the performance improvements of Apple silicon. We know this has been a long-awaited and highly requested feature, and we're delighted to make it generally available starting with build 22.022.“
(Ankita Kirti, Microsoft)

Additionally, the support for folder-backup we already know from the Windows-clients gets in the line, making it possible to sync macOS’ Desktop and documents-folders to OneDrive. This feature is also known as „Known Folder Move” and eliminates just another different to the OneDrive-client on Windows. This feature especially aims for corporate users being able to get their new Macs while having the chance to access their familiar OneDrive-files within the blink of an eye but also private users will benefit here. The functionality is, as we know so far, only available on macOS 12.1 „Monterey“ so far.

The limitations on „Known Folder Move“ are, at the time of writing and according to Microsoft, the following:

  • This preview will ONLY be available with the standalone app of OneDrive, not the App Store-version
  • This preview includes Desktop and Documents backup only. Microsoft is currently exploring supporting more folders
  • To enable the preview, please join the Insiders ring and navigate to „OneDrive Settings > Backup“
  • To send feedback, please navigate to „OneDrive Activity Center Help & Settings > Send Feedback“
Manage Folder Backup - Screenshot Credits: Microsoft

Microsoft worked on the macOS-version of OneDrive recently, partially due to Apple deprecating the kernel extensions that most cloud synchronization applications used for monitoring file changes - something that many developers have experienced with the new major release of Apple’s operating system.

Although this final release may appear to be quite late while Apple has already released the M1 Pro and M1 Max-SoCs after November 2020’s debutant M1 and may go for a M2 (?)-successor this Spring, other competitors are still years behind: Especially for Dropbox, the adoption of Apple’s non-Intel based chipsets seems to be a quite demanding task and while I see most apps already wearing the „Universal“-label, there are still some famous brands still struggling to adopt their code for whatever reason.

Downloads can be found at Microsoft's official site including the release notes.