iCloud questions I can't find answers to, re: iMovie, aliases and storage


In order to attempt to transition from the ITB Mac mini circa 2016 (2014 model) to a MM2 with "just" 512gb on it, I made the decision to put "desktop and documents" in the iCloud. My thinking, since I have 200gb on a Family plan and had only used 48gb to date, that would help. I checked today and adding "desktop and documents" added only 5gb of use.

Now, as far as I could tell the folders were in the cloud because I had a MacMini1 folder referred to when I clicked on "desktop and docs" this time.

When I go to "storage" in "About" and "reduce clutter," I see that documents is now 473gb up from 390, iCloud is now using 91GB and photos were 29gb and now 37gb. So, the photos seems to make sense. However, I'm very concerned about how iCloud sees the movie files. More on that in a bit.

So, here are some questions in this process I could use some answers to:

1. If I had mostly alias for folders on the desktop, and now the desktop is empty, except for the desktop Mini (cloud) folder, are all the documents actually in the cloud now? I can click on that folder, and see all my aliases that were on the desktop now in there. And I can click on those folders and see files. So, are the files in the cloud are just the aliases? It happened instantly.
I took a deep dive in here, and I found that I have two "i Cloud" Mac Mini folders 1 and 2. So, they were living in the cloud (except for those I'm finding that are still in G D Dropbox which makes me crazy (about a year ago when DB decided to backup the computer with one click and I'm still trying to sort that out).

How do I combine the two iCloud folders so I have just one to click on? MM1 cloud folder is currently inside MM2 cloud folder. The main problem is I can't find the folders that were aliases. And those folders may be in sub-folders and those aren't showing up. For example, 2023 Invoices was an alias, but it is under company>year>Invoices. So, 2023 Invoices doesn't show up as a choice to click on ... but they are in there under MM2>MM1>Company>etc ... do I need to go into finder to fix all this?

I can drag it out and make them two separate again, but do I go into MM1 and drag all those folders out of it into MM2 and remove aliases or what? I'd like them to just be one though if that's possible. I discovered, the aliases didn't go into the cloud on this new MM2 folder, just anything I hadn't made an aliases for. Actually, there are fewer items in the new MM2 than the old so maybe easier to move those to the original? Any suggest to combine these would be great.

(Done) 2. Since doing this new "save in the cloud", the mini will no longer go to sleep. Well, it starts to go to sleep then relaunches. I gave up at midnight and turned the monitor off but didn't do anything else for fear something was going on in the background (asterisk. footnote. don't do this or that or this or this may happen). How to fix?
Of course, it fixed itself after I wrote this post. It went to sleep manually. So, maybe there was something goin on in the background.

(Done) 3. The desktop image I choose to see when I launch is now the default purple/red/glowy default. It's purty, but not what I wish to see. I have now dragged a photo into the "fill" box but, when I sign off, then on again, it's gone. And remember, the computer no longer can sleep.
Of course, this also is now exactly how I want it. You know, it's like the noise under the hood that goes away when you got the mechanic. So, both 2 and 3 seem to be no longer an issue.

4. When I go to "storage" in "About" and "reduce clutter," I see that documents is now 473gb up from 390, iCloud is now using 91GB and photos were 29gb and now 37gb. So, the photos seems to make sense. Most of the documents are "movies" apparently, ie the iMovie Library at 308gb. (Under file browser the number for movies is 391GB, a whopping 83gb difference? I see that in addition to the library, there are folders for movie events, projects, tv and some misc. that have been saved outside of the library. I assume I need to keep these and save them as well but don't recall how or why they are living outside of the iMovie Library. But, I see the events in the iMovie library when I launch it.
PS When I go to iCloud.com I see the specific files I have manually dragged into.

I'm afraid if I delete this separate events folder (even though as I understand all files live in the iMovie library) that I'll lose the 15+ years of event clips.

5. Do I move that iMovie library to an external, then delete the library from the Mini? And that will free up 308gb? Or do those files stay on the computer?

6. Going back to About, under Recommendations, when I click on "Store in iCloud" I see "Desktop and Documents" and "Photos" checked. I assume then, this is happening? Or, do I have to do this again after doing this under system preferences and iCloud. And since movies are classified as documents, if I click on this, am I going to go down the rabbit hole of "you need more space (since the about says there is over 300gb of documents in one of the about searches) and you can't go backwards?"

In the meantime, I purchased a 2TB External WD Passport and threw another $60 at this to use the time machine again. It is no longer deleting the old backups to make room, and I assume it's because there is less than 180gb left on the MacSS. It appears the last backup was February 11. And, interestingly, there are many files that were last "modified" on 2/11 on the computer, and uploaded to the iCloud on 2/11.

I know this is a mixed bag of questions. So, If this is too long and I need to break them up into separate categories, let me know. I appreciate any help. I'd rather "KISS" but there just seems to be a lot of asterisks and footnotes, hurdles and hoops to "just simply." And I particularly am trying to make sure I don't lose the 15+ yrs of video.
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