Hands on with OneDrive Files On-Demand for Mac

On day one of Microsoft's Ignite 2018 conference, the company announced that OneDrive Files On-Demand is coming to macOS, and that a preview is available right now.

Files On-Demand allows you to view your entire OneDrive, with some files synced locally and some available online-only. If you attempt to open an online-only file, it will download it and open it. Or, you can simply choose to keep a file or folder stored locally. The placeholder files, however, take up so little space that it's immaterial.

The feature originally came to Windows 10 in the Fall Creators Update, as a long awaited replacement for Windows 8.1's placeholders, which were stripped out of the original Windows 10 release. At this point, many speculated that it would never happen for macOS, yet here we are.

That's all thanks to macOS Mojave. Mojave has a new files API that allows for developers to have some extra freedom, and that's why you need Apple's latest OS to get Files On-Demand. In fact, you'll notice that the Files On-Demand preview and Mojave launched on the same day.

If you're wondering how it works on macOS, the answer is that it's exactly how it works on Windows 10. Here's a quick video showing the feature off.

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