How to Set up Microsoft OneDrive for Mac

Use OneDrive to store up to 5 GB in the cloud for free

Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud-based storage and syncing solution that works on Mac, PC, and mobile devices with access to the internet. When you install OneDrive on your Mac, either as a standalone app or as part of Microsoft 365, it appears to be just another folder. Drop a file or folder of any type into the OneDrive folder, and the data is immediately stored on the OneDrive cloud storage system.

OneDrive only supports new installations on macOS 10.12 or newer. Information in this article applies to macOS Catalina (10.15) through macOS Sierra (10.12).

OneDrive is included with Microsoft 365 paid subscriptions. However, an Microsoft 365 account is not required to access OneDrive on your Mac. You can download the free OneDrive app for that. It comes with 5 GB of cloud storage, with more available for a fee.

You can also access your OneDrive folder using a web browser. Browser-based access allows you to make use of the cloud-based storage on any computing platform you find yourself using without having to install the OneDrive app. You can also access OneDrive from your iPhone and iPad by downloading the OneDrive app for iOS devices.

About OneDrive for the Mac

For OneDrive, you need a Microsoft account and OneDrive for Mac. Both are free. If you don't already have a Microsoft ID, go to the Microsoft ID signup screen and click Create a Microsoft account. Once you supply the requested information and create a password, you'll have a new Microsoft ID.

OneDrive from Microsoft may seem like an odd choice for a Mac user to use to store data in the cloud, but there's no reason not to use it. Free OneDrive plans for users who don't subscribe to Microsoft 365 include 5 GB of space.

OneDrive can be used along with other cloud-based storage services, including Apple's iCloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive. There's nothing to stop you from using all four and taking advantage of the free storage tiers offered by each service.

Install OneDrive on Macs with macOS Sierra (10.12) or Later

With macOS Sierra, the free OneDrive application became available in the Mac App Store, which makes installation a breeze.

  1. Open the Mac App Store by clicking its icon on the Dock.

    The App Store icon on the Mac Dock

    Alternatively, press Command+Spacebar, search for the App Store, then click it when it appears in the search results.

  2. Type OneDrive in the search bar to locate the app.

  3. Click Get next to OneDrive, then click Install to download the app.

    Search results for OneDrive in Mac App Store
  4. When the download is complete, click Open in the App Store screen.

    OneDrive entry in Mac App Store
  5. Enter your Microsoft account credentials.

    OneDrive setup screen on a Mac
  6. To complete the installation, you'll need to select a location for your OneDrive folder. Click Choose OneDrive Folder Location. You can place it anywhere on your Mac, including the Desktop.

    OneDrive Folder on Mac

How to Use OneDrive

OneDrive acts much like any other folder on your Mac. The only difference is that the data within it is also stored on remote OneDrive servers. In the OneDrive folder are default folders labeled Documents, Pictures, Attachments, and Public. You can add as many folders as you want and create any system of organization that suits you.

Adding files is as simple as copying or dragging them to the OneDrive folder or appropriate subfolder. After you put files in the OneDrive folder, you can access them from any Mac, PC, or mobile device that has OneDrive installed. You can also access the OneDrive folder from any computer or mobile device using the web interface.

The OneDrive app runs as a menu bar item that includes sync status for files kept in the OneDrive folder. There is also a set of preferences you can adjust by selecting the OneDrive menu bar item and clicking the three-dot More button. You're set up and have 5 GB of free space to use. If you find out you need more cloud storage, it is available for a reasonable fee.

OneDrive Plans

OneDrive currently offers only a few tiers of service, including plans that are paired with Microsoft 365.

Plan Storage Price/Month
OneDrive Basic 5 GB 5 GB total storage Free
OneDrive 100 GB 50 GB total storage $1.99
OneDrive + Office 365 Personal 1 TB for 1 user $6.99
OneDrive + Office 365 Home 1 TB each for 6 users $9.99