macOS Sierra: iCloud Drive Syncs Desktop Files and Documents Across Devices

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    With macOS Sierra, Apple is aiming to make it easier to access all of your content across multiple devices, expanding iCloud Drive to encompass the desktop and documents folder of every Mac.

    This feature puts all of the files stored either on the desktop or in the documents folder in iCloud, making them available on iOS devices, Macs, and for easy access to your most recent files wherever you are.


    Turning on the new iCloud feature is done when setting up macOS Sierra. When you install the new operating system, Apple will ask if you want to enable iCloud storage for the desktop and documents folder and will let you know how much iCloud storage space it will take up.

    If you have a lot of files on your desktop or in the documents folder, it can take up a significant amount of space, so you might need to do some file cleanup before enabling it.

    If you want to enable the feature later or turn it off at some point, you can do so by going to System Preferences --> iCloud --> iCloud Drive --> Options ---> and checking or unchecking "Desktop & Documents Folders" in the list of apps allowed to upload data to iCloud Drive.


    On Macs and iOS devices, the contents of the desktop and documents folder can be accessed through the iCloud Drive app. On, the files can be accessed through the iCloud Drive folder that's available once you're signed in. If you have a Windows machine, your Mac files will be able to be downloaded through the iCloud for Windows app.


    The new iCloud storage options in Sierra bring Macs more in line with iOS devices, which use iCloud Drive for all file storage purposes. macOS Sierra is available for free starting today.

    Article Link: macOS Sierra: iCloud Drive Syncs Desktop Files and Documents Across Devices
  2. Z400Racer37 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2011
    The darn Developer Beta deleted my local files once they were uploaded though, and then it was a total pain to redownload them. literally took a couple days.. What a pain. hope they fixed that for the public version, but be careful all.
  3. ILuvEggplant Suspended


    Jul 28, 2016
    Los Angeles, CA
  4. hh83917 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2005
    I thought windows 8 or 10 have that for a while when you sign-in with outlook/hotmail account... I miss Jobs...
  5. zahuh, Sep 20, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016

    zahuh macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2004
    Can someone test to see if you put an alias in the folder that maybe it syncs the original folder? I want to sync my entire computer to iCloud.

    Thanks iBungie for checking. Looks like the answer is no. Hopefully next year I can sync my entire drive.
  6. iBungie macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2008
    I've found in recent weeks using the public beta on my macbook that i can also access files on the iCloud Drive via my older mac pro that can't upgrade to Mac OS. It wont synch the desktop or docs folder of that machine but at least I can access my working documents on which ever computer I'm working on as long as I save them to the iCloud drive. Accessible on iOS devices too. Useful alternate for Dropbox. Downside is mentioned in the text about size - really requires an iCloud subscription to get a decent amount of storage.

    Article Link: macOS Sierra: iCloud Drive Syncs Desktop Files and Documents Across Devices[/QUOTE]
  7. radio893fm macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2004
    Does iCloud Drive work with Windows as well? Will the Document folder sync with Documents in my Windows machines?
  8. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    I strongly suggest NOT using the optimize storage feature! Not only will this remove the files from your Mac, but it'll keep the files from being backed up with Time Machine.

    You will literally be trusting iCloud *completely* to store your important files. Definitely NOT a good idea!

    Keep Optimize Storage off. Back up your data. It's only a matter of time before someone gets bitten by this.
  9. iBungie macrumors regular

    Oct 9, 2008
    No - folder aliases on your desktop, for example, dont show up on the iCloud drive as far as I can tell

  10. gim macrumors 6502


    Jul 27, 2014
    Haha, the release version still does that, so be careful. Thing is, I lost all my files because the iCloud upload wasn't finished when I turned the feature off again. Great.
  11. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2015
    Good call. The exception to this would be a situation where you have at least one machine which is syncing everything and is backed up by Time Machine.

    In my case, I have an iMac with everything synced onto the hard drive (all photos, everything in my Dropbox, etc) -- and the iMac is backed up via Time Machine. My secondary Mac is a MacBook Air, which has a subset of my iCloud Photos, selective Dropbox folders, etc.
  12. PowerBook-G5 macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2013
    The United States of America
    Are you talking about the Optimize Storage feature (not what this article is about) or iCloud Desktop & Documents (what this article IS about)?
  13. 4God macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2005
    My Mac
    Need more Macs.
  14. jumanji macrumors regular

    Sep 12, 2003
    Austin, TX
    this is troubling for people with macs at work. they need a way to only set a sync one way. i wouldn't want my work stuff being pulled off my work computer but i don't mind my music and pictures coming this way.
  15. zedyr macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2016

    Untrue. Files are downloaded, then backed up, then optimized.
  16. Ike582 macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2015
    Somewhat similar question, I have a Dropbox alias on my desktop and would like to know if the iCloud Desktop Sync feature will try to sync my entire Dropbox contents.
  17. zahuh macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2004
    Thank you for checking. I guess next year hopefully.
  18. CamiMR macrumors 6502


    Oct 22, 2012
    How about an option to sync Desktop only, and not Documents, does that exist?
  19. windowpain macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2008
    Use BitTorrent sync and you can sync whatever you want to wherever you want.
  20. tigres macrumors 601


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
    Won't be using this too much, my documents folder contains my VM's- and we know that is not a safe be to hand over to the Mobile me.. oops, I mean iCloud.
  21. mainstreetmark macrumors 68020


    May 7, 2003
    Saint Augustine, FL
    Mine won't stay checked. I check it, it briefly says "Setting up..." I dismiss the dialog, and when i open it next time, it's unchecked again.
  22. coolfactor macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    Local backup?
  23. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    I wouldn't even trust Dropbox with this kind of feature, let alone Apple with their less than stellar record. The idea behind this is great, but not realistic. The casual user with only 128GB of storage may benefit, but someone like me who likes to have at least 2 local copies and a cloud copy will not be satisfied with it.

    I don't even like that it's baked into the OS. I just hope they never enable it by default without somehow informing the user. I like iCloud and Dropbox confined to syncing some app data and specific files that i manually place in their folder.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2016 ---

    After they're optimized, they're not affect by your local time machine backups because they're not on your computer, they're in iCloud. Your computer only has a few kb placeholder.
  24. iAdam1n macrumors member


    Dec 18, 2015
    That would have happened here, had I not already done a backup to grab those files out of it.
  25. jonnysods macrumors 603


    Sep 20, 2006
    There & Back Again

    What if you have multiple user accounts? Do those sync?

    Do your photos library sync between devices too?

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