macOS High Sierra

Store your desktop and documents in iCloud Drive

With iCloud Drive, you can safely store all kinds of documents in iCloud, and access them from all your computers and iOS devices. If you like, you can have all the files in your Desktop and Documents folders stored automatically in iCloud Drive. That way, you can save files right where you usually keep them, and they become available on all your computers and iOS devices.

You can also use iCloud Drive on iCloud.com from a web browser on a Mac or Windows computer.

Set up iCloud Drive

If you haven’t yet set up iCloud Drive on this Mac, you can do it now in iCloud preferences.

  • Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then select iCloud Drive.

    Open iCloud preferences for me

    If you aren’t signed in to iCloud already, you must set up iCloud before you can select the iCloud Drive feature.

The first time you select the iCloud Drive feature on any of your devices, you’re asked to upgrade. When you upgrade, your documents and data currently stored in iCloud are moved to iCloud Drive. If you’re not asked to upgrade, your account is already upgraded.

Important: After upgrading to iCloud Drive, your documents stored in iCloud Drive are only available on your computers and iOS devices that meet minimum system requirements, and have iCloud Drive turned on. Your documents in iCloud Drive are also available on iCloud.com.

You can use iCloud Drive on Mac computers (OS X v10.10 or later), iOS devices (iOS 8 or later), and Windows computers with iCloud for Windows (Windows 7 or later required). Your computers and devices must be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID.

If you have devices with iCloud Drive turned off, documents and data on those devices aren’t kept up to date with documents and data on your devices with iCloud Drive turned on.

Store your Desktop and Documents folders in iCloud Drive

  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click iCloud, then click Options next to iCloud Drive.

    Open iCloud preferences for me

    If you don’t see Options next to iCloud Drive, make sure iCloud Drive is turned on.

  2. Select Desktop & Documents Folders.

After you select Desktop & Documents Folders, your Desktop and Documents folders are moved into iCloud Drive. They also appear in the iCloud Drive section of the Finder sidebar.

Work with files and folders in iCloud Drive

iCloud Drive appears in the Finder sidebar, where you can select it to see its contents. It contains folders created automatically for the apps that support iCloud Drive, such as Preview, TextEdit, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. It can also contain folders you create and files you save or move into iCloud Drive or its folders.

iCloud Drive also contains your Desktop and Documents folders, if you selected Desktop & Documents Folders in iCloud preferences.

When iCloud Desktop and Documents is turned on, your folders and files may appear with status indicators next to the folder or file names in Finder windows. For more information, see View file, folder, and disk information.

  • Put documents in app folders: You can drag documents into the app folders in iCloud Drive, and create folders within those folders, but each app folder can only contain documents the app can open. For example, the Preview folder can contain PDFs and different kinds of image files but not a movie or a music file.

  • Download items stored only in iCloud Drive: Control-click the items that you want to download (indicated by the In iCloud status icon ), then choose Download Now.

    After the items are on your Mac, you can work with them without an Internet connection.

  • Move items to your Mac and remove them from iCloud Drive: Drag files and folders from iCloud Drive to a folder not inside iCloud Drive, such as Downloads, Movies, Music, and Pictures. The items are copied to your Mac and removed from iCloud Drive on all your devices set up for iCloud. If you change your mind, you can drag items back to iCloud Drive.

    Items you put in your Documents folder or on your desktop are stored in iCloud Drive, if you selected Desktop & Documents Folders in iCloud preferences.

You can also use iCloud Drive when you save a new document or open a document in an app. Just click iCloud Drive in the sidebar of the Save dialog or Open dialog that appears after you choose File > Save or File > Open.

If your iCloud storage is full

If you can’t move or save a document to iCloud Drive, your iCloud storage space may be full. The document stays on your Mac, and is uploaded to iCloud Drive when space becomes available.

iCloud Drive shares your iCloud storage with iCloud Photo Library, iOS device backups, messages and attachments in iCloud Mail (your @icloud.com email account), and more.

  • To get more space, you can upgrade your storage. You can also remove items you don’t need to store in iCloud Drive. For more information, see Manage iCloud storage.