Personal organization of files and folders may not be the best way to manage files, but what’s the alternative? Either no organization at all. Or, Apple’s way. The iCloud way. That brings up a frequently asked question. ‘Where are iCloud’s files?‘
The Think Different Habit
Apple’s software engineers and executives pride themselves on thinking different, and when it comes to file management on iOS devices– iPhone and iPad– the company is sitting on a precarious limb.
Where are iCloud’s files? For Mac users with Pages, Numbers, Keynote and many other file types which sync between iOS and Mac, where do the files go?
Apple keeps a copy of files in synchronization between devices and stored on Apple’s iCloud servers.
For iPhone and iPad users, files are usually visible when you open an app assigned to a file. What about the Mac?
The Mac is a bit different than iPhone and iPad in that we have a Documents folder and have complete control of where most of our own files go. Except for iCloud. Apple hides iCloud files in OS X.
Open System Preferences on your Mac. Click the iCloud icon button. In the lower left right corner you’ll see a Manage button. Click it.
That displays the files stored in iCloud but arranged by Application (the way Apple wants things to work). Click on an app and you’ll see all the files associated with the app.
All you can do is delete files in iCloud from System Preferences. There are no options to add files, organize files into folders, or, well, manage anything beyond delete.
Apparently, Apple doesn’t want Mac users to muck around in the iCloud folder– the one that syncs files with iCloud and other OS X and iOS devices– but you can. Apple places the iCloud files in a folder named Mobile Documents. But it’s in the hidden user Library folder. Find it by selecting the Go To Folder selection in the Finder’s Go menu and enter ~/Library. iCloud’s files are in the Mobile Documents folder.
Yes, it’s a mess in there. Maybe that’s why Apple doesn’t want Mac users to find iCloud files.
Little known fact: If you create a tag in the Finder and name it iCloud, set Finder preferences to display tags in the Sidebar. When you save a file to iCloud add the iCloud tag. Click the iCloud tag in the Finder and all those tagged files appear.