Mac Icloud Drive Location

Once you’re logged in, click on the iCloud Drive button to manage your account in the same way that you would on your Mac. Keep the photos you need, get rid of the ones you don’t Enabling the iCloud Photo Library across all of your devices is the best way to organize and manage your photos, and keep your precious memories close to hand at. Press and hold the Option key and drag the file to a new location. How do I download my iCloud Drive folder to my Mac? Download items stored only in iCloud Drive to your Mac. Control-click the items that you want to download (indicated by the In iCloud status icon ). Choose Download Now. After the items are on your Mac, you can work with them. Understanding iCloud Drive and the Optimize Mac Storage Option When you use iCloud Drive, your files are stored on your Mac, Apple's iCloud Drive server, and also any other Macs using iCloud Drive with your Apple ID. When you save or modify a new file, it is automatically mirrored on the server and your other Macs.

Choose iCloud Drive (Downloads), On My iPhone (Downloads), or Other depending on the location of the folder you want to use. You can also tap the Add Folder icon at the top to create a new one. Oct 21, 2014 The iCloud Drive documents are all in your User Library: /Library/Mobile Documents/ The custom documents, you are storing in your own folders in iCloud Drive are in the subfolder /Library/Mobile Documents/comappleCloudDocs. And yes, Time Machine will back up these documents, since they stored in your user library in your Home folder.

The Desktop & Documents option in iCloud Drive syncs your most important files to the cloud, making them available across all your Apple devices. But it can be tricky to wrap your head around exactly where it stores those files.

In particular, you might find yourself questioning whether your Desktop and Document files are saved locally to your Mac. In this article, we’ll explain how to find out.


  • Where does my Mac store iCloud Drive Desktop & Documents Folders?
  • Are my Desktop and Documents folders stored locally?
  • What happens when I turn off Desktop and Documents Folders for iCloud Drive?
  • Answer all your iCloud Drive questions


Where does my Mac store iCloud Drive Desktop & Documents Folders?

The Desktop & Documents Folders option in iCloud Drive is a great way to save storage space on your Mac. It also makes your files available on other devices.

When you turn it on, macOS creates a Desktop and a Documents folder in your iCloud Drive account. It then uploads everything from the Desktop and Documents folders on your Mac to the matching folders on iCloud Drive.

Make sure you have enough free iCloud storage to hold all your files before turning it on. Otherwise, macOS can’t upload everything.

After uploading, you can still see all the same files on your Mac, but you may need to download them from iCloud Drive before you can open them again or make changes. This download usually happens automatically when you open a file.

How to turn on Desktop & Documents Folders for iCloud Drive:

  1. Open the Apple () menu and go to System Preferences > Apple ID.
  2. Select iCloud from the sidebar, then open the iCloud Drive Options.
  3. Check the box to turn on Desktop & Documents Folders.

Are my Desktop and Documents folders stored locally?

If you choose to optimize your Mac storage, macOS removes local files from your Desktop and Documents folders that you haven’t used in a while. This clears a lot of free space on your Mac while keeping those files available on iCloud Drive.

That said, your Mac usually keeps a local copy of any recently created or recently opened files so you can access them without waiting for a new copy to download. If your Mac runs out of storage, macOS automatically removes those local copies to create more space.

It’s easy to tell which files or folders are stored locally using Finder:

  • A cloud with a downward-facing arrow means that file is not stored locally on your Mac, it is only on iCloud Drive. Click the cloud to download it.
  • An upward-facing arrow or a dotted cloud means that file is stored locally on your Mac but hasn’t synced to iCloud Drive yet.
  • No cloud or arrow icon means that file is stored locally on your Mac and is also synced to iCloud Drive.

At any time, you can choose to download files you plan to use offline. Or you can remove downloaded files to create more free space. To do this, control-click the file in Finder, then select Download Now or Remove Download from the menu.

If you don’t optimize the storage on your Mac, macOS downloads every file from the Desktop and Documents folders on iCloud Drive. With multiple Macs syncing to iCloud Drive, this might be too much data to download.

How to Optimize Mac Storage with iCloud Drive:

  1. Open the Apple () menu and go to System Preferences > Apple ID.
  2. Select iCloud from the sidebar.
  3. Near the bottom of the window, check the box to Optimize Mac Storage.

Why do I have duplicate Desktop and Documents folders?

After turning on Desktop & Documents Folders for iCloud Drive, you might notice duplicate copies of folders or files on your Mac.

Don’t worry, these duplicates don’t usually take up extra space on your Mac. Normally, you’re looking at aliases of the same files, which macOS creates to make them more accessible to you.

You can normally spot an alias file or folder because it has a small arrow in the bottom-left corner of the icon.

In Finder, go to View > Show File Path Bar to see the file path of the selected file or folder. When you select the duplicate files, you should see that they’re all stored in the same place on your Mac.

Mac Icloud Drive Location

For example, you should see Desktop and Documents folders in the sidebar of Finder and also in iCloud Drive as well. That’s because the buttons in the sidebar simply link to those folders in iCloud Drive.

For more help with this, reach out and chat with Apple Support.

What happens when I turn off Desktop and Documents Folders for iCloud Drive?

Disabling the Desktop & Documents Folders option for iCloud Drive can be a daunting prospect. Especially when macOS warns that it will remove items from your Mac when you do so.

Fortunately, it doesn’t remove anything from iCloud Drive. So you won’t lose any files or folders permanently by turning off this option.

If you do choose to turn off Desktop & Documents Folders on your Mac, you need to download all your files and folders again manually. You can easily do this using Finder.

How to download Desktop and Documents files from iCloud Drive:

  1. Open two Finder windows on your Mac.
  2. In the first window, navigate to the local Desktop (Cmd + Shift + D) or Documents (Cmd + Shift + O) folder on your Mac.
  3. In the second Finder window, open iCloud Drive (Cmd + Shift + I) and go to the Desktop or Documents folder within iCloud Drive.
  4. Select all the files in iCloud, then drag and drop them into the other Finder window to download and copy them to your Mac.

Depending on how many files and folders you stored in iCloud, this transfer process might take several hours. Keep your Mac connected to Wi-Fi and plugged in to power while it completes the transfer.

What if I turned off iCloud Drive while a file was uploading?

If possible, try not to turn off iCloud Drive while uploading files or folders; doing so can result in corrupt files on iCloud Drive. That said, you should still have a healthy local copy of the file on your Mac.

If you interrupted the upload, the safest precaution to take is to delete the file from iCloud Drive. This avoids iCloud replacing your local copy with the potentially corrupt version online.

Answer all your iCloud Drive questions

iCloud Drive is a complicated service. It takes time to understand where your Mac stores iCloud Drive Desktop and Documents folders.

If you have any lingering questions about the cloud-based storage system, you should find the answers in our comprehensive explanation of iCloud Drive. Feel free to ask any other questions in the comments!

Dan writes tutorials and troubleshooting guides to help people make the most of their technology. Before becoming a writer, he earned a BSc in Sound Technology, supervised repairs at an Apple Store, and even taught English in China.

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/Mac Cleaner /iCloud Drive Taking Up Space on Mac: How to Clear?

Here’s a question for you. Is your iCloud Drive taking up space on Mac? Of course, it is and it’s probably taking up more space than it should. Why is that so?

It could get pretty frustrating. In the first place, iCloud Drive taking up space on Mac shouldn’t even happen at all. If you have been saving almost all of your files to the iCloud drive, you should still have a good amount of space on your Mac, right? After all, you have been using the Optimize button to keep everything stored in the cloud and removed those purgeable files already.

Article GuidePart 1. Does iCloud Drive Use Mac Storage?Part 2. Why is iCloud Drive Taking up So Much Space on My Mac?Part 3. How Do I Clear Space on My iCloud Drive?Part 4. Conclusion

Part 1. Does iCloud Drive Use Mac Storage?

To understand if iCloud Drive uses Mac storage, imagine you have a MacBook and an iMac, which you have set up to use iCloud Drive. So, when you create a file on your iMac, it goes straight to Apple’s iCloud server. With a speedy internet connection, it should upload quickly.

After a few seconds, the same file is going to appear on your MacBook. It’s as if a copy has been put from one place to the other. Nonetheless, it’s pretty much the same file. If you make changes on the file on your MacBook, the changes will automatically be updated on your iMac as well and vice versa. It’s safe to say that the files are automatically synced in the three locations which are your MacBook, iMac, and Apple’s iCloud server. You don’t have to do anything to sync the file. As long as you have iCloud Drive turned on and you saved the file in iCloud Drive, it syncs automatically.

Now, let’s say that you created more files, some of which were pretty large. The new files you created will all sync to Apple’s iCloud server. They end up there first. Then they appear on your MacBook. Again, it will depend on how fast your internet connection is. Nonetheless, all the files will sync across and will be treated on your MacBook and your iMac as the same files.

The changes you make on one file will show up on the same file that’s located on the other machine. It’s the same thing if you delete a file. That same file will be deleted on the other machine as well. The reason for that is all the files are linked. Since all files are linked, it can eventually eat up a lot of space on the MacBook that doesn’t have a big capacity. So, how to deal with iCloud Drive taking up space on Mac issue? Before leaning the ways to gain more space on Mac, let's know why it is taking up space on Mac first.

Part 2. Why is iCloud Drive Taking up So Much Space on My Mac?

It could get pretty frustrating to find out that your iCloud Drive is taking up a lot of space on your Mac. All along, you thought that all your files are saved to the cloud especially with the Optimize Mac Storage feature enabled. So, you ask the same question again. Why is iCloud Drive taking up space on Mac?

What the Optimize Mac Storage does is that it, sort of, blocks your Mac from having a copy of every single file. Picture this. You’re filling up your iMac fast because of its huge hard drive capacity. Unfortunately, it’s not the same as your MacBook. It just doesn’t have as much space as your iMac. So, it’s running out of space fast. That’s where the Optimize Mac Storage comes in.

If you turn on the Optimize Mac Storage, it chooses the files that are saved on to your MacBook. If there’s a huge file that’s saved to iCloud Drive, you will just see the file name on your MacBook but it’s going to be empty. if you want to open it, you click on it and the file will be downloaded from the iCloud Drive. Again, you would need an internet connection to be able to open it. Take note that once you access the file, it goes right into the hard drive of your MacBook. Hence, it’s going to occupy space.

If macOS notices that you don’t use the file anymore, it will send it back to Apple’s iCloud Server. That could free up space on your MacBook. Keep in mind that the macOS can decide to get rid of files in both locations (your iMac and MacBook) if you have your Optimize Mac Storage turned on in both places. So, it’s safe to say that the reason why your iCloud Drive is taking up space on your Mac is that you’re frequently accessing the huge files from Apple’s iCloud server.

Should I Turn off iCloud Drive on My Mac?

iCloud Drive is usually very useful. Its main function is to automatically synchronize and copy files between devices, allowing you to easily share files between your own devices, so if you no longer need to use this feature, you can disable iCloud Drive on Mac.

Part 3. How Do I Clear Space on My iCloud Drive?

There are two easy ways for you to fix iCloud Drive taking up space on Mac issue. Read on to learn more about these two easy ways.

Option #1. Enable the Optimize Mac Storage

As previously mentioned, the Optimize Mac Storage can help limit the files saved on the Mac. To enable this feature, follow the steps below.

Step 1. Click on the System Preferences

Select and click on System Preferences from the drop-down menu. You will be taken to the System Preferences window.

Step 2. Look for iCloud

Now that you’re inside the System Preferences window, scroll down and look for iCloud. Click on it once you have found it. You will be taken to the iCloud folder.

Step 3. Adjust iCloud Settings

Click on the Options button you see opposite iCloud Drive. Scroll down and look for Optimize Mac Storage. Make sure the box is checked. There is a Done button on the lower, right-hand of the screen. Click on it to enable the Optimize mac Storage feature.

Option #2. Fix iCloud Drive Taking Up Space on Mac with PowerMyMac

The iMyMac PowerMyMac is also worth looking into especially if you are always accessing all your files from Apple’s iCloud server. The good thing about the PowerMyMac is that it erases large and duplicate files saved on to your Mac. So, even if you regularly access these files from Apple’s iCloud server, you won’t run out of space on your Mac. The steps below will show you how to use it.

  1. Download, install and launch the PowerMyMac on your Mac
  2. Choose files to Scan. If you want to delete large files, you can just click on the Large & Old Files.
  3. Allow PowerMyMac to run a scan by clicking the Scan button.
  4. Once PowerMyMac is done scanning your Mac, large and old files will appear on your screen. Select the ones you want to delete and click on the Clean button.

Part 4. Conclusion

The answer to your question of why is iCloud Drive taking up space on Mac is staring right into your face now. Take a good look at your Mac and see how many files you usually access from Apple’s iCloud server. If you’re accessing a lot, then your iCloud Drive could end up taking up space on Mac.

Mac Icloud Drive Folder

You can always enable Optimize Mac Storage in iCloud or you could use the iMyMac PowerMyMac. Truth be told, you can use both if you want.

Is your iCloud Drive taking up space on Mac? If yes, what are you going to do about it? Our readers would love to hear from you.

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brian peters2021-08-27 23:37:37

Clear as mud!. I use icloud and find it is taking space on my mac. I want to have as much free space as possible on my mac and thought icloud would store the data and not on the mac. Still trying to find a simple explanation for a 'non-techie' person.

Mac Icloud Drive Location Finder

Paul Harding2021-08-10 13:39:36

Good article but the conclusion remains as we started, “iCloud Drive keeps my information in the cloud but takes as much space as the files I need to store.” Either way a new Mac with lots of storage still runs out of space way too quickly! A lose lose situation.

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