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How to Access iCloud Files From the Finder

Posted in How To, OS X on 07/08/2012 by J. Glenn Künzler

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One of the most useful features from OS X Mountain Lion is a (finally) finished version of Documents in the Cloud, allowing you to store documents on iCloud and sync them across your devices. Sometimes, however, you just want to be able to access these files directly, without going through an app as Apple currently requires. 

Fortunately, as Macworld points out, there’s an easy way to access all of your files stored in iCloud directly from the Finder! As we’ve noted in the past as part of various tips (iCloud’s Hidden ‘Drop Box’ Feature and Using Documents in the Cloud), OS X stores all of these files locally. Here’s how to access them, and how to create a shortcut to quickly navigate to the folder in the future.

To access your iCloud documents, just open Finder, select the Go tab, and then Go to Folder…, and type in “/Users/[your user folder]/Library/Mobile Documents/”, replacing the brackets with your user folder. This is the folder that stores all of your documents, and sorts them by which app created them.

You can also create a shortcut to this folder in your Finder sidebar. To do this, simply navigate to the folder, select the File menu, and then Add to Sidebar. If you press the Shift key while the File menu is open, you’ll also see an option to add the folder to your dock! The folder will appear as “Mobile Documents.”



  • Rob

    What I’ve been doing is using GoodReader on iOS, which hooks right into iCloud. Then on my Mac I drop files into the GoodReader folder inside the iCloud Mobile Documents folder, once uploaded they show up in GoodReader for me to download and save. It works the other way too. I’ve been doing this since 10.8 came out and so far iCloud has not deleted any of my files, so it’s a really good way to share files between Macs and iOS devices. I suspect iCloud doesn’t delete them because it see’s the files as GoodReader’s, not random ones you’ve stuffed in there.

  • Trevor Middleton

    Incidentally, it’s much simpler to replace the string:

    /Users/[your user folder]
    with the tilde symbol:
    ~
    tilde being the usual *nix shortcut for the home folder of the currently logged-in user.
    This makes the full string a much more manageable:
    ~/Library/Mobile Documents/

    Thus, to access the Library folder at root level of your Mac’s hard disk, you’d type:

    /Library/

    while to access the Library folder in your home folder (assuming you’re currently logged in) it’s:

    ~/Library/

    • http://MacTrast.com J. Glenn Kunzler

      Thanks!

  • Ossi973

    No such directory, any ideas?
    I am surely in the User Library and of course, there are already files in the cloud.
    Thanks for help.

J. Glenn Künzler

Author

J. Glenn Künzler

Glenn is Managing Editor at MacTrast, and has been using a Mac since he bought his first MacBook Pro in 2006. Now he's up to his neck in Apple, and owns an old iBook, a 2012 iMac with an extra Thunderbolt display for good measure, a 4th-generation iPad, an iPad mini, 2 iPhones, and a Mac Mini that lives at the neighbor's house. He lives in a small town in Utah, enjoys bacon more than you can possibly imagine, and is severely addicted to pie.