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How to find the contents of Docs and Desktop folders after disabling iCloud synchronization



Apple added an option in late 2016 to give you the equivalent of cloud-based bottomless desktop and document folders in macOS to pair with the iCloud Music Library and what is now called iCloud Photos. In the iCloud preferences, you can click iCloud Drive and then check the Desktop and Document Folders box to enable some sort of temporary synchronization.

If your Mac runs out of local storage, macOS will delete files from local storage based on the oldest files with the least amount of use, and make sure there is a copy in iCloud Drive. If you need the file back, just click on it and it will automatically recover. You can also find all the contents of Desktop and Documents folders via iCloud Drive from any Mac that you have enabled the feature on.

However, the transition between using this bottomless directory option and deactivating it remains confusing for users years later. (I wrote about some of the disadvantages at the beginning of 201

7.)

When you remove the Desktop & Documents Folders check box, it looks as if all your files in the two folder locations have been deleted – they disappear!

  MacOS icloud desktop Document Settings IDG

Desktop and document folder settings are available on the Mac via System Settings > iCloud and then click Options button for iCloud Drive .

Fear never. They remain in place but in iCloud Drive. Use the steps below to restore your items to their original locations.

(Note: To remove the copy from iCloud Drive when you restore the files, hold down the Command key while dragging, which corresponds to "copy

  • Open iCloud Drive (in Finder, select Go> iCloud Drive .

  • Open the desktop folder in iCloud Drive, select Edit> Select all or press Command-A, and then drag or Command-drag the contents of the desktop.

  • Open The Documents folder in iCloud Drive, select Edit> Select All or press Command-A, and then drag or Command-drag the contents of the home Documents folder.

  • If you find multiple folders for desktop or documents in iCloud Drive are due to the fact that you have enabled sync feature on several Macs, the first Mac that you used the function is called the two folders, just desktop and documents, but some later Macs add the name of the Mac at the end desktop and document folder names.

    This Mac 911 article is an answer to a question from Macworld reader Katia.

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