Discover what happens when you disable iCloud Drive on your Mac (hint: be careful!)

iCloud Drive is pretty sweet. It lets you store everything on your Mac’s Desktop and Documents folder within iCloud, then access them at any time using another device, such as your iPad, iPhone, or even a Windows computer at www.icloud.com.

However, if you turn iCloud Drive off, anything saved on your Desktop and Documents folder is automatically cleared. Nothing is actually deleted, however. Instead, those files remain within your iCloud Drive.

There are two ways you can restore your files from iCloud Drive back to their original location, both are a bit of a hassle:

Use iCloud Drive via the Finder

  1. Open a Finder window, then click iCloud Drive in the sidebar.
  2. Open the iCloud Documents folder, then select everything by pressing Command-A on your keyboard. Next, press Command-C to copy them.
  3. Open the Documents folder on your Mac, then press Command-V to paste the files.
  4. Depending on the number of files and your network connection speed, the files should download from iCloud Drive to your Mac in a short period of time.

 

Use iCloud.com

If you would rather use a browser to locate your files, or the iCloud Drive shortcut has disappeared from the Finder, then:

  • Visit www.icloud.com using your web browser.
  • Select iCloud Drive.
  • Double-click on the Documents folder.
  • Select a file, then click the Download button near the top of the window to save it to your Mac.
  • To select multiple files, hold down the Command key and click on them.
  • Unfortunately you can’t download folders via iCloud.com, so you will need to manually recreate these on your Mac, then download the files within.
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