to commonly asked questions.

iCloud Drive

Message about iClloud archiving

Two things: is this library suppose to be saving into the iCloud?
So I bought more  iCloud space and then got this message.



Buying more storage was the correct move. It's common for our generation to have over 200 gigs of content therefore pushing us up to the next tier plan (2TB). Younger people have less pictures and are fine with the lower amount of storage.

The second item is also fine. Apple did not implement the documents/desktop iCloud syncing as seamlessly as I would hope so you'll see these confusing messages from time to time about "iCloud Drive archive". Nothing really to worry about.

Should I use iCloud drive?

I downloaded the new operating system BigSur. Asking if i want to download all of my files in iCloud. Assuming the answer is No? Says will use 990.2MB.

Personally I prefer not to sync my documents and desktop folder to iCloud Drive which is what you’re talking about here. The plus is that your documents and desktop items are then backed up to the cloud. That’s great. The negatives are that you it tasks your computer more than it should which means less processor power for other things. Second negative, you have to make sure you have enough space in the cloud. Apple is hoping you buy more. Third negative, it means that the Desktop and Documents folder are basically useless for major tasks like editing video or audio files with professional level programs. Those files would have to find new homes. Not applicable to your use but I like to be thorough in my answers so I thought I’d mention it.

Also, keep in mind there are competitors to iCloud Drive syncing like Google Drive, Microsoft's One Drive, and Dropbox. Dropbox being my first choice.

Restoring iCloud documents from the cloud.

I don’t know why, but all my folders and things that were on my desktop before our session, are not there. Please tell me how to restore them. You may recall we switched AppleIDs on my computer.

Sounds like Mike was probably syncing your desktop and documents items to his cloud space. Should be an easy fix. I’m happy to assist but if you’d like to try on your own here’s what you can do:

Go to and log into HIS iCloud account (based on Select iCloud Drive from the menu.

Locate the items you want back. You can hold down the option key while clicking to select more than one file at the same time. Note, you cannot select folders using this method.
Then hit the download icon at the top. Those files will now be in your downloads folder and you can move them where ever you’d like from there.

Where did my documents go from these folders?

It is really weird that so much of the documents are missing from this level of folder…any ideas about what I did wrong? If this happened when I cleaned up the desktop why are the parent folders still in place but all the contents gone?

I am perplexed...

1. The screenshot you took is a little too small for me to make out some of the details. However,

2. It looks like you are looking at an iCloud Drive folder. I have seen this behavior before. Check to see if you have an iCloud Drive “Archive” folder in your home folder and if you do, check to see if the documents you are looking for are in the Archive. This can happen when iCloud Drive is disabled then re-enabled.

3. Cleaning the desktop would not effect folders that live in other places. Even if you had aliases pointing elsewhere and tossed out the originals, you would still see the abandoned alias file. So that’s not what happened. I’m guessing this is related to iCloud.

4. Check at to see if you can locate those documents via a web browser.

5. Do you have a time machine backup that we could use to recover these files. I LOVE time machine and it usually saves the day.

Where did my iCloud documents go?

I tried to open the files I keep in the I Cloud drive on my desktop yesterday (I keep all of my Excel documents, word documents, and many pictures in the file) and the drive was empty. I opened the I Cloud screen and checked the I Cloud Drive box (picture 1) and for the past day and 1/2 the screen in the second picture has been showing.

The I Cloud Drive worked fine before you came on Friday so I think something must have happened while you were here. Perhaps a setting was changed????

Can you help me with this over the phone ASAP? I use the files in the I Cloud Drive daily.

My photo albums starting moving to my I Pad and I phone yesterday. It took 3 days which was surprising to me, but so happy that seems to be working. I need to move some professional photos from a folder in the I Cloud Drive (which I can’t find) to an album in Photos.


Ahh, I recall. Remember we logged out of your husband's account to log into yours. this was nessasary in order to allow your pictures a chance to sync. However, in doing so, we removed the documents from your computer that were living in his iCloud account. The documents and other files are not gone. They're still in his iCloud storage area. You just don't have access to them within your user. A few ways to solve this:

Choice 1: relog into his account and drag the files you want into a different folder then log back into your own. (this is a bit painful.)

Choice 2: Log into his iCloud account using and download the files you want via the web browser. You can then store them anywhere you'd like.

Make sense? I can help with the large moving but if you just need a few files for now, for your work, you can use choice 2 in the mean time.

iCloud Drive desktop documents sync

Apple has been chasing the success and functionality of Dropbox for some time and their latest iteration, iCloud drive, is not an equal either. I do not recommend using desktop and documents sync. Like Filevault, they are trying to get you to implement it by default but it turns things into a big mess. For 20 years your desktop and documents folder have resided in the Home directory. Now Apple makes those folders invisible and places aliases into the iCloud directory. This means if you don't see that coming, you'll most likely be very confused as to where everything went.

I get a lot of complaints "where did all my stuff go?" This also causes your desktop to continuously sync with the cloud which means you pay a price in performance. If you are working locally on a project that lives temporarily on your desktop, as many of us do, now the computer is split between syncing to the cloud and you working on the file. Imagine trying to cut video that lives in the dropbox folder. Not a good way of doing things.

Apple will continue to improve iCloud functionality and it will most likely surpass dropbox at some point, but for now, stay away from it.
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