Friday, December 07, 2012

Taming iCloud: Show stored files in Finder search, change default save location.

Perhaps, like me, you don't like having iCloud as the default location for all file actions. Disabling iCloud document and data storage will fix this, but you may want to know what you've stored on iCloud first.

You can't do that from the web UI. Instead you have to inspect the hidden local caches:

A quick way to see everything you've stored is to do a Spotlight search across Mobile Documents with the string '.' (A single period.)
Before you disable iCloud you can copy documents in the Mobile Documents folder to your local drive. After you disable iCloud Document store I believe Mobile Documents will empty. If you restore iCloud data then the data will again be locally cached.
Looking at what's stored in this folder I decided to hold off on disabling iCloud for now. I saved the 'any kind' Spotlight search described above to my Sidebar; now I have a quick way of seeing what documents are in iCloud. Instead I used this tip to revert the Mountain Lion save behavior to the old standard.

Incidentally, you can use iCloud as a general document store to pass files around, but this is unsupported. I used to use DropBox for this, but for various reasons I currently use Google Drive.[1]

[1] I'm sure someone has experimented with putting a symbolic link to a Google Drive folder inside the iCloud Mobile Documents folder.


Martin said...

Can Google Drive really replace Dropbox?

I still use Wuala, meanwhile for a high two-digit number of GB, to sync data between my Macs and to share some data with my wife. Encryption and support for any directory are the main advantages.

John Gordon said...

I think for my uses it can, but I'm being quite cautious about it.