Move a File to iCloud from a Mac with OS X

Aug 28, 2012 - 4 Comments

Moving files into iCloud from Mac

The newer versions of OS X let you move files directly into iCloud from your Mac, these files can then be opened on any other Mac or iOS device set up with the same iCloud account. This is extremely convenient if you want to quickly move a file around but don’t want to copy it manually or with a USB drive, particularly when text documents that are lightweight and easily sent around through the cloud.

Not all apps and not all versions of OS X support the feature yet, but here’s how to do it with the the Mac Finder in modern versions of OS X, and also how to do it with all apps that are iCloud equipped. For this example we’ll use TextEdit, but you could use Pages, Preview, Numbers, etc.

How to Move Files Into iCloud the Easy Way from Mac OS X Finder

Of course the easiest way is to to simply drag and drop a file into the iCloud Drive window of OS X Finder, that will move the file to iCloud Drive (not copy it, a distinct difference).

  • Select “iCloud Drive” from the sidebar
  • Drag and drop a file into the appropriate iCloud Drive folder to move it (again, this does not copy, it moves it from local storage to iCloud)

Moving a file to iCloud Drive from Mac

But not all versions of OS X are Yosemite and El Capitan with direct iCloud Drive access. With older versions of OS X you can still move files to iCloud, but you do it through an application instead. That application approach works in modern OS X versions too, however.

Moving Files to iCloud Drive from an Application in OS X

  • Click the file name in the title bar to pull down the contextual submenu and choose “Move to iCloud”
  • Confirm the move from your hard drive into iCloud by clicking “Move Document”

Move a File to iCloud from Mac OS X

Of course, some apps now choose iCloud as the default save location, a setting which can be changed back to local storage if you don’t like it. Whether or not that’s enabled though, you can still move current local documents to the cloud and the method above is the easiest way to do so. You can also pull down the “File” menu and select “Move To…” and choose iCloud as the destination, however.

Assuming you’re online it will be sent to iCloud immediately. You can verify the document is there by looking at the “Open” menu in apps that support iCloud storage, which will default to to showing you the iCloud file list of items compatible with that app.

iCloud document list

Once the file is in iCloud, you’ll be able to open it from anywhere else configured with the same iCloud account. Any changes made to the document will also reflect everywhere else you use the file, so you can make a quick change on the go with your iPad and it’ll be the same when you get home to your Mac.

Not all apps support the iCloud storage feature yet, but with how integrated iCloud is becoming to iOS and OS X you can bet the supported app list will only grow.

Enjoy this tip? Subscribe to the OSXDaily newsletter to get more of our great Apple tips, tricks, and important news delivered to your inbox! Enter your email address below:

Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. joe says:

    Is there a way of saving a batch of document files (pages, numbers etc..) from mac to icloud without having to go into each individual document and re-saving? calso an you create file structures in iCloud as i would like to group documents by project for ease of reference. Thanks

  2. thongrim says:

    you can simply Drag and drop the Files from Finder to any of the icloud boxes that come when you open any icloud enabled application (I tried with keynote).

  3. GED says:

    Moving files to the cloud is good via Lion but 1 problem is you are unable to open textedit files and pdf’s on ipad / iphone. There is IOS apps for pages, numbers and keynote but not text edit and Preview. Maybe IOS 6 will solve this!

  4. Craig says:

    I learned today that you can also attach documents stored in iCloud to emails. Click the paper clip and you’ll see iCloud as a storage location.

Leave a Reply


Shop for Apple & Mac Deals on

Subscribe to OSXDaily

Subscribe to RSS Subscribe to Twitter Feed Follow on Facebook Subscribe to eMail Updates