How to Show iCloud Status Indicator in Mac Finder

May 17, 2019 - 6 Comments

iCloud Status indicators in Mac Finder

If you’re a Mac user who relies on iCloud Drive for data syncing and cloud storage, you might appreciate knowing that you can enable an optional iCloud Status indicator in the Mac Finder.

The iCloud Status indicators in Finder can tell you if a file or folder is only in iCloud, on the local Mac, ineligible for iCloud, waiting to upload, transferring, and more. Note these iCloud Status indicators are different from progress indicators, though you can also check the progress of iCloud file uploads and downloads in Mac OS if desired.

How to Enable iCloud Status Indicator for Mac iCloud Folders

  1. Go to the Mac Finder
  2. Finder icon on the Mac

  3. Navigate to an iCloud Drive folder, or if you use iCloud Desktop and iCloud Documents to there *
  4. Switch the folder to List View (click the List view button, or go to View menu > As List)
  5. Pull down the “View” menu and choose “View Options”
  6. Check the box for “iCloud Status” to enable the iCloud Status indicator for the iCloud Drive folder
  7. Close out of View Options

Once the iCloud Status view option has been enabled, it will be visible as a column in List view. Like other sort columns, you can move it around as desired.

iCloud Status indicators in Mac Finder

You can also right click on the file list headers and choose to toggle “iCloud Status” from there, which is quicker than going to View Options preference panel.

How to show iCloud Status indicator in Mac Finder

Note if you disabled iCloud Desktop and Documents folders on MacOS so that your desktop and documents aren’t uploading into iCloud, then this iCloud status indicator feature won’t be available for those directories, and instead will be limited to iCloud Drive. This is signified by the iCloud Status option being grayed out and unselectable.

With the iCloud Status indicators enabled, anytime you are copying files to iCloud Drive from Mac or moving files to iCloud from Mac OS you will see the indicator change for those files. Likewise if there is other activity within the iCloud folders, that will show with the iCloud status indicator as well.

If you frequently put data into iCloud Drive or an iCloud enabled Documents or Desktop folder, you might want to think about adding iCloud Drive to the Mac Dock for quick access. It can also be helpful to watch upload progress of files and folders that are transferring to iCloud from the Mac.

Have any tips or tricks about the iCloud Status indicators in Mac Finder? Share them with us in the comments!


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


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. John Charles Bruckman says:

    Hi Beau:

    Thank you for your kindness in crafting a detailed response.

    At least I can quit looking for a solution on Apple.


  2. Thank you, that was very helpful.

    I am a photographer and have to deal with very large files from the field (50-100GB). I use an MacBook Pro to delete 80% of the original image folder and then take it over to the iMac for further reduction and final editing.

    I have a major space problem on the iMac, which is my also my work computer. All of the iCloud folders on the iMac are also stored on my HD (500GB) leaving me very little work space.

    How can I place them in iCloud but not on my HD?

    The iCloud folders on my MacBook Pro are only stored in iCloud, therefore I do not have a working space issue. I do not know how it turned out that way.

    I spent two months working with four Senior Apple Advisors and each one had a different model and potential solution. It created mayhem on both computers.

    Now I am attempting to solve the issue on my own.

    Your advice would be warmly welcomed.


    • Beau says:

      What you request, which is to store files in iCloud but not on the local hard drive, is unfortunately not the way iCloud Drive works. Many people would like that feature as it would allow for local disk storage saving, but it simply isn’t offered through iCloud Drive (currently anyway). I dove into this myself looking for the same solution, iCloud Drive does not offer it.

      Using a different cloud drive service is one option, like OneDrive (from Microsoft) Files On Demand service, DropBox (choose the folders you don’t want to sync), Google Drive (again choosing folders you don’t want to sync), etc.

      Why does iCloud not offer this ability for Mac users? That is anyones guess. But iCloud Drive syncs data across everything it’s connected to and there is no way to exclude a folder from that syncing to keep it in iCloud Drive and on-demand download it.

  3. Jignesh says:

    This was definitely helpful. At times, when I want to quickly shutdown my MBP, I fear whether backup is complete or not. This tip will surely help.

  4. Shirley says:

    I really like Column View, will it work in Column View?

  5. Red Five says:

    Note: Not available in El Capitan. Works in Mojave for certain, don’t know about Sierra or High Sierra.

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