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iCloud Drive question....  



Hi all! I am using Catalina on a MBP 2014. I enabled iCloud Drive and checked the box to sync Documents and Desktop. Well, after it was all done syncing I realized that I didn't want to sync ALL the folders in the Documents folder, just a few select ones. I want to access some files on my iPhone XS through the Files folder. 

I looked for a solution for not synching some folders and found that I could put .nosync in the name of the folder and it won't sync. I guess that will be ok. 

Now what I want to do is to remove those folders that I named .nosync. Can I safely move those back to my Mac without corrupting or messing up anything? Just drag and drop?? 

Just want to make sure that I can do this without creating more of a mess... Thank you, Judy

3 Answers

I’ve got a 2013 MBP and use iCloud all the time. I’m pretty sure you just drag whatever you don’t want synced out of your iCloud Drive and you’re good to go. Typically I’m away from home at the moment and only have iPad and iPhone with me so I can’t test it but I’m 90% sure that’s how it works! Good luck!


Thank you, Steve_S1W! I think it's pretty simple but I don't want to screw something up.


I would begin with this article. Set up iCloud Drive on a computer, iOS device, or iPadOS device.

The "do not back up" attribute is a feature reserved for Apple developers. Don't use that method as a workaround to reach your gaol because if Apple changes something in their developer method, your continued use of that method may suddenly fail. It's for developers for a specific purpose.

--- Further Steps

Unfortunately I left a long detailed reply but after clicking on update my edit did not update. I apologize but I want to help so I will leave a brief reply, ask away if it's not clear.

Go to and sign in. Put this window off to the side.

Go to the Finder, Finder menu > Preferences > Sidebar icon > and turn on iCloud Drive. Open a Finder window and if the sidebar is not visible go to the View menu and click on "Show Sidebar". Click on the iCloud Drive from the Finder Sidebar. Put this window off to the side.

Go to System Preferences, click on iCloud, find iCloud Drive and click on Options and make sure the Documents at the top this window is selected.

No with all three windows open, make some observations to learn how all these correlate to one another.

I hope these further steps help you.

This post was modified 7 months ago 2 times by Alex Santos


Thank you, Alex, for those very good directions.

There is one big folder in my Documents folder that really doesn't need to be on iCloud Drive-that is why I added that .nosync. It's almost 20GB of stuff (I just removed the .nosync from all the folders).

The folders that are in Documents that don't need to be in iCloud Drive, can I just drag those to the Finder side bar and keep them there rather than in Documents?

So I have iCloud Drive in the Finder side bar. Documents and Desktop are there also but the latter 2 are also listed in Favorites. Is that that way it should be? See screenshot.

Screen Shot 2020 01 24 at 3.43.02 PM

Thank you so much for taking the time to get back to me. I really appreciate the help. Judy


Sorry for the delayed response. As per the 20GB file, if your iCloud system preferences is indeed being instructed to backup the contents of the Documents folder, moving the 20GB file elsewhere (somewhere iCloud doesn't concern itself with, then yes, the backup on iCloud should disappear as a result of moving the said 20GB folder.

The 20GB folder can be moved and you should eventually see that item disappear from /a> and return those 20GB back as available space on /a>. I believe the web page should update itself but if you don't see it happen you can always refresh the browser window.

Moving that folder elsewhere will not remove it from your hard drive, it will simply remove attribution of the said folder from iCloud's system preferences link to the documents folder.

With respect to your last question regarding Favorites. If you go to Finder Preference and click the Sidebar icon you will find that there is a long list of icons that are divided into a few groups, Favorites, Shared, Devices and Tags. Turning these on or off triggers those items that you toggle to appear or disappear in a Finders window's sidebar.

Finder Preferences and Sidebar


In the example screenshot you will find that I have some items in my Finder window Favorites category, namely Alex's CD Folders, Dropbox, Google Drive and NEW MATERIAL FOR FOSS. They appear in my favorites bar because I dragged and dropped those items from the finder to the sidebar. You can add any file or folder to the favorites sidebar. In extension, the Devices tab allows for USB drives or mounted network volumes.

If you switch to the Finder, click the Help menu and enter "sidebar" and several Help Topics will appear with relevant (hopefully) articles. I believe that most people overlook the Help menu. Even I use it less often than I should, falling back to a google search but the built in help topics actually load from Apple's support pages when online.




You can click on those screenshots to zoom in.

This post was modified 7 months ago 2 times by Alex Santos


Thank you!!! You were a big help and you are right about those Help files-they only help if you use them... Have a great weekend and thanks again, Judy

… with pleasure.