How to Locally Back Up Documents Stored on iCloud


Joel writes: I’m interested in using iCloud on my Mac to sync and store documents from applications like Pages and Keynote. However, I don’t like the idea of my documents existing only on Apple servers and want to keep local backup copies via Time Machine or a disk clone. How can I backup my iCloud data?



iCloud is very helpful for syncing documents between your Macs and iDevices and, thankfully, users do not have to choose between storing their data on iCloud versus their local Mac. This is because copies of all iCloud documents are stored on your Mac inside your Library folder.

You can find copies of your iCloud data in your home folder at ~/Library/Mobile Documents. Starting with OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple hid easy access to your Library folder from within Finder. Users now have two slightly out-of-the-way methods for getting there:

1) Open Finder and press Command-Shift-G, enter the address above, and press Return; or

Library Go Menu

2) Hold down the Option key while selecting Finder’s “Go” menu in the menubar, select “Library,” which will now be listed, and then navigate to the Mobile Documents folder manually.

Library Go Menu

Inside this folder you’ll find subfolders for each application that stores and syncs documents via iCloud. Inside each subfolder are your documents for that application and any iCloud folders you may have created.

Users who want to back up their iCloud data merely need to ensure that Time Machine or their third-party backup software is configured to copy the Mobile Documents folder.

With a local backup and iCloud syncing, users can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Teaser graphic via Shutterstock.