iCloud Drive

Truth is, “cloud” is an annoying buzzword. Most of the time, when people say “in the cloud,” they mean “online” or “on the Internet”—terms that have served us perfectly well for years.

In any case, you can save your files online, into an online “hard drive” called iCloud Drive. The advantage here is that your files are now available for opening or editing from any computer or gadget you use, including iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches.


iCloud Drive replaces a much more limited feature called Documents in the Cloud, which worked in only a few programs—Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Preview, and TextEdit. What’s new is that (a) you can now put anything on your drive, and (b) it has an actual Finder icon.

iCloud Drive Defined

iCloud Drive is like a magic folder. In the Finder, it’s represented by an iCloud Drive icon () in the Sidebar of every window.

Whatever you put into it appears, almost instantly, in the iCloud Drive folder on all your other machines: Macs, iPhones, iPads, and even Windows PCs. In fact, your files will even be available at iCloud.com, so you can grab them even when you’re stranded on a desert island with nothing but somebody else’s computer. (If this concept reminds you of the popular free program Dropbox, then you’re very wise.) Figure 5-26 shows the idea.

This is an incredibly useful feature. No more emailing files to yourself. No more carrying things around ...

Get OS X El Capitan: The Missing Manual now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.