I think David and Stephen may have been incorrect - waiting for lightning to strike! :-)

I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think @MacSparky and @ismh may have made a mistake in MPU’s episode 572 iPhone & iPad Tips. In this episode David and Stephen said that there is not a way to save documents to the desktop on the Mac and have them show up on the iPhone or iPad. To get around this limitation they recommend apps like Yoink.

I may well have misunderstood them as I was listening while on my daily run. If so, I sincerely apologize as I’m one of the least qualified on this forum to ever challenge something that David and Stephen say. But, on the off chance that I am correct, I thought this might be helpful to those on the forum.

As shown in the screenshots below, I have been saving documents on the iCloud desktop and having them available on my iOS devices and vice versa for a long time.

Mac Screenshot showing saving a document from Drafts to desktop

Mac Screenshot showing result

iPad Screenshot

iPhone Screenshot

@MacSparky and @ismh I apologize to both of you if I misunderstood. Yours is the first podcast I always listen to and I consider it one of the best! :slight_smile:

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This only works if you sync the downloads folder and desktop through iCloud. Otherwise you have another Desktop folder which naturally doesn’t sync :slight_smile:


I have been doing this for a few years now. At some point, I probably set up what @RosemaryOrchard mentions. I have found it to meet a core need in my various workflows. This connectivity between all devices is what keeps me safely within the mac eco-system.

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@RosemaryOrchard I enjoy listening to you on iOS Today and Nested Folders. :slight_smile:

As to the desktop, my point is that one doesn’t need a shelf app to drop things to the desktop and share them across devices. Something like Yoink may be better, depending on one’s use case, but dropping to the desktop may work well for many.

As to syncing, I’m not sure how/when this happened on my devices as I don’t recall intentionally setting the desktop and download folders to sync. At some point, perhaps with one of the upgrades, it just starting syncing–perhaps a new default behavior?

Thanks again Rose. You are a blessing to the Mac community!

This behavior is controlled through iCloud settings on your Mac.

 > System Preferences… > Apple ID > iCloud Drive Options…

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Thanks, I must have set that up without recalling doing so. The good news is may be helpful to others. Thanks!

Is it possible to only sync the desktop? I would prefer that because my documents would take up too much of my icloud drive space.

I’m probably not the best person to ask as there are far more knowledgeable folks on this forum. ICloud storage is not an issue for me as I am an Apple One subscriber with a large iCloud storage plan so syncing everything is not an issue for me. Sorry I’m not more help.

An alternative is also to use an app called DropZone. Set up a folder drop action that will move or copy files into a specific iCloud folder. I use this approach to move files from my desktop machine to my iPad for more efficient markup/annotation.

I imagine that the process could be automated with AppleScript or KM or BTT (e.g. via a “Watch Folder” approach).


I haven’t listened to the episode, but if this was the assertion then @Bmosbacker is correct. There is a way, and it is a native feature of macOS.

That it also syncs the Documents folder is an aspect of this feature but does not detract from the fact that it can be done. For those who don’t want their Documents folder to clutter up iCloud, you don’t have to store your documents there.

I have the opposite problem. I’d like my Pictures folder (sans the Photos library) synced to iCloud, but it’s not included in the feature. So I put very little in there and instead created a Pictures (shared) folder in iCloud and put that in my Finder sidebar. That’s where I store pictures and related stuff. The bonus is I don’t even have to change the default location of the Photos library (though of course I could if needed).

2 posts were split to a new topic: Sync Yoink Data & Best Shelf App?

Robert is right … that is another way to sync, though in my experience, apps like Yoink are more convenient. I’m adding this to the feedback list.