iCloud Folder Sync Question

My wife and I both have user accounts (I’m the Admin) on a MBP and both have iCloud accounts with Documents synced to iCloud.

My wife works entirely on her iPad and the laptop account is there solely to help me manage stuff for her, such as photos and iCloud documents etc., but the problem is that I need to either use the iCloud web portal or sign is as her on the Mac, thereby disrupting my workflow to do any changes to her iCloud docs.

What I would like is to have the contents of her iCloud docs available to me when I am logged in to the Mac as myself.

As it is not possible to share a folder in iCloud, or sync two iCloud accounts to the same Mac OS user, I figured I could achieve my goal by syncing folders via Dropbox. So, whilst logged in as her, a job would run which would sync her iCloud docs with a copy in a shared Dropbox account. Then, when I logged in as me, the Dropbox copy would sync with the ‘Master’ copy in my profile. I would simply leave my laptop logged in as her one night a week for all the changes to sync.

Hazel has a sync feature, but it’s not a true sync and doesn’t handle conflicts. All the other sync apps that I have found are all above $40, which seems a lot when all I want to do is sync a single folder.

Does anyone know of any other workarounds or sync options that I can use to achieve my goal?

Thank you in advance.


Have you tried simply making her folder available to your user?

If the documents are in iCloud can’t she (or you using her account) just add you to the document? In iOS if you go to the files app, choose the iCloud Drive, find the file and press the share button there is an “Add people” option which will allow them access to the file. There’s an ‘Add people’ in the iCloud Drive page of the iCloud website too, and I’m sure you could do the same from macOS somehow.

I’ve not tried this so I’m not sure if this will give you the access you’re after, or will just send you a link to the file, but it might be worth a try.

YellowFrogToaster: This would be perfect, but you can only share documents in iCloud, not folders.

Rosemary: How do you mean - in Mac OS? I didn’t think of that. If so, how would that be achieved?

This is one of my top iCloud Wishlist items! If Apple introduces shared folders, it’d be a game-changer for my collaboration with my partner! (I mean, currently we share a few folders through Dropbox, but that’s about all we use Dropbox for and would be nice to be able to move away completely!)

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I think I can do it using Folder Sharing in Mac OS (I’ve never used this feature before). I’ve done the share on my wife’s side of her whole iCloud folder in Library/Mobile Documents, but can’t figure how to pick this up when logged in as me. Her Library folder doesn’t show up when I browse to her user folder because
it’s a system folder and therefore hidden.

In the “Sharing” of system settings, each user can select folders to be shared to other users on the machine.

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I’ve never used the Sharing stuff before, but when you tipped me off about them, I figured it out - although I ended up setting the folder permissions using the Info panes rather than using the Sharing thing (I can’t remember why, but I had issues with the Sharing feature). The only problem was that the iCloud folders are hidden in the Library folder, so had to do some visibility changes on my user to be able to navigate to her iCloud folder.

Another thing that I had never really used was the multi-user on one laptop feature. I found out that, if I had signed in as my wife, but not actually signed out and just switched users when logging in as me, if I changed anything in her iCloud (whilst logged in as me), the iCloud sync under her user still ran and consequently, her iCloud/devices were updated, so I never actually need to log in as her now.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.


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Also, iCloud data is not really stored very nicely. In the top level folder, you have the individual folders for Pages, Numbers and any other apps that use iCloud, then, you have a separate folder called Documents, where anything else that you want to put in iCloud lives. The cleanest way is to dispense with using the Pages, Number etc folders (which are legacy strictly speaking and no longer needed) and just store your iWork app documents in the Documents folder.

It works a treat now!