Forum Question: How To See a Document On iOS Device That Was Created Using TextEdit and Saved In iCloud

Like many others, I have been experimenting with the new iCloud features in Mountain Lion. For example, I have created some documents using TextEdit on my iMac and MacBook Pro and see that , as designed, a document created on either computer can be viewed on the other, thanks to iCloud.
But what I am wondering is how to use my iPhone to view documents that were created using TextEdit on my Mac. Can it be done?
I do believe a similar thing could be done if I had the latest version of Pages running on all devices, but here I am wondering about TextEdit.
Richard Fuhr

Comments: 28 Responses to “How To See a Document On iOS Device That Was Created Using TextEdit and Saved In iCloud”

    7/26/12 @ 12:53 pm

    So the way iCloud works is that apps have their own spaces for documents. Pages has a space, TextEdit has a space, Keynote has a space, etc. It is kind of like iOS in that respect.
    So if you save a Pages document on your Mac to iCloud, then you can see it on your other Macs by choosing File, Open in Pages. Likewise, you can see it in Pages on iOS too. But you can only see Pages documents with Pages. You can’t see Keynote, Numbers of TextEdit documents.
    So the problem is that there is no TextEdit app for iOS. So there is no app corresponding to the document space.
    I don’t know if we will ever see a TextEdit app for iOS. Perhaps one day they will add a special function in Pages for iOS to look over into the TextEdit document space. But I wouldn’t bet on it.
    This will be something third-party developers start to use too. So a developer could make app X for Mac and iOS and they could use iCloud for a shared document space between them. Once a few dozen powerful third-party apps start to use iCloud, then people will begin to realize how powerful iCloud is. Many people will cease to use their local hard drives to store anything at all.

      N Niranjan
      7/26/12 @ 2:21 pm

      OK – this makes sense but are these documents only accessible with an Internet connection.

      For example, could you take a MacBook out and work on s document when you’re not connected to the web?

      That’s one thing that would make it hard to not stick with Deopbox.

        7/26/12 @ 3:38 pm

        You can work on them when not connected, yes. If your MacBook has had a connection and time to update the iCloud docs, it will have them. Then you can work on them offline. Then when you connect it will send them to the server as an update. Very much like Dropbox.

      John M. Hammer
      7/26/12 @ 3:48 pm

      This file system (or lack thereof) where files are completely sequestered by app is nuts. Why shouldn’t a user be able to open a TextEdit .rtf document in Pages, or vice-versa? On a single device one can copy-paste, but it becomes a real problem in cases such as the one described by Mr. Ruhr.

      Note that there are pairs of apps already available with good iCloud support. Take a look at Byword for both Mac OS X and iOS, which is also a pretty nice text composer and, for those who use markdown, a really excellent word processor.

    7/27/12 @ 12:20 pm

    I don’t understand. Why create the ability for textedit to save to the cloud when one cannot see it on, say, an iPad?
    I’m a novelist, and I certainly will not be using icloud. I don’t care what protection Apple’s got. My work stays on my hard drive.
    Apple is making us all extremely lazy. As a point; If, when I reach a destination, I cannot remember to buy something or phone somebody, placing my reliance on Reminders, I may as well book my place into a care home now. Use your brain or lose it.

      7/27/12 @ 1:15 pm

      Because many people (myself included) have more than one Mac. I can work on an TextEdit document between my desktop and laptop Macs. I can even access it on another Mac through
      There are lots of Mac apps that are not on iOS and would be in the same situation. iCloud isn’t just for Mac+iOS, it is for Mac+Mac, iOS+iOS, etc.
      I’m interested in your second statement. Why not use iCloud? What’s your reasoning?

        7/29/12 @ 6:45 pm

        Gary, I’m saving files from TextEdit and Preview to iCloud, yet, when I sign into iCloud I cannot find them ? I think that is what you’re saying in your last post. What am I missing ?

          7/29/12 @ 8:47 pm

          Right. That’s what I am saying. If you are looking in, then you can only find “iWork” documents there — Pages, Numbers and Keynote. In iOS there is no TextEdit app pr Preview app, so there is no app to use to access these. They are Mac apps and thus their documents can only get accessed on the Mac.

      12/11/12 @ 1:00 pm

      Molly, For some, no amount of mind exercise will prevent the loss. Tools which make life easier, like reminders, are welcome innovations for the aging population, and just in time. It is not a question of being lazy. I hope you never have to find out for yourself.

      The problem I have with iCloud is the cost, including space rental and network usage. For example, why should I have to download one of my several hundred albums, to whichever device, to listen to a song, already stored on it? That is why I quit iCloud.

        12/11/12 @ 1:03 pm

        iCloud is free. But you are talking about albums. So maybe you mean iTunes Match? iTunes Match and iCloud are two different things. Don’t confuse them. And if the song is already stored on the particular machine and available in iTunes, it won’t re-download it again. It only downloads if the song isn’t on that machine.

    7/29/12 @ 9:44 pm

    After reading every post on this thread, that is what I understood. However, there was one sentence that you typed that made me confused “I can even access it on another Mac through”. This is the part I do not understand, sorry.

      7/29/12 @ 9:46 pm

      Right, sorry for the confusion. Only Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents can be accessed via — but perhaps in the future they will add more.

    Michael Wheless
    7/29/12 @ 10:35 pm

    Gary, Just to add my two-cents to the mix, I am glad you have encouraged us to use iCloud. I was quite reluctant to use it. I am not using my devices for professional purposes, but my documents and such are important to me and I didn’t want to risk any loss. I also have a concern that the instructions will be simple for set up, but lead me into a situation I will regret later.

    Today is my first day with Mountain Lion and I decided to take the plunge to using iCloud. My reasoning was simple. I had begin to use my iOS devices (iPads and iPod) and enjoyed the simplicity of use. I wanted to explore the interoperability of the Mac I have (MBP 2011) and the iOS devices. Mountain Lion seemed to give me that chance.

    I had concerns about data loss and slow or intermittent connections. Where I live it is very hard to get good connections to the internet (I use an ISP which send my internet connection via cellphone to an antenna).

    In fact, the connection speed was adequate whenever I saved to iCloud and the same for retrieving it. I was very impressed with the iCloud dot com site you showed us with one of your podcasts. It added another layer of connectivity.

    I accept the limitations such as lack of text edit documents and a limited iMessage on the Mac which is less than the iOS. For now, Apple has made the process pretty seamless.

    I did have a moment of pause when I first set up the iCloud account. The instructions made it sound like if I removed (unchecked) a feature of iCloud, data would be removed from my Mac. Once I realized the instructions referred only to the iCloud data, it all made sense.

    Thanks for encouraging us to go forward with iCloud. As always, your podcasts have helped.

    7/30/12 @ 4:24 am

    Documents tied to applications is one of the worst ideas that Apple have had for a long time. It’s ok for some type of documents of course, but for documents that uses standard file formats like TXT, RTF, JPG etc, documents should be possible to open with multiple applications.

      7/30/12 @ 7:27 am

      Well, you mention jpg. Images, in other words. You CAN open them with multiple apps — always could have using iOS. Apple apps and third party apps have the ability to access the photos on the device, and put new ones into that photos space. So maybe there is more to Apple’s plan than you realize.

        7/31/12 @ 3:01 am

        Well – for JPG (which I think is the only exception) I can OPEN it in lots of applications on iOS, but it opens a copy which is then exported back to the photoalbum. It is not a normal open/save process, but an import/export function. So if I need to edit a photo with three different photo apps, I get three different copies of the photo which causes more disk usage and even worse: versioning problems. It may be easy to see which photo is the latest version, but if the same thing happens for text documents that’s much worse.

        I really hope there’s more to Apple’s plan than I realize, because so far it does not look good.

          7/31/12 @ 7:39 am

          Why would you need to open a text document in different apps, though? Most users (especial iPad users) wouldn’t need to edit text documents. They would be editing word processing documents on a specific word processor. So they create a Pages document in Pages and edit it in Pages. So what’s the big deal? Document spaces gives a lot of simplicity and security. But it is just not what you are used to.
          It sounds like what you really want is a computer, not an iPad. So get a computer. That is anyone’s option. But don’t expect an iPad to be a computer.

    Michael Wheless
    7/31/12 @ 5:31 pm

    Gary, Not to beat a dead horse, but I agree with your assessment. One of the reasons I regularly check your forum and use your podcasts is the practical manner in which you address issues. These discussions about capabilities of individual devices will likely go on so long as there are consumers buying different products with different expectations. I like the fact that Apple products fall into distinct categories. There are some interoperability benefits with an OS such as ML. However, I am glad you remind your readers that there are differences between devices. “You can please all of the people some of the time……….”

    8/1/12 @ 2:49 am

    Sure – I do want a computer. And I do want an iPad. And luckily I have both :)

    But I might want to edit a document using a full blown word processor on my Mac Pro, but would like to chose which one I would like to use on other devices, even on my MBA with a limited size SSD. I know that currently I do not have to use iCloud, but we’re probably getting there. On each device I would like to use the app that is best on that device and/or is best suited for the task I would do. That’s what we do with the photo apps in the iPhone, right.

    Standard file formats should have been possible to open and save in all apps that supports those file formats. Import/export leads to version conflicts.

    A document space is a good idea, but not tied to a specific application.

    11/5/12 @ 4:49 am

    I just upgraded to Mountain Lion and the default save setting for text edit is iCloud, yet I cannot easily access these docs “on my Mac” as my Library has NO “mobile documents” folder (I assume because I do not have iWork on my MBA?) and text edit window pane does not offer “Cloud” vs. “On my Mac” option – so at the moment the only way I have found that I can access my “cloud” text edit docs is by searching my MBA. How can I create a “mobile documents” or ‘iCloud” folder in my Finder?

      11/5/12 @ 4:55 am

      AH – I just found the “iCloud” and “On my Mac” option by going to “File, open” in TextEdit…yet I’d still like to have a folder in my Finder sidebar for easier access to my Textedit docs stored in iCloud – any answers?

        11/5/12 @ 5:45 am

        Never mind – I’ve discovered that you can’t access TextEdit docs on iCloud website, so what’s the use of saving them to iCloud anyway? Since you can’t access TextEdit on iOS devices, what’s the use of putting them in iCloud if you can’t access them on another computer via the iCloud website?!?!?

          11/5/12 @ 7:35 am

          It is very useful for those that have more than one Mac (work and home, or desktop and laptop). You can save your TextEdit documents to iCloud and then work on them from either machine very easily.

            11/6/12 @ 11:23 am

            Thanks Gary for your reply. I’ve also found a site that says:
            “Even if you’re not using multiple Apple devices, one of the useful features of saving TextEdit documents to iCloud is that if your Mac ever crashes or is stolen, your documents are in the iCloud where they can be retrieved.”
            This all makes sense and seems sound advice, except I still don’t see how one accesses text edit files in iCloud from a different Mac, since going to online iCloud account does not offer any clue how to access files other than iWork. Does anyone have an answer?

              11/6/12 @ 11:37 am

              The way you access them on another Mac is to simply run TextEdit. As long as the Mac is connected to the Internet and using the same iCloud account, then TextEdit should show the same documents across all of your Macs.
              But perhaps what you are asking is how to access these from a Mac that is not yours. Right now, there is no way. So the iCloud Documents section of TextEdit is not a good way to share TextEdit documents with others or on Macs you don’t own. It is for accessing your documents on your Macs.

                11/6/12 @ 1:12 pm

                Thanks – that’s just want I needed to know!

            1/22/13 @ 4:42 pm

            Get with it Gary. For 7 months I’ve been waiting for Apple to get its act together and give IOS an iCloud-compatible text editor to access and sync from ANY Apple device. This IS Apple’s vision, is it not. If they can’t deliver on this integration promise, I might as well use Android devices along side my Mac. At least then I could sync my life through Google’s tools. Because they get it.

    2/21/13 @ 8:32 am

    Since I was a Mobile Me subscriber, Apple gave me a bit of storage space beyond what’s available with the free account, but when it expires, I won’t pay to renew the upgraded space; I’ll spend the money instead on a bigger Dropbox account, because I have full access to every document on all my devices, just like the now discontinued iDisk. I think Apple has dropped the ball on this one.

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