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Stopping iCloud Backup Of Desktop and Docs?

Do you know if it is possible to turn off the option for Desktop and Documents backup to iCloud without it deleting everything on the local Mac? Want to do this for a friend but don’t really know if I want to trust the ability to restore the deleted files afterwards. (Friend only has one Mac and no need to share these files, plus good backup practices.) Also running out of iCloud space. Why does iCloud need to delete them from the local machine?
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Dana Schwartz

Comments: 3 Responses to “Stopping iCloud Backup Of Desktop and Docs?”

    7 months ago

    First, there is some confusion here. I think what you are asking is how to stop using iCloud for Desktop and Documents folders, right? Using the term “backup” is confusing because this is not a backup. iCloud Drive is a cloud syncing service. Time Machine is a backup. What iCloud Drive is doing is to store all of your files in iCloud Drive which makes them available across all of your devices and on Apple’s servers.

    If your friend wants to turn that off, the first thing to do would be to move all of the files from iCloud Drive into a local folder. Create a Local Documents folder in your user Home folder on your Mac’s hard drive. Then move all of your files from your iCloud Documents folder there. This will remove them from iCloud Drive. Do the same for your Desktop folder. Then you have have 0 files in Documents and Desktop folders.

    I would wait for your Time Machine backup to update before continuing, so you know you have a second copy of these files too.

    This is the safest way to do it. Then you can turn off Documents and Desktop. Once you do, you should have new Documents and Desktop folders in your Home folder. You should now move files from that Local Documents folder into there. Same with Desktop files.

    Or, just leave things the way they are. Having your Documents and Desktop folders in iCloud Drive makes them available on all of your Apple devices. It can also be used to store more files than you have room for on your Mac. There are lots of useful things it does. If you are short on space, then just upgrade to a paid iCloud Drive account. You spent the money on a premium computer (Mac), so why not spend $2.99 for some extra iCloud Drive space?

    Dana Schwartz
    7 months ago

    Yes, understand about using the termS “backup” And “sync” here. I was considering a similar procedure if I couldn’t prevent file deletion – just recovering the contents of Desktop and Documents from a recent Time Machine save. But making a separate copy locally is a good redundancy. It’s just annoying that a complete deletion is forced when simply turning off the syncing. Thanks.

    7 months ago

    Dana: Well, it isn’t “complete deletion” — the files are still in iCloud Drive, you are just turning off iCloud Drive so you no longer have access to them. If you were to turn it back on, you would get the access back.

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