The Incredible New iCloud Drive in macOS Sierra

By Bob LeVitus

iCloud has been around in various forms for years, but iCloud Drive is the current incarnation in macOS Sierra which takes advantage of Apple’s remote storage service.

iCloud Drive stores files of any type in iCloud. It’s built into Sierra and works like any other folder on your Mac. In other words, you can drag documents of any type into it, organize them with folders and tags if you care to, and find them with Spotlight.

The best part is that the files are not only available on your Mac, but on your iPhone, iPad, or Windows PC as well. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you need more than 5GB of storage space, it’s going to cost you. You get up to 5GB at no cost; if you need more it’s 99 cents per month for 50GB, $2.99 per month for 200GB, or $9.99 per month for 1TB.

Not that long ago, iCloud was much more expensive: $40 per year for 25GB, or $100 per year for 55GB. Compare that to the current pricing of $12 per year for 50GB or $36 per year for 200GB. Kudos to Apple for making iCloud Drive not just convenient but also (more) affordable.

Although iCloud Drive should be enabled by default, if yours isn’t (you don’t see it in the Sidebar), launch System Preferences, click the iCloud icon, and then enable the check box for iCloud Drive.

If you still don’t see it in your Sidebar, open Finder Preferences (Finder → Finder Preferences), click the Sidebar icon, and then enable the check box to Show iCloud Drive in the Sidebar.

In Sierra you can choose to store the contents of your Desktop and Documents folders in iCloud rather than on your startup disk. The upside is that files in those folders are available to all of your Macs (assuming you have more than one) and via the iCloud website. The downside is that you have to have internet access to use those files.

If that appeals to you, click the Options button next to iCloud Drive in the iCloud System Preferences Pane and enable the checkbox for Desktop & Documents Folders.