As of Sierra(?) opening ~/Library/Mobile Documents in the Finder actually takes you to ~/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs. This the Finder stylizes as "iCloud Drive" and only has folders for certain applications.

It is still possible to access Mobile Documents proper through Terminal, but even when opening the directory in Finder directly from Terminal it redirects to com~apple~CloudDocs.

Is it possible to access the root Mobile Documents folder from Finder?

  • Probably an XY question - what do you really want to do once you get finder to show you the root of mobile documents? – bmike Jan 21 '17 at 17:50
  • @bmike I want to manage all of my iCloud data in a UI that I'm familiar with. I can do everything I need to with Terminal, but I'd much rather use a GUI. Sounds like Path Finder or something may be my only option then. – Tuesday Jan 21 '17 at 17:52
  • Cool - just wondering if there was another way to get you a solution. Maybe someone will post a hack to Finder to short circuit the change or otherwise mess with cloud sync. I would hate to suggest anything that would cascade delete your iCloud data since you don't get an easy way to back that up at present. – bmike Jan 21 '17 at 17:55
  • Have you tried disabling the iCloud drive in system preferences and then trying to access that folder in finder? – wch1zpink Jan 21 '17 at 17:58
  • Perhaps you could use something like nnn to make management in Terminal easier? – Skeleton Bow Apr 21 '17 at 8:57

I found a really nice type of workaround for this from here. Essentially you need to run the following command in Terminal:

ln -s ~/Library/Mobile\ Documents/ ~/Desktop/Real\ iCloud\ Drive

This will create an alias on your desktop that shows all the folders in the Mobile Documents folder when you open it. You are free to browse it to your liking—albeit with one caveat: you can't directly open any folders. You'll have to use the list view's ability to expand folders and then view files from there.

  • This answer is not working for me. Specifically in macOS Big Sur (dec. 2020) When I open the alias from the desktop, Finder automatically highlights iCloud Drive in the sidebar and the "cloaked" normal iCloud Drive is displayed. Should I start a new question linking here or can this be updated? – Andreas Dec 4 '20 at 3:19
  • I would +1 a new question since worst case, we end up learning later there’s a different fix and close it back to here... good details @Andreas – bmike Dec 5 '20 at 5:08
  • @Andreas It may very well be possible this was prevented in Big Sur. Maybe you could try using a file manager like ForkLift to view the folder. I am not sure as I haven't updated to Big Sur yet – Skeleton Bow Dec 5 '20 at 16:10

No - you'll need an alternative GUI program to see that folder.

Finder is hard coded to not show you that folder no matter how you try to navigate there.


Open Terminal and enter the following:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

Hold the ‘Option/alt’ key, then right click on the Finder icon in the dock and click Relaunch.

Mobile Documents will now show all the hidden files, including iCloud.

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