I want to use iCloud Drive syncing for my Documents folder, but I do not want to sync my Desktop. Is there a way to sync only Documents?

Very often I copy large video files to Desktop for processing, editing, etc. Syncing these temporary files uses a lot of bandwidth and slows down other uploads.

Symmetrical question:

Related support thread:

System Preferences:

iCloud Desktop & Documents Folders

  • Can't you simply store your large video files in a different folder, one that you don't sync to iCloud?
    – fsb
    Feb 21, 2017 at 14:18
  • desktop is a convenient location because it is desktop. It is easier to dump files there, without thinking too much. Feb 21, 2017 at 14:27
  • I did a little research and can't find how to disconnect desktop from documents. Maybe someone else here will know how to do that. While waiting for a better answer, at least you have a workaround.
    – fsb
    Feb 21, 2017 at 14:35
  • Hahaha... Of course not putting files to desktop is a workaround but it is not convenient. Dragging files from SD card or anything really directly to desktop is much more convenient :) Feb 21, 2017 at 14:41
  • 1
    Couldn't you just reverse the answer to the "symmetrical question" you linked? Uncheck the "Desktop & Documents Folders" option, then move Documents to the Library/Mobile Documents directory (which still gets synced because the per-app directories all live there) and symlink that to where Documents originally was. Granted, that answer is unconfirmed, but to my knowledge it should work.
    – Merlin
    Feb 22, 2017 at 5:28

1 Answer 1


Put your large video files into Downloads. This is what I do for instructional videos from Lynda Don't sync or use iCloud Drive for Downloads

  • 3
    Welcome to Ask Different! This could be a valid (but rather obvious) workaround; I assume the author puts their files on the Desktop for a reason (ease of access).
    – Glorfindel
    Jul 7, 2018 at 18:33
  • 1
    Thank you for suggestion. I use Desktop for thousands of other reasons, large video files is one of them. I want to use iCloud drive, but I want to disable Desktop. Jul 10, 2018 at 11:48

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