I want to download a folder from iCloud Drive using the web interface (iCloud.com). The only problem is, since it is not zipped, I cannot download the folder. Is there a way to download the folder without having to sync the entire content of my iCloud Drive with my computer?

  • 1
    This is essentially a dupe of apple.stackexchange.com/questions/274501/…
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 27, 2017 at 18:59
  • @Tetsujin not directly. The older question is about enabling iCloud Drive on a Mac without downloading automatically, this one here is about downloading whole folders through Safari. At least in theory there might be solutions for one but not the other
    – nohillside
    Feb 27, 2017 at 19:02
  • 2
    This is nothing like the other question. I have 300GB in iCloud that I want to download from a browser on a computer without iCloud syncing. It is a huge problem that I can only download files and not folders.
    – Andy Swift
    Sep 27, 2018 at 4:23
  • 2
    @AndrewSwift Swift Not a way to download a folder from the iCloud Drive, but if you're like me and you want to bulk download everything, you can ask for a copy of the iCloud Drive from the Apple Privacy Website - privacy.apple.com
    – Eek
    Nov 23, 2018 at 13:38
  • 3
    you can also compress it from your iphone and then download it from your browser
    – salvador
    Oct 15, 2019 at 10:36

4 Answers 4


Yes, you can do this. The following assumes that you're already logged-in to your iCloud account and you have the ability to download files to your local drive.

  1. Navigate to your iCloud Drive in any browser.
  2. Change your browser's default download location to wherever you want the files to be located. You must do this now because you can't select a new location once you click the 'download' button later.
  3. Go into the folder that you want to download. You can't just highlight the folder and try to download the folder and its contents from here. You actually have to go into the folder first.
  4. Select all the files you want to download. Do this either by selecting each one or by doing a select-all keyboard command.
  5. Once all the files are selected, go to the top of the iCloud screen and click the 'download' icon (cloud with arrow going down). This will download all the selected files to your default download location (set in step 2). The files should not be downloaded in a zip format, they should come down exactly as they're stored in iCloud.

All the files will download which, in essence, is what you wanted by selecting the folder and trying to download that first.

  • 21
    What about folders in folders?
    – iProgram
    Feb 27, 2017 at 19:50
  • It' an iterative process so you'll need to do each folder separately. I could not find any other way of doing this from Windows. If you were on a Mac, you could just use Finder to copy the folders. If you have iCloud installed on Windows, you might already have it integrated into Windows Explorer and can download/copy from there.
    – fsb
    Feb 27, 2017 at 20:04
  • 18
    Pretty sure this is not the solution OP is looking for.
    – KD.
    Jul 31, 2017 at 6:13
  • @KD. That is the only solution provided by Apple for doing this by their web interface. Other options exist for doing this via Finder but that's not what the OP asked. If you know of another way to download folders via the web, please add it as an answer.
    – fsb
    Aug 21, 2018 at 15:27
  • 1
    you can compress the folder first using Files app on your iPhone, then you can download the zipped file on your computer. Sep 21, 2023 at 11:42

No proper solution

Up today (2021-03-13), there is no immediate way to download a specified folder from iCloud.
The download button is grayed/disable for folders in iCloud.com.
Below there are only hacks.

The evident (and painfully) approach

You can select all the files inside the desired folder and click the download button, but since it does not include subfolders, you must patiently repeat the process for each folder in the tree.

Request Apple a copy of your data

Go to https://privacy.apple.com/ and request to Apple a copy of your iCloud files.
Unfortunately, you cannot select which folder you want to include; you will receive a link to download the whole drive.
They say it could take a few days to receive the link. However, in my experience, it only takes a day.

You can also use this trick to download other data that Apple makes it difficult to obtain in a standard format, such as the Health App data.

The iPhone solution (the best approach)

So, the original question request a solution "without having to sync the entire content of my iCloud Drive with my computer".
I had the same problem. I was not using iCloud Drive in my Mac, but it was active (probably by default) on my iPhone.
Then, I could use the File app (the built-in App) to copy the whole folder to the internal storage of my iPhone or to other cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.).

  1. Ensure your other cloud is active within the File App.
    Select (...) > Edit in the upper right corner of the File application initial view to activate the available cloud accounts.

  2. Browse to the folder you want to copy from iCloud.

  3. Long press on the folder name to activate further option, then select Compress to create a zip file of the folder.
    (You can skip this step, but I recommend it if you are planning to copy to another cloud and not for the internal iPhone storage)

  4. Long press on the zipped folder, then select Copy or Share.

  5. Select a destination for your zipped folder.

  6. Wait. It could take longer to copy from one cloud to the other.

  7. Use the other cloud to download your files.

  8. Complaint to Apple!

Complaint to Apple

Meanwhile, complain to Apple about this unbelievable omission

  • 5
    Thanks for this! Also, the complaint link to apple is highly appreciated.
    – jpnadas
    Mar 13, 2020 at 10:12
  • It's almost 2022. and this is the only solution that works. 🤦🏻‍♂️
    – Kim Stacks
    Dec 10, 2021 at 5:27
  • 2
    A quick update to this one, if your destination is a mac you can long-press on the iCloud folder in question in Files on iOS, then hit "share" and airdrop the folder directly to your mac.
    – elliotcm
    Feb 27, 2023 at 18:08

You can compress folders on iPhone Documents. Then you can download zip

  • Did the trick! Thank you. But this is only applicable if someone has both iphone and mac. :p
    – Gogol
    Jun 14, 2022 at 13:45
  • maybe apple wants so ;D
    – DrAchernar
    Jun 16, 2022 at 9:17

The Mac iCloud document sync now only downloads stubs for files you do not need synced. In my experience, it does a light sync when you have 20 GB or more of files in the cloud (or have low space on your Mac already)

It watches as you use files - seamlessly downloading them only when you are using them and they stick around as long as you have local space - freeing up oldest first when you start to get close to space being needed on your local storage.

Optimize Mac Storage

When this is set up, you can zip the folder on the Mac, drag them to another place or click the icon next to the folder name that has a cloud and down arrow to request just those files download now.

iCloud download integration with Finder folders

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