Does anyone know if iCloud backs up ALL of your files (including files outside of the Documents folder AND even the stuff outside of your user directory /Users/USERNAME) or only the ones inside of the Documents folder (So Downloads, Movies, Music , Desktop and Library are out of the question).

If it backs up everything then does anyone know how to configure it to only backup your Documents folder?

1 Answer 1


iCloud does not backup all of your data. It's more a replacement of iWork.com sharing in previous (or current?) versions of iWork. It only works with applications that specifically support iCloud:

If you have the same iCloud-enabled apps on more than one device, iCloud automatically keeps your documents up to date across all your devices. So you don’t have to.

If you visit http://icloud.com and click the ? link, you'll be sent to the help site, which states:

Documents in the Cloud overview

iCloud keeps your documents up to date across all your iOS devices and on icloud.com. Every time you edit a Keynote, Pages, or Numbers document on your iOS device, your changes are automatically available on your other iOS devices set up with iCloud and on the web at icloud.com.

This also explains why the iCloud site does not show a generic documents section in the overview, only iWork. Of course, developers are free to support iCloud in their own applications.

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The supported file types are listed here:

You can also drag and drop a new iWork ‘09 (Keynote, Pages, and Numbers) or Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Word, and Excel) document from your computer to icloud.com, and then access the document from Keynote, Pages, or Numbers on your iOS device set up with iCloud. Supported file types include Keynote ‘09, Pages ‘09, Numbers ‘09, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, .txt, and .csv.

  • +1 Good answer. The most confusing thing about iCloud (and it took me a while to get it, myself, after the service was announced) seems to be that it is app-centric instead of document-centric. Perhaps alongside "RAID Is Not Backup" a useful slogan would be "iCloud Is Not Dropbox". :)
    – Dan J
    Oct 16, 2011 at 12:01
  • 1
    Another thought: when third-party apps do start to support iCloud, I wonder what kind of treatment they'll get in the web interface shown above...
    – Dan J
    Oct 16, 2011 at 12:03
  • @djacobson I wondered that too when I was researching my answer. Adding an item per application would be consistent with the current presentation, but would clutter it up somewhat. Let's just wait and see. Oct 16, 2011 at 15:00
  • I highly suspect we will eventually get a Mac UI to manage iCloud documents. I'm insanely curious though to see what it will be. Oct 16, 2011 at 16:34
  • Well, I suspect the Mac App Store "app" is basically a web view similar to the iTunes store, so... the Mac UI would probably look a lot like the above. :)
    – Dan J
    Oct 17, 2011 at 5:37

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