I've recently seen third-party apps like Smultron and iA Writer mentioning in their Mac App Store descriptions that they support iCloud syncing.

Are the files saved to iCloud via these apps accessible from icloud.com? How do they appear? Are they downloadable to e.g. a PC for which the app that saved the file is unavailable?

I'm asking whether or not I am able to access the files with my credentials from (any) web-terminal, all foil hats aside.


You cannot access individual files on iCloud other than the ones made with the iWork suite and that are available on the iWork section of the icloud.com website.

When introducing iCloud, Steve Jobs mentioned that Apple did not think of this service as a big folder in the cloud--a direct contrast with Dropbox. I wrote about this before the launch of iCloud on this Ask Different answer. In short, iCloud is meant to be app-centric.

I would not be surprised if the iWork section of the icloud.com website went away once native iCloud support is added to Keynote, Numbers and Pages. Like it or not, this makes business sense, as it encourages app purchasing.

Hope this helps.

  • you can access individual files sent through iClouds eMail. – Graeme Hutchison Dec 15 '11 at 0:02
  • It may encourage more Apple-device purchasing than app purchasing, though. To actually benefit from iCloud sync on the go, one needs to have not only the apps, but also the devices to run the apps. It's not practical on mixed Mac & PC environment or in non-iOS mobile environment. Outside iWork (for now) at least. – Jari Keinänen Dec 15 '11 at 6:41
  • This answer is no longer up to date and hasn’t for quite a while, because iCloud Drive is kind of like Dropbox,but still app-centric and the iWork apps are now also available in web browsers. – Crissov Jan 29 '16 at 19:16

The answer is no. iCloud does not offer access to the files from the website.


iCloud will only let you access iWork Documents, Mail, Calendars, Contacts and the Find my iPhone app.

You cannot even access some of the data created on Apple apps on iCloud such as Notes, Photo Stream, or music and video, let alone other 3rd party apps.

  • any reason for the downvote? – Graeme Hutchison Dec 14 '11 at 22:33
  • ↑ Don't know. But what about 3rd party apps? It's probably the same case, but you specifically mentioned other Apple apps and I specifically asked about 3rd party apps. – Jari Keinänen Dec 15 '11 at 6:30
  • I was saying that Apple didn't even support all their apps let alone 3rd party ones. I thought that would have been obvious. – Graeme Hutchison Dec 15 '11 at 7:34

Yes theoretically, apparently iCloud is based on a JavaScript web framework called SproutCore, meaning you could access them directly by using a greasemonkey script that modified iCloud's web interface.

iCloud users should be aware that their data is not end-to-end encrypted, meaning Apple employees, data centers with whom they contract, law enforcement, and hackers could all potentially obtain plaintext copies of any data stored in iCloud.

There are other cloud storage providers like Wuala and SpiderOak who encrypt everything from your own machine. DropBox does not encrypt your data.

  • 3
    Could you provide some links that substantiate your claims, please? I'm pretty sure both of their terms state that iCloud and Dropbox do encrypt your data, both over the wire and in their datacenters. – Dan J Dec 9 '11 at 23:02
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    -1 Further I'm not sure how this answers the question, which was whether or not files saved to iCloud from 3rd-party applications can be accessed from the web interface. – Dan J Dec 9 '11 at 23:03
  • I clarified the comment as "end-to-end" encryption. Most cloud storage providers use SSL for file transfer, which protects against eavesdroppers in transit, but not against insider attacks, law enforcement, etc. Apple and DropBox encrypt some data inside the data center itself, which limits their low level employee access, but again offers no meaningful protection to users. DropBox has grown famous for data breaches. Apple wouldn't be using a web framework if they used end-to-end encryption. See : spideroak.com/faq/questions/26/… – Jeff Burdges Dec 9 '11 at 23:29
  • I demoted this because it doesn't answer the question in any meaningful way. Borders on trolling. – Nate Bird Dec 14 '11 at 19:59
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    If the client does not encrypt the data, then the data is exposed on the server side, maybe not exposed on disk, but exposed. Rest assured that, if Apple receives a court order for your data, they have the capacity to hand it over unencrypted. – Jeff Burdges Dec 14 '11 at 22:10

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