iCloud was hammering my CPU since I got my new computer so I turned it off... Not realizing it would delete ALL of my local copies (WTF).

I also canceled the "final sync" that happens when you turn it off..

Luckily I'm seeing some of my files still in iCloud web interface..

So i turned icloud back on, but they aren't coming back into my local folders...

How do I get my files back!

  • 1
    Time Machine backs up local synced iCloud documents. Would that be an option? I’m also not clear how new the computer is, if everything was in the cloud, it’s still there.
    – bmike
    May 24, 2019 at 0:23

1 Answer 1


When you turn icloud off you were asked if you wanted to keep a local copy of your data. You said no, by canceling the sync.

iCloud is a syncing service.

When you turn it back on after it was off it needs to re-sync all your data again. That could take 24 hours if your computer and network aren't doing anything else. If you're using the computer, it will put your iCloud download on a lower priority than the other work you're doing.

Make sure your computer remains awake, plugged in, and maintains a network connection. Avoid doing anything else for a faster re-sync.

In the meantime, if you need a specific file/folder you can go to icloud.com and get it from there.

  • I apparently didn't read very well... but why would it need to sync my local files? They are already local.... Why not just disconnect and leave them in place Also FYI, there doesn't seem to be any way to download an entire folder... you can only download individual files via the web interface
    – NSjonas
    May 24, 2019 at 4:40
  • In which folder was the data that you lost? In the latest versions of MacOs the documents and desktop folder can automatically sync with iCloud. That way it may seem that the data is stored locally, while it's actually in the cloud. As mentioned in a previous comment, turning iCloud back on should restore the lost data.
    – Niek N.
    May 24, 2019 at 9:19
  • The files are stored in iCloud and synced across any device that's signed-in using the same Apple ID. When you turn off iCloud, it has to copy all those files down to the local device. So you looking at the storage location backward. Regarding the folder, there's no way to download an entire folder. You need to download each file independently.
    – fsb
    May 24, 2019 at 12:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .