I have a MacBook Air with the Xcode app that I use to add data to an array in one of the files.

The file is saved to the desktop.

I also have a MacBook Pro with the Xcode app that I use to add data and code throughout.

The file is also saved to the desktop.

I can't understand why or when the iCloud is syncing because sometimes I add the data to the MacBook Air and then when I open the file on the MacBook Pro I can see it update/refresh.

Sometimes I close the file on the MacBook Pro and open it up again so it can refresh the new data from iCloud.

The problem is that sometimes I can't do anything to update/sync/refresh the data to appear on the file on the MacBook Pro.

It changes from day to day and because I haven't been able to figure out why this happens, I want to know if there's a way to manually refresh the data from iCloud so it syncs to my MacBook Pro when I want it to.

Please advise if there's a way to do this. Thanks ✌️

7 Answers 7


There appears to be a bug in macOS which prevent data syncing over iCloud sometimes.

A workaround is to create a new file/folder under Desktop or Documents folder to trigger the sync. You can delete the temp file/folder immediately.

This is a manual hack to force a sync if the automated sync is failing.

  • Creating a new folder didn't always help but starting to send something via airdrop before cancelling it has so far been working. Jan 19, 2021 at 20:42
  • 1
    Anyone have a 2023 update? Still seems to be a problem for me. Is this still the best "fix"? Specifically, I'm using Obsidian.MD and having trouble with synchronizing via iCloud.
    – rinogo
    Jan 20, 2023 at 15:14
  • @rinogo just tested it myself, been 24 hours since iCloud synced, I tried restarting my machine, didn't fix it. I created a file, and it forced a sync. this still works in macOS 13.1
    – A O
    Jan 27, 2023 at 5:15
  • 1
    I think you can also modify an existing file (seems to be working for me). @AO or someone else, can you confirm?
    – rinogo
    Jan 30, 2023 at 20:05
  • 1
    I like this solution the best because it's something I can easily do with a file manager and I don't have to toggle settings or wait for stuff to sync, etc, etc. I just create an empty folder, check the other device, YUP! It sync'd right away. Then I can just delete it afterwards. Simple and easy! Nice! Thanks a lot Sep 6, 2023 at 15:54

Working solution in 10/2023

Unfortunately, none of the existing answers worked on my side (M1 running macOS 13.6):

enter image description here

The only thing that actually does work is to invoke the following command in a terminal of your choice:

killall cloudd

The iCloud sync will then immediately start:

sync working

  • 3
    Worked on an Intel Mac running Ventura, too. Other approaches didn't work. Oct 29, 2023 at 8:44
  • 1
    It worked immediately on MBPro Sonoma 14.4.1 (23E224). I'm using a hotspot and on battery (in case that matters). The create file/folder method didn't work for me. May 17 at 15:17

I had a similar problem when saving/copying from one device and trying to access those files from a different device wouldn't show up/sync on iCloud when trying to access the file from other devices.

What finally worked for me is, whatever app/program/filemanager I used to save the file to iCloud I had to close the app so the computer doesn't think the file is still open. Since I have been doing that, I have no problem accessing files from my iPad/iMac/PC.


This problem still exists in macOS 14.4.1. Fortunately, it worked to force an iCloud sync by creating a dummy folder on iCloud.


The solution I found for failure to sync to iCloud from a Mac is log out of the user account on the Mac, then back in. Works every time to refresh the contents of iCloud Drive


Manual downloads will trigger a sync:

Click on iCloud Drive in the sidebar of any Finder window. Open the file or hold down the Control key while clicking on the file, then select Download Now. Any changes you make to the file will automatically upload to iCloud Drive when you reconnect to the internet.

As per the online docs here


On Ventura 13, you can force sync/refresh of iCloud Drive by restarting Finder.

  • Go to  > Force Quit...
  • Select Finder
  • Click Relaunch
  • This is an interesting approach, but ultimately doesn't work reliably (it did not on my side). Also, you might lose unsaved work (meaning that fsync() isn't called reliably anymore to flush buffers to the file system). An approach which has worked reliably for me is: apple.stackexchange.com/a/465424/51852
    – ikaerom
    Oct 16, 2023 at 18:31

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