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My Documents and Desktop folders from my Mac have been backed up to iCloud. I would like to watch some videos from iCloud, via my iPhone without downloading. But when I open Files app from iPhone, it just downloads the media file to my phone. I know even though I streamed, I'll consume the same amount of data, but if I stream rather than downloading I'll save some time.

So, in summary, my question is:

How to stream a video file from Documents, from iCloud to iPhone?

2 Answers 2

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iCloud is a file synchronization service, not a streaming service. So, the short answer is - you cannot.

There's a big difference between opening a file and streaming a file.

When you open files, whether it be on your local device like your computer or your phone, across the network to/from a shared folder on a friends computer or from a file server or even across the Internet, it is copying the file to a local store before it opens it to play it.

When you stream a file, a service on the server (remote) will open the file and broadcast the contents of the file (audio/video) over the network. The (local) client will then "listen" for this network traffic, capture it, then play it.

iCloud doesn't do this; it's not AppleTV. Even Apple Music synchronizes your music files

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  • iCloud isn't a backup either... I know that you know, Allan, but maybe the OP doesn't.
    – nohillside
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 11:45
  • Thanks @nohillside...no objections from me. The more we can let people know the better their expectations will be.
    – Allan
    Commented Nov 23, 2020 at 15:25
  • This is a bummer, as you can stream video from Google Drive. If streaming is important, that might be a better service for you.
    – Dafurman
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 21:28
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You can stream files from your iCloud using a program like infuse.

It will search for a folder directory you set in your app, and it will stream it from there.

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  • This is incorrect. Apple does not allow streaming from iCloud Drive, and Infuse cannot do it.
    – user137369
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 13:59

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