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?


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

  • iCloud isn't a backup either... I know that you know, Allan, but maybe the OP doesn't. – nohillside Nov 23 '20 at 11:45
  • Thanks @nohillside...no objections from me. The more we can let people know the better their expectations will be. – Allan Nov 23 '20 at 15:25

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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