Drafts is marketed as a Markdown editor, and supposedly it saves your files in iCloud. However, if you open the "Drafts" folder inside iCloud Drive there is not a Markdown file in sight.

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In my opinion, the biggest value of using Markdown is to avoid vendor lock-in, and to never risk being held captive by a single app, especially one with a subscription model. (Not to mention the ability to open the files with different apps that have different strengths, more or less a corollary of the first thing. I should be free to use TextMate or Visual Studio Code or nvim if something I want to do with the file is better done there.) Drafts seems like a very useful app, but what in the world is going on with my Markdown files?

1 Answer 1


Drafts stores the notes in CloudKit, not directly in files. From https://docs.getdrafts.com/docs/settings/sync

Drafts syncs using CloudKit, the same iCloud technology that lies beneath iCloud Drive, Notes, and other Apple services. It does not sync via files. Drafts can export and import to files in iCloud Drive, but content in Drafts is not directly visible in iCloud Drive.

There is an "Export" command in the "File" menu which allows you to export to text files.

If you have Backups enabled in Preferences, the Markdown data is also available in the DraftsBackup file shown in your screenshot (which basically is a JSON file containing both the actual text and all metadata). If required, the pure Markdown part can be extracted with any JSON-capable tool (e.g. jq).

  • I see the backups. I'm not asking where the backups are. I'm asking where the originals are. Which file in that directory structure represents the ORIGINAL Markdown files?
    – iconoclast
    Dec 16, 2021 at 5:47
  • @iconoclast Drafts doesn‘t use files, I've updated the answer with a reference.
    – nohillside
    Dec 16, 2021 at 6:04
  • Something like this should work - cat backup.draftsExport | jq -r '.[].content' > original_file
    – rafalio
    Dec 18, 2021 at 5:34

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