I have a MacBook with OS X Lion, and an iPad.

I use IAWriter for keeping track of notes. In addition to standard file-based storage, it supports live syncing using iCloud.

I want to organize the files on my MacBook's desktop for quick access.
How do I create desktop links pointing to the IAWriter files in the iCloud?

2 Answers 2


Apple's vision for iCloud seems to include isolating users from the confusion of the file system. iCloud files are accessed from within the application that created them–which is advantageous in some situations and a problem in others.

To use iCloud to share documents between iOS and MacOS you'll need to install iA Writer on both platforms. (Byword fans can now do the same).

If you want to use a different text editor, or editors, on your Mac, implement my (previous?–my test of the Byword iCloud setup is working well so far) workflow that included a storage system using DropBox.

I can't recommend this path because I haven't fully explored it, and it isn't officially supported by Apple, but if you're determined to create file aliases on the desktop, you might find a solution by exploring the folder ~/Library/Mobile Documents

Kirk McElhearn: Make your own personal dropbox with iCloud

Note that on the Mac I'm writing this from, the folder for my Byword documents did not exist within the Mobile Documents folder until I used the Open from iCloud… menu item. (I didn't have to load a file, just access the menu and allow the file requestor box a minute to populate.) Once the Byword folder existed, I was able to create an alias on the desktop that opens the file. I can also use the alias to Open with… TextMate but have not tested editing/saving the file using an alternative application Proceed with caution.

  • Thanks jaberg. I do have IAWriter set up on both devices, but I like to order my stuff project-wise on the desktop; IAWriter's organization system is not very intuitive. I will look into your solution - that might work just right even with IAWriter, except that AFAIK on iPad, IA doesn't sync with DropBox any more like it used to, presumably to force people onto iCloud and into buying IAWriter for Mac... arrgh. I'll let you know how this works out.
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 12:46
  • 1
    I have an answer you might like even better on the way—watch for a pending edit shortly.
    – jaberg
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 12:49
  • Sorry about the DropBox tip, I haven't been using iA Writer recently and didn't know they'd dropped support for DropBox. However, if my initial impression of iCloud sync (for Byword)continues to hold true, I'm not surprised—it's ultra clean and simple; Exactly what these prose editors try to brign to the table.
    – jaberg
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 13:05
  • yeah - they still support loading from dropbox, but no more live sync. Thanks for the library tip, I will look into that!
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 18, 2012 at 13:07
  • I have now created shortcuts to some IAWriter files inside Mobile Documents and put them onto my desktop. I'll work with them for a while to find out whether syncing is reliable, and report my findings here.
    – Pekka
    Commented Mar 19, 2012 at 16:18

If you click the share button for an iCloud document and choose Message, you can drag the document shortcut out of the resulting IM window and drop it onto the dock.

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