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iCloud Drive favorites have been disappearing frequently from the sidebar in the Files app on iPad and iPhone. After a while, they reappear, then they disappear again. When this happens, tag items are also not shown (wheres the tags themselves are shown in the sidebar).

For me, this is a major issue since iPadOS does not have symlinks that I could use to quickly access folders and files. Without favorites and tags, I have to navigate through the whole hierarchy for every file that I need. This is quite cumbersome.

It seems that I am not the only person who is affected by this. People have reported related issues since February 2018. Apple has not fixed it in five years:


Screenshot 1: No Favorites on iPad

Screenshot 2: Favorites are still shown on iPhone


The following list shows things I tried. So far, nothing helped permanently.

  • I have sent multiple bug reports to Apple.

  • I tried to unfavorite folders and re-favorite them, but I cannot even unfavorite folders on my iPad when this happens. — No fix.

  • I waited: sometimes the favorites re-appeared after some time. — Only temporary fix.

  • I updated iPadOS and iOS. The problem still exists after updating to iPadOS 16.3. — No fix.

  • I dragged the favorite folders to the sidebar. — Only temporary fix.

  • I added tags to the favorite folders. That made them re-appear in the sidebar — Only temporary fix.

  • I moved the favorite folders into a new folder. — Only temporary fix.

  • I deleted all my iCloud Drive data, stopped syncing iCloud Drive on all my devices, the started syncing again and copied the data back into iCloud Drive. — Only temporary fix.

  • I removed third-party apps from my devices that integrated with the Files app: Cryptomator 2 and OneDrive. — Did not fix it.

  • I deactivated MATLAB under locations in the sidebar — Did not fix it.

  • I temporarily signed out of iCloud on iPhone, iPad and my MacBook — Did not fix it.

  • Uninstalled VPN profile and app and did a reset of network settings — Did not fix it.

  • I contacted Apple support and sent them iCloud Drive log files. My account is now in escalation mode so that developers can anyalyze the problem better —- So far, the problem still occurs.

It seems that only a few users experience this. So, what is different on the iPads of those users in contrast to the majority of users? I’m still looking for a better understanding why this happens and how the problem can be permanently solved.

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  • I've moved the list of things you've tried into the question (as neither the list nor the question at the bottom are answers). Please keep in mind that this is a Q&A site and not a discussion forum.
    – nohillside
    Feb 6, 2023 at 8:50

3 Answers 3

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Although it is Apple who has to fix this annoying bug, I found a workaround: I created a shortcut with the Shortcuts app: Select „Open URLs“ and then type the following URL in the text field:

shareddocuments:///private/var/mobile/Library/Mobile%20Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/Downloads

You can then add a bookmark to your homescreen (tap the share symbol in the Shortcuts app and then select „Add to Homescreen“).

When you tap the bookmark, the Files app is opened and the Downloads folder is shown.

Of course, this is just an example. You can modify the URL to open other folders in iCloud Drive.

Interestingly, if the favorite disappeared from the sidebar of the Files app, starting the shortcut makes it appear again.

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Haven't experienced the finders tag problem. The only thing that comes straight up to my mind sign out of iCloud and back in. This could do the trick if the problem is new after updating your iPad.

No freezing and whatsoever. iPad Pro M1.

Hope this helps you.

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  • I tried this. A few hours later, my favorites disappeared again.
    – John
    Feb 6, 2023 at 22:51
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I’ve experienced this a couple of times. Today, before I had time to try any fixes, something called me away from my iPad for a couple of hours. When I got back to it, it had fixed itself. All my Files favorites were back where they belonged. Plain old patience worked? I would never have guessed.

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