I am thinking about canceling my iCloud subscription I have +200Gb of data on iCloud from different devices (iPhones, iPads, Macs ...) including all kinds of documents.

What is the best/quickest way to save all of this locally to a Mac ? (I am planing to move it to a personal home server eventually)

I don't own all of the devices but they are in a family share (so different Apple ID...). But I can ask them to turn on share options ...

If possible I want all the data in plain format, not some obscure format like Apple's device backups...

  • 1
    Can't you just trigger a full download of all iCloud content and them copy the content of the iCloud "folder" to a safe local place?
    – nohillside
    Mar 13 at 10:40
  • how can I trigger a full download ?
    – enzo
    Mar 13 at 10:41

1 Answer 1


For iCloud Photos, check the "Download Originals" item in Photos settings. Once the status indicates everything is fully downloaded, then disable iCloud Photos in Photos settings. When you disable iCloud Photos, if anything isn't Downloaded it will confirm before proceeding.

For iCloud Drive, uncheck "Optimize Mac Storage" in System Settings > Apple ID (your name) > iCloud. Wait for all downloads to complete, then disable iCloud Drive. When you disable it, it will finish syncing before downloading.

For Notes, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Safari, you should be given the option to keep your data when you turn it off. I recommend turning these off and then confirming you still have your data on your computer.

For News & Stocks, I don't believe you'll lose anything but there's also not much to lose there either way.

In summary, disable iCloud Photos & iCloud Drive storage optimization, then go feature by feature and turn them off, then verify you still have all relevant data. Don't delete anything from iCloud directly until you're fully confident it's local.

Note that iCloud Backups cannot be converted to local backups. Instead, just take a new device backup with Finder.

If you encounter any points where you're unable to keep them local, comment here and I'll investigate/revise.

  • this can't be the " best/quickest way "
    – enzo
    Mar 13 at 15:22
  • 1
    To do it thoroughly and avoid the most errors... - if you want the quickest way, just sign out of iCloud and read each prompt. If you just want to backup your data you can use privacy.apple.com but you won't get it packaged up as nicely that way.
    – Ezekiel
    Mar 13 at 19:30
  • I ended up using privacy.apple.com
    – enzo
    Mar 24 at 21:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .