Is there a way to search file content in iCloud Drive? For example, in Google Drive or OneDrive, when you search, you'll get results not just by name but also any PDF or Word/Docs file where the contents contain that text.

On a Mac in Finder, or in Windows Explorer, it seems you can search inside files only if they're downloaded locally, not cloud-only, so it's a local machine search rather than a cloud search. On iPhone, the search only seems to be for filenames, not content. And the web interface doesn't seem to have a search at all.

Would be a shame if it's not possible - that would be the only thing keeping me at OneDrive.

Is there any way to get metadata / content search of all files I have stored in iCloud Drive?

1 Answer 1


It's a bad solution, but you can force macOS to download your files and indirectly keep them resident by maintaining enough free space on the boot drive of macOS to keep them resident and indexed by spotlight.

Manual checking is needed here and you may have to force download the folders you care about from time to time.

I truly hope I can provide a better answer down the road with an edit or learn someone else's method that would be more sure fire than this or better, one that works on the web app / API / SDK / iOS side.

  • 1
    Thanks, that's what I figured, and it's actually fine for when I'm at my desk. Ideally I'm hoping the iPhone would have a solution, other than remoting into my home PC and searching that way - that's not the most fun thing to do. Maybe they'll add it in iOS 25 or 26.
    – Joe Enos
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 18:31
  • 1
    screens is what I use to get back to my Mac now for things like this @JoeEnos hopefully we don’t have to wait that long….
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 27, 2023 at 18:41

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