Upon updating to macOS Sonoma all my contents on the desktop have been put into a "Desktop - iMac" folder and is now also being uploaded to iCloud (which is also full now, because my desktop was rather full). The worst is: I had a special arrangement/sorting of the contents on the desktop - now all gone. I do not have a Backup (which I know is the real problem, but too late).

Q: Is there any way to regain the old sorting on the desktop?

1 Answer 1


It sounds like iCloud Drive "Desktop and Documents" has been turned on. This stores everything in these folders in iCloud, and synchronises them to your Mac or Macs.

First thing is to back up everything locally. Then turn off Desktop and Documents in System Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > iCloud Drive. (There may be warnings about things getting deleted, which is why you need the backup first.)

Furthermore, it sounds like you've been organizing things by position on your Desktop..? That's a very bad idea, because this isn't very stable metadata, and things can easily get moved around. Even if you had a backup, the position of items on the desktop probably wouldn't get preserved. I would suggest using folders, and any other organizational strategy. Even "Tags". https://support.apple.com/en-gb/guide/mac-help/mchlp15236/mac

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    My golden rule - which I insist on everyone else in the building also following - is that the desktop is only for temporary data, things you will throw away by the end of the day. Anything else needs filing properly. My usual admonishment is "What do you think this is? Windows?"
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 21 at 14:08
  • @Tetsujin That's a great goal — but if you always meet all your goals, then (as the saying goes) you're a better man than I am!  And what if you have multiple attached drives?  It's helpful for their icons to appear in consistent positions.  What if you have documents or folders you use frequently enough to want close and hand (but not frequently enough to justify bloating your Dock with)?
    – gidds
    Nov 21 at 18:29
  • @gidds - I have 7 permanently attached drives. They sit top right, like they have done since the 90s. Everything else is temporary. For desktop organisation alternatives, I'd have a look at Software recs - Dock-style app to replace DragThing
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 21 at 18:33
  • @gidds I have several drives, but I select them by reading their names in the Finder window sidebar, not the order they are in. (I did once work with someone who was unable to open Word, because "the third icon down" no longer launched the app.) TBH, my Desktop itself is usually totally obscured by all the windows of my apps, so I don't ever see it.
    – benwiggy
    Nov 21 at 18:40
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    Icon positions were traditionally stored in the invisible .DS_Store files, in each & every folder where any change has been made to the view by the user. Unfortunately, as time has gone on this is no longer entirely true. I've never been able to figure out quite what is in those files & what is saved elsewhere. One thing is for sure, they're not saved with the files themselves. At one time, if you could save & restore a .DS_Store file, you would return the previous layout. This doesn't seem to work reliably any more.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 22 at 12:00

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