My feeling is that this problem is somehow related to my question macOS creates "by itself" a new directory and moves files to it:

I can see my Documents folder from my zsh command line:

1-0-12:19) ~: command ls -ld D*
drwx------@  3 ronaldfischer  staff   96  2 Oct 11:27 Desktop
drwx------@ 11 ronaldfischer  staff  352 27 Dec 17:02 Documents
drwx------+ 18 ronaldfischer  staff  576 28 Dec 09:04 Downloads
lrwxr-xr-x   1 ronaldfischer  staff   49 14 Apr  2023 Dropbox -> /Users/ronaldfischer/Library/CloudStorage/Dropbox
(1-0-12:19) ~: stat Documents
16777221 12904042042 drwx------ 11 ronaldfischer staff 0 352 "Dec 27 17:02:04 2023" "Dec 27 17:02:02 2023" "Dec 28 08:26:55 2023" "Jan  1 01:00:00 1970" 4096 0 0 Documents

But when I open Finder I don't see this folder, though I see all other entries in my home directory:

Finder in my home dir

Of course I can do from the command line something like

open $HOME/Documents

and then see the content of this directory, but why can't Finder show me its content when it displays the entries in $HOME? What is so special with this folder?


Based on the comment by nohillside, I wanted to verify whether "Documents in iCloud is enabled or disabled". I googled the following recommendation for doing so:

  1. Open Finder and go to the iCloud Drive folder.
  2. Drag an item to the Trash, or move it to a different folder on your Mac.

Clicking on iCloud Drive in folder brings up the following picture:

iCloud Drive

However I can so see what i can infer from this picture. We see that it contains a folder named Documents, but it also contains a folder named i.e. Downloads, and I do see a Downloads folder in my Finder inside the home directory; I just don't see a Documents folder. So what is the difference between Documents and Downloads?

For the safe side, I checked my iPafd and went there to iCloud drive in the file manager, and I did find there a folder Dowloads with the same content than in my Mac (so this folder is obviously shared), and another folder named Dokumente (which is German for "documents"), and contains the same content as the Documents folder inside my MacOS.

So I guess this is somehow shared as well. Interestingly, there is one subdirectory in Documents (respectively Dokumente) which is named Documents - Ronald’s MacBook Pro (including the spaces and special characters), which contains all that original stuff I had previously in my Documents folder.

I would like to end up in a situation, where my MacBook has its own Documents folder, and this folder should contain the content which is now Documents - Ronald’s MacBook Pro. I don't mind the Downloads folder continues to be shared.

I don't want to loose any files; what would be the recommended process then? I would like to sketch my idea how to solve the problem first, and ask you to approve it as correct, or suggest a better way. Note that I'm using zsh:

First i back up the important stuff:

mkdir DocumentsOriginal
mv -r 'Documents/Documents - Ronald’s MacBook Pro/*(D)' DocumentsOriginal

rmdir 'Documents/Documents - Ronald’s MacBook Pro/*(D)'

Now I have two directories: The stuff which still is visible in Documents (and hence also in the Dokumente folder on the iPad) is stuff I want to keep shared, perhaps under a new name DocumentsShared. The stuff which is now in DocumentsOriginal is what I want to have only on my MacBook. How to achieve this? Of course I could now do a

mv Documents DocumentsShared
mv Documents Original Documents

but I doubt that this will tell iCloud about my intentions, because I fear that my local Documents is still coupled somehow to the Dokumente folder on the iPad.

As for the name, I do not insist that the folders are named differently on MacBook and iPad. Actually I prefer having shared folders named the same accross devices, and I find the current Documents/Dokumente naming confusing. So if I would end up seeing a folder DocumentsShared on the iPad instead of the present Dokumente folder, this would be an ideal solution.


1 Answer 1


First things first: Do you have a recent/up to date backup of Documents and Desktop, ideally on an external drive? If not, ensure you have a backup before proceeding.

Then, follow the instructions in https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206985 to check whether Documents/Desktop are stored in iCloud and turn it off if it is still on.

  • Is there a way to show the Documents folder in Finder, without disabling Documents/Desktop in iCloud? I'd like to keep my data in iCloud but also have the Documents folder shown in its usual place.
    – Drarok
    Commented Apr 23 at 12:00
  • @Drarok You probably can create an alias pointing to the iCloud folder (maybe you need to call it MyDocs or similar).
    – nohillside
    Commented Apr 23 at 12:45

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