One of the major features in Mountain Lion is the ability for almost all programs (certainly all the pre-installed ones and any newer MAS based apps) to store the files that they create and/or edit in iCloud.

I think this is a great thing on the whole, and I will be using a lot for certain apps from now on. Ignoring the argument about (for example) having a txt file that you can only open in Textedit because it is in the Textedit ubiquity container for example, I think it's a good system for those files that are not inherently truly portable between apps.

Anyway, my question is that whilst I like the system, I cannot necessarily totally trust it (yet). I am concerned about the following scenarios, some short, some possible longer term.

  • What happens if my internet connection dies and I cannot contact iCloud
  • What happens is iCloud suffers an outage
  • What happens is iCloud loses or corrupts my documents
  • What happens if someone gains access to my account and deliberately deletes things

These are just some scenarios that could cause me to lose my data. Previously with iDisk, at least you could keep a 1:1 local copy of all your stuff.

Now, I am aware that cached copies of the documents are located at ~/Library/Mobile Documents/..., but from my understanding these files are just the latest versions that the computer knows about, and it's possible that other computers have more recent versions etc, and that also sometimes what you have is just the metadata, with the actual data waiting to be transferred. I'm not sure it is safe to call that a canonical copy for backup purposes (or even that it's safe to open anything in there directly), and anyway it looks a horrible old mess in there and it's barely possible to work out what is what, made worse by the fact that you can see all your iCloud stuff in there on your Mac, even the iPad app data for which there is no Mac app version:

enter image description here

Is there any way to do any or all of the following:

  1. Force iCloud to complete any downloads so that you can take a point in time backup
  2. Backup those files (I am presuming that the above folder is not excluded by Time Machine, so this could be simple (but a specific 'certified' local copy like iDisk used to provide should be ok)
  3. Safely navigate and use the files within the backup for emergency access to files and folders

In short, if I don't trust iCloud, what can I do to feel safe that my data is secure.

  • If you don't trust iCloud don't use it and use DropBox instead. You can have updated local copies easily then.
    – latusaki
    Commented Jul 30, 2012 at 16:50
  • How did you get to that view in finder?
    – Matt
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


I discovered recently that TimeMachine backs up all iCloud data. As long as you use TimeMachine, it is safe to use iCloud. If you want to recover your old (accidentally) deleted files, simply open Pages.app for example in the iCloud view. Then, you can just browse through your file history.

E.g., if you deleted the file today, just go back to yesterday and recover the file in TimeMachine

enter image description here

  • Don't be mislead by this that Time Machine is cleverly backing up the cloud versions of things. It has a copy of the cloud version of yesterday's file only because it was downloaded at the time of yesterday's snapshot. If the space has been reclaimed locally then it won't be in today's snapshot and eventually will be timed out of your Time Machine backup. Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 21:54

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