In this question, I learned that the "dotted-line cloud" icon in OS X's iCloud file view means "Waiting to upload". While writing a document in Byword today, I saved it and found it had been marked with this icon - there were several other documents, months old, that still had the "Waiting" icon as well.

Is there any way to, if not force, gently encourage these files to upload to iCloud?

  • The gently encourage part is so Apple :) I was wondering if there would be a better solution now in 2017. But apparently not. – JP Hellemons Aug 22 '17 at 13:47
  • It appears that attempting to download them from iCloud on another computer will cause the computer that actually has them to upload them (assuming the host is also connected at that time) – iconoclast Oct 4 '17 at 3:09
  • In my case, I was trying to upload a file to icloud via an iPhone, and it got stuck in the message "waiting to upload". But later, as soon as I turned on the Wifi in my home, it started uploading immediately!... it was nice, it didn't want to burden my cell phone bill :-) – Alexandre Dec 31 '17 at 20:38

I was concerned I'd have to save these documents to my local filesystem, delete them from iCloud, and then perhaps save them to iCloud over again, but it turned out that simply re-opening the "Waiting" documents, making a trivial change to them (such as deleting a character and then adding it in again), and then saving the file caused them to be synced successfully.


I had to shut down and restart my iPad Pro in order to get the PSD file I was trying to upload to finally stop “waiting to upload” and just do it already.


I bought a new iPad Pro and after recovering from backup I got the same problem: files saved from iPad to iCloud Drive were not syncing along with Notability not syncing notes created on iPad. I tried setting it up as new and rebooting it - didn’t work. What solved the problem is signing off iCloud account and removing the data from all the devices assigned to my account and then signing back in. After doing so on all of my devices (two iMacs and iPhone) and signing back in, syncing worked as it should in iCloud Drive and in Notability. The last was my working computer but I don’t think that it was the culprit, rather resetting all the links with nodes that did the job.


I ran into a similar problem but every time I tried to open the file, the hosting application (Keynote in this case) hung. I was able to killall -9 ubd to unwedge iCloud.

  • No matching processes were found – iconoclast Dec 28 '17 at 4:45
  • Yes, this was a nearly 4 year old response. ubd no longer exists on current macOS versions. – Nicholas Riley Dec 30 '17 at 14:50
  • What is the current alternative? Do you know of any? (And I'm on 10.11.6 anyway—originally to maintain the use of Karabiner, and later because the hassle of recreating my Karabiner config in Karabiner Elements outweighs any obvious benefits of upgrading.) – iconoclast Jan 3 '18 at 22:19

The way I fixed it was to drag one document over another, which automatically creates a folder (like in iOS). Then, I dragged them back out from the folder, and the status waiting status was gone.

  • This does absolutely nothing for me. – iconoclast Dec 28 '17 at 4:46

The way I fixed “waiting” was to drag one document over another while holding down “option” key.

  • Besides copying one of the files, this changed the status message under the file to "Uploading" for several seconds, but it reverted back to "Waiting to upload"... and then to "Uploading", and back to "Waiting to upload".... 😱 – iconoclast Dec 28 '17 at 4:43

When I first experienced this problem I tried clicking on the icloud download icon and I received the "waiting" message after about five minutes. However, I checked inside the folder and noticed that other documents also had the "waiting" message. I navigated to the upper level folder and clicked icloud icon of the folder with my "waiting" documents inside. It took about 35 minute and I never navigated away, but all the documents marked as "waiting" eventually downloaded.

  1. 2-finger-click the song.

  2. Select "Add song to iCloud music library".

  • How does this help to upload stuck files into iCloud? – nohillside Jan 22 '16 at 19:51
  • We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – Tetsujin Jan 23 '16 at 8:55

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