macOS: Remove Desktop or Documents Folder from iCloud Drive Syncing

If you have not subscribed to iCloud storage plans, you will just get 5GB of storage and if you use the same Apple ID with your iPhone, Macbook and other devices its can easy get full within days.

You might have noticed that when you setup your new Mac or install a fresh macOS (e.g. macOS Ventura 13) you would see that iCloud syncs the Desktop and Downloads folders by default to iCloud Drive.

Removing Desktop and Documents folders from iCloud Drive

  1. Click on the Apple Menu 
  2. Select System Preferences... (System Settings... on macOS Ventura),
  3. Now click on your user Memoji and click on iCloud Drive,
  4. Click on the Apps Syncing to iCloud Drive Options... button,
  5. Uncheck - Desktop & Documents Folders
    Remove Desktop and Documents folders from iCloud Drive Sync
  6. You will see a message,

    If you continue, items will be removed from the Desktop and the Documents folder on this Mac and will remain available in iCloud Drive.

    New items added to your Desktop or your Documents folder on this Mac will no longer be stored in iCloud Drive.

  7. Click turn off

All the files that were synced in iCloud from your Desktop and Downloads folders will disappear from your Mac, but will be available on your iCloud which you can copy back if you want, but these folders will no longer sync with iCloud Drive.

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Rakesh (He/Him) has over 14+ years of experience in Web and Application development. He is the author of insightful How-To articles for Code2care.

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