Moving Downloads to iCloud Drive

If you have an iPhone, you’ll notice that any downloads from Safari creates a Downloads folder in iCloud Drive.

However, all Macs have a default Downloads folder that is not in iCloud Drive, and is just in your home user folder. This means that unlike Documents and Desktop which is shared between Macs and iPhones, Downloads isn’t. Especially if you have multiple Macs, here’s a trick to make sharing downloads more convenient:

  1. First: right-click your Downloads folder in iCloud Drive and click Make Alias. You’ll get a new folder with a wiggly arrow around it called Downloads Alias.
  2. Next, move this Downloads Alias to your home user folder, the same folder that has a Downloads folder.
  3. Now, move all Downloads from your original folder to the new Downloads Alias folder.
  4. Next, delete the Downloads folder and rename your alias back to Downloads.
  5. That’s pretty much it, now all your Downloads will be shared between Macs and iPhones.

Note: if you have large file downloads, you can easily eat up the space in your iCloud Drive. But for me, this is an added layer of convenience as I never have to remember if I downloaded a file in my work Mac Mini or my personal laptop, or on my phone. It also gives you a good excuse to regularly prune your Downloads folder for things you don’t want in there (for e.g. large OS disk images, videos or RAW images).

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