Home > Mac administration, macOS > Disabling iCloud Desktop and Documents syncing

Disabling iCloud Desktop and Documents syncing

As part of my pre-release testing of macOS Sierra, I tested iCloud Desktop and Documents syncing and decided I was not going to use it because of the problems I found. However, at that time I could not find a way to disable only iCloud Desktop and Documents without having to disable iCloud Drive entirely.

As part of the release of macOS 10.12.4, Apple has made available a profile option that allows for the specific disabling of iCloud Desktop and Documents syncing without needing to block iCloud Drive.

Screen Shot 2017 03 15 at 9 36 16 AM

For more details, see below the jump.

For those who want to disable iCloud Desktop and Documents, I’ve created a .mobileconfig file and posted it here on Github:


Once installed, you should be able to have iCloud Drive enabled in your iCloud settings.

Screen Shot 2017 03 15 at 9 36 42 AM

When you click the Options… button for iCloud Drive, the Desktop & Documents Folders setting should appear as grayed out and not selectable.

Screen Shot 2017 03 15 at 9 37 03 AM

Categories: Mac administration, macOS
  1. Richard Smith
    March 27, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    This article fails to make it clear it is written from an administrative perspective (i.e. forced disabled), end users can disable their own iCloud Desktop and Documents syncing without having to disable iCould Drive.

  2. Daniel Green
    March 27, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Tried to upload this to a config profile in JAMF, but doesn’t seem to be working. Profile is blank. Doesn’t have the custom settings that I’d expect.

    (ps, I know that JAMF will support this natively, but requires an upgrade that we don’t yet have in place)

    • Daniel Green
      March 27, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Nevermind, I’m an idiot. Worked as advertised.

  3. March 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    What happens if the user already had Desktop/Documents sync turned on when this profile is deployed to turn it off?

    • Ken
      February 2, 2019 at 4:36 am

      This is a great question. We want to turn it off but there are already some users that have activated this feature. Don’t want to wipe out any files..

  4. August 1, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    There’s a bug in Apple’s implementation of this setting whereby it can be bypassed in the Manage Storage dialog. See my Open Radar at https://openradar.appspot.com/33652807 and dupe if necessary.

  5. Michael Kay
    February 14, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    I plan on disabling this using a config profile in JAMF, but how can I find via command line or script whether Desktop and Documents syncing is actually enabled? Only thing I have been able to do so far is see whether the iCloud Drive service is enable or disabled.

  6. Will Fieldsend
    April 30, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Does this work under High Sierra? Specifically 10.13.3 and higher.
    I am using AirWatch as an MDM solution, I’ve copied and pasted the custom profile you’ve kindly provided to an AirWatch custom profile, but it doesn’t do anything.

  7. Djc
    March 22, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    It seems this EA is not reporting status correctly in Mojave. The EA is looking for /Users/$loggedInUser/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/Desktop and /Users/$loggedInUser/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/Documents. /Users/$loggedInUser/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs/Desktop doesn’t seem to exist in Mojave if the user has doc syncing enabled. Since the EA requires both to exist to report true, it reports false when sync is indeed enabled. Can anyone else validate?

  8. Alex
    August 6, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    How did you guys deal with people that already had icloud drive enabled? like their documents and data?

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