How to share iCloud folders on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

With iOS 13.4 and macOS Catalina 10.15.4, you can finally share your iCloud folders. Here’s how.

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We’ve been waiting for iCloud folder sharing since Apple announced it back in June of 2019. With iOS 13.4 and macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the feature has finally arrived. Now you can invite several other people to a single iCloud folder, where they can access or add files. You can give people permission to make changes to the folder (adding, changing, or deleting files) or give them view-only permission.

Here’s how to get started with shared iCloud folders.

On iPhone or iPad

Open the Files app, and navigate to iCloud Drive.

Don’t tap on the folder you wish to share—that will open the folder. Instead, tap Select in the upper right, then choose the folder you wish to share.

With the folder selected, tap the share button (the box with the arrow coming out of it) in the lower left.

Select Add People (you may need to swipe up to see it). 

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You’ll be given several options for how you wish to send the invitations: Messages, Mail, Twitter or Facebook DM, and so on. You’ll also have the opportunity to set Share Options.

These options change who has access to the folder (only people you invite, or anyone with the share link) and what they can do with the folder (make changes to the files and subfolders within, or only view files).

If you want to add users later, select your shared folder and tap the Share button again. You’ll notice Add People has changed to Show People. Tap that, and you’ll see who is already invited and you can select Add People to add more. 

You can also select an individual to remove their access or change their permissions.

On a Mac

In the Finder, choose your iCloud Drive in the left sidebar. Then, select the folder you wish to share. Just select it, don’t open it!

With the folder selected, click on the Share button at the top of the Finder window (the box with the arrow coming out of it). Then choose Add People.

You’ll be given several options for how you wish to send the invitations: Messages, Mail, AirDrop, and so on. You’ll also have the opportunity to set Share Options.

macos catalina icloud share Apple

These options change who has access to the folder (only people you invite, or anyone with the share link) and what they can do with the folder (make changes to the files and subfolders within, or only view files).

If you want to add users later, select your shared folder and click the Share button again. You’ll notice Add People has changed to Show People. Click that, and you’ll see who is already invited and can select Add People to add more. 

You can also select an individual and then click the (...) button to remove their access or change their permissions.

On iCloud.com

You can share your iCloud Drive folders from the web, too. This may not work in every browser, but it should work fine in Safari.

Go to iCloud.com and log in, then open iCloud Drive. Select the folder you wish to share, but don’t open it!

Then select the Add People button at the top of the window. Just like on iOS or macOS, you’ll be given an option for how you’d like to share the invite (via link or email) and an option to change permissions.

safari icloud share Apple

Also like iOS or macOS, the Add People button will change to a Show People button once a folder is shared. You can change individual permissions and add or remove users there.

Deleting files and folders

Deleting files and folders works just like it usually does, with a couple of unique caveats.

If users have permission to make changes, they can delete any file or subfolder inside the main shared folder. It will be removed from all shared participants. If you change your mind about deleting it, you can find it in the Trash on a Mac or the Recently Deleted folder in the Files app on iPhone or iPad.

But only the original owner of a main shared folder is able to delete it. If they do so, it will be deleted from all shared users’ devices. If one of the invited users tries to delete a main shared folder, they will only remove their access to it. It will not be removed from other users’ devices.

This story, "How to share iCloud folders on iPhone, iPad, and Mac" was originally published by Macworld.

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