iCloud Drive shared file testing

Pardon my naive question, but does iCloud Drive have support for sharing over a URL? Apart form moving stuff between my Mac and my iPhone (which iCloud Drive does), this is probably my single most used Dropbox feature.

No, it seems to be aimed more at stable groups, so Josh and Tonya and I could all share a TidBITS folder. But there’s no way I see currently to share a URL to a specific file with any random person. Early days yet, so we’ll look into all this.


Under the ‘Add People’ sharing option, one of the choices is to share a link. I have created a special test rtf file and put it in my iCloud files to test this. You can find it here. And, here is the URL written out:

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Looks promising. I was able to just download the file so I suppose that means even people without iCloud could use that to get files from somebody using iCloud. Not quite as simple maybe as Dropbox’s right-click option, but definitely getting close. :slight_smile:

Aha! Points to @aforkosh for finding this. That significantly increases the functionality of iCloud Drive Folder Sharing. Two questions:

  • Can someone easily test to see what happens on a non-Apple system?
  • It looks like you shared this View Only. Let’s see what happens with Make Changes permissions.

This text file is shared with anyone via link and with make changes allowed. Go ahead and open it, put your name and the local time and date in.


I was able to open the document on my iPad and add this (Note that I am not time traveling, there’s a typo, this was done on 03-25):

  • Rob Johnson here 20 Mar 2020 @ 12:41 PDT. First opened into Ulysses which I do not have a license for anymore and would not let me edit the document without paying for it. So I backed out and deleted the app. When I retried to open it, it opened in Readdle Documents, where I am able to edit.

I’m not sure the mechanism that is used to choose which application will be used to edit the document, but it looks like if I tap-hold the document then choose the share icon, I can use the standard “Open with…” choices. I was also able to open it into PDF Expert.

On Windows, it brings me to a page where I have a choice of adding it to my iCloud Drive, or downloading a copy. Obviously, downloading a copy prevents me from adding my name to the original.

In the Edge and Firefox browsers, if I add to iCloud Drive and log in with my credentials, it opens iCloud Drive on the web. I can open the file, but I cannot edit it.

However, I was able to access the file and it looked like I was able to edit it in Notepad (after updating the iCloud software on Windows.) However, it doesn’t appear that my edits are being uploaded from Windows for some reason. The file in Windows Explorer is shown as edited, but when I check on the Mac, the file is not changed.

(Moving this off to a new topic.)

So this is fascinating. When Mark Williamson updated, something cause a conflict such that it asked me which fork to keep when I tried to open it. I opted for both, and then merged the later people back into the file. (Interestingly, I got this dialog in Mojave too though I responded in Catalina.)

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 4.56.49 PM

You can click the thumbnails to see them in Quick Look:

So the file is full of everyone again. It seems that it’s viewable on iCloud.com but not editable, and @ddmiller’s experiments show that Windows isn’t a complete dead end, even if sharing isn’t possible. @ddmiller, would you have been able to view and download if you hadn’t had iCloud credentials at all?

Yes. Clicking the link gave the choice to enter credentials or download, and clicking the download link did download and open the file.

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I’m on my Mac. If I click on the link Adam posted I am asked to login to my iCloud account.


The file @ace linked to I can only choose to view/download if I log on with my iCloud credentials first. Guess that makes sense if the idea is to collaborate with others.

The file @aforkosh originally linked to I can choose to either save to my iCloud drive (which then requires iCloud login credentials) or I can choose to simply download. Assuming the latter works also on Windows or Linux, I suppose this would be the equivalent to a Dropbox download link.