How to Share Files and Folders in iCloud Drive

shared folder icon

With iCloud File Sharing, you can share folders and documents from your Mac, iPhone or iPad with other iCloud users. You may be familiar with this from using other cloud services like Dropbox. You can invite others to view and download a file or an entire folder. If you give permission, the people you invite may also edit the documents.

See also: What is iCloud?

In this article, we will outline the steps for sharing folders from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. We will tell you how to change the permissions, and add or remove participants for your shared folders after you have shared them.

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About Folder Sharing

  • You can share a folder with up to 100 participants. All changes to the shared folder can be seen by all participants.
  • You won’t be able to share the iCloud folders that were created by iCloud or by apps using iCloud. So you can’t share your Desktop or Documents folder.
  • If you are a participant and not the owner of a shared folder, it doesn’t take up any space on your iCloud Drive; only on the owner’s iCloud Drive.

See also: Your iCloud Storage Is Almost Full?

From iPhone or iPad

In order to share files and folders, you will need to be running iOS/iPadOS 13.4 or later. Here is how you can update your device.

See also: Set Up a New iPhone: How to Transfer Data from your Old iPhone

Share a Folder

  1. Open the Files app.
  2. Tap on iCloud Drive to see your Drive contents.
  3. Navigate to the Folder you would like to share. Don’t open the folder, instead, tap on the circle with 3 dots image near the top-right corner of your screen.
tap 3 dots
  1. Tap Select in the menu, then tap the folder you would like to share.
selected folder
  1. Tap the share image in the bottom-left corner of your screen. Then select Add People.
add people
  1. You can choose how you’d like to send your invitation to share the folder.
  2. You can also select Share Options. This is where you can choose the permissions for the shared files.
share folder invite menu
  1. After you share the folder, its image will change to indicate it is a shared folder.
folder shows shared

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Invite/Remove Participants or Change Permissions

With your Files app open and your shared folder visible on your screen, tap , then Select. Select your folder, then tap share and select Show People from the menu. This opens the share options and permissions settings for your shared folder. From this menu you can:

  • Invite participants: Tap Show Shared Folder, then tap Add People.
  • Remove participants: Tap Show Shared Folder, then select the person you would like to remove and tap Remove Access.
  • Change permissions for one participant: Tap the participants name, then select the permission: Can make changes, or View only.
  • Change permission for all participants: Tap Show Shared Folder, then Share Options to open the settings for all participants.
  • Stop sharing: Tap Show Shared Folder then tap Stop Sharing.

From a Mac

For this you will need to be running macOS Catalina 10.15.4 or later.

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Share a Folder

  1. In Finder, select iCloud Drive in the sidebar on the left.
  2. Click once on the folder you want to share.
  3. Click share , then select Add People.
share folder in Finder
  1. Choose how you would like to send the invitation to share the folder. Click on Share Options to view and change the permission settings for the folder. Click Share.
add people to shared folder
  1. When a widow pops up, put in the email address, phone number or name of the person you want to share a folder with and then click Send.

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Invite/Remove Participants or Change Permissions

With Finder open and your shared folder visible, select (but don’t open) your shared folder. Tap share , then select Show People. This opens the share settings for your shared folder. From here you can:

shared folder settings
  • Invite participants: Tap Add People.
  • Remove participants: Select the person you would like to remove and tap next to their name. Tap Remove Access.
  • Change permissions for one participant: Select the participants name, then tap . Select the permission: Can make changes, or View only.
  • Change permission for all participants: Tap Share Options to open the settings for all participants.
  • Stop sharing: Tap Share Options then tap Stop Sharing.

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How to Accept Invites to a Shared Folder

  • All participants must have an Apple ID. If you share a folder with someone who doesn’t have an Apple ID, they will be prompted to create one.
  • After receiving the invite, you must click Add to iCloud Drive to open the folder.

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Dr. Stacey Butler is a tech writer at macReports covering news, how-tos, and user guides. She is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Here is her LinkedIn profile.

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