How to use iCloud Drive on the Web, iOS and OS X

Posted:
in iCloud edited December 2014
Since its debut, iCloud has gone from a barebones syncing and backup service to a more full-featured, cross-platform cloud storage solution. Here's a rundown of how to use and get the most out of the modern iCloud Drive on iOS, OS X and the Web.




Longtime Apple users may remember Apple's first foray into the cloud storage and sync service, iDrive. A part of the MobileMe cloud suite, iDrive was a folder that lived on a user's Mac that would sync to the MobileMe service. On the Web, iDisk files could then be accessed, downloaded and shared via email.

iCloud launched without any open, folder-based cloud storage and syncing option. Apple's own productivity apps have been able to sync and access the same "pool of files" across iOS and Mac devices, while third-party apps could sync data through iCloud in the background. iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite now ship with iCloud Drive, Apple's latest attempt to compete with the likes of Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.net, and many others.

Apple's current iteration of iCloud Drive lacks many features offered by other services. There are also significant bugs and quirks that make iCloud Drive difficult to manage.

If you have not already updated to iCloud Drive, this can be done an any iOS 8 device or OS X Yosemite Mac. On iOS go to Settings > iCloud > tap iCloud Drive, then tap Upgrade to iCloud Drive. On your Mac, go to System Preferences, click iCloud, then select iCloud Drive. When asked if you want to upgrade to iCloud Drive, click Continue.

Any Pages, Numbers or Keynote documents will be migrated to iCloud along with files from other productivity apps that previous synced with iCloud, i.e. Byword, Drafts, etc. To access your files in a Web browser, navigate to iCloud.com in either Safari or Chrome. Once you've logged into iCloud, click on iCloud Drive.




Users will be greeted by a thumbnail view of all their folders in iCloud Drive. One of the noticeable bugs is a lack of continuity with the folders you see here and those on your Mac or iOS device. For instance, here on the Web there is an empty "Mindnode" folder, an iOS app. On iOS and the iCloud Drive folder on OS X, this folder doesn't exist.




Double click on any image file you have saved to iCloud Drive to open the raw image in a new tab.




Opening a Pages, Numbers or Keynote file will open the Web versions of these applications. Users can edit, export and save these files from the iCloud Beta productivity suite.




Application folders, like Pages, will only be able to manage Pages files. Users cannot upload an image file to the Pages folder for instance. User-created folders can contain a variety of file types. From the Web, users can upload new files to iCloud Drive or download them to a local machine. The share button will open a compose window and allow you to share even large files via email from your iCloud address.




On OS X Yosemite, the iCloud Drive folder is located in the Finder sidebar. Users can move files to and from this folder as you can on the web. Files will sync in the background. Unfortunately there is no sync status, so there is no way to tell how much longer it will take to sync the files placed in this folder.

Opening Pages, Numbers and Keynote files will launch the OS X apps to edit.




To update which apps have access to your iCloud Drive, users can find this option in System Preferences > iCloud.




Click the Options button next to iCloud Drive to bring up a list of Applications. If users choose to stop syncing an app's data through iCloud, uncheck the corresponding box.




On your iOS device, go to Settings > iCloud and tap iCloud Drive. Here you will also see a list of apps accessing iCloud Drive and can choose to restrict access.




One of the major downfalls of iCloud Drive is a lack of any first party app to manage your files on iOS devices. Some apps can open data from iCloud Drive, such as productivity apps, Pages, etc. If users want to see the folder view available on the Web and OS X, a third-party app is needed.

One of the best options for this is Documents 5 by Readdle. Available for free in the App Store, this universal app can connect to various cloud services including Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud Drive.

Download Documents 5 and give it access to iCloud Drive upon opening.




Tap on iCloud Drive and you will see the full folder list available. From Documents 5, users can choose to open files in their respective applications or send to other third-party apps.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    Honestly, I read stuff like this and a small part me dies... The sheer cognitive load that this iCloud Drive introduces is beyond excuse. I want Apple to go back to doing things that 'just work' — seamlessly. Like magic.
    Why are they trying to ape DropBox? We already have a DropBox. Producing a me-too product (or service) and then trying to bake it in to the OS and key apps... Well, that's the sort of thing I expect from Microsoft. Not Apple.
    If you're going to have a cloud-based storage system, then call it Finder. And make it a seamless part of the Finder.
  • Reply 2 of 23
    I have tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to use iCloud to "mirror" 60 GByte of data (from portable computer) for use during travel. Working with an Apple Senior Advisor for days on end, who also has (behind the scenes) contacted Apple Engineers, we cannot yet solve issues of Encrypted Files and Folders appearing on iOS devices and folders not appearing on iOS devices when trying to access via iWork apps (on iOS). These same Encrypted folders appear on the web based iCloud Drive and are accessible via "local" (meaning a portable computer) and web-based iWork apps.

    I have concluded that iCloud drive is more of an alpha product than a beta, since it "Just doesn't Work".

    Recommendations:

    - have an iCloud Drive app for iOS, much like Google Drive

    - permit iWorks apps on iOS to open and save documents to Google Drive

    - develop an iOS (iWork?) PDF reader. Amazingly so, an iOS homologue of Preview does not exist.

    - like Google Drive, develop a method to show synchronization progress (or lack thereof) on the host computer to users

    - oh, and fix the synchronization so one doesn't have Encrypted files and folders and more generally
  • Reply 3 of 23
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,328member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by asterion View Post



    Honestly, I read stuff like this and a small part me dies... The sheer cognitive load that this iCloud Drive introduces is beyond excuse. I want Apple to go back to doing things that 'just work' — seamlessly. Like magic.

    Why are they trying to ape DropBox? We already have a DropBox. Producing a me-too product (or service) and then trying to bake it in to the OS and key apps... Well, that's the sort of thing I expect from Microsoft. Not Apple.

    If you're going to have a cloud-based storage system, then call it Finder. And make it a seamless part of the Finder.



    I think they're trying to follow Steve's vision of people not needing to deal with raw files and folders anymore: just relevant documents within each app that uses them.

     

    The problem is that OS X still has raw file/folder access but iOS doesn't.  So you're interacting with files one way on your desktop machine and another way on your iPhone/iPad, which is confusing.  Especially given that, for files like PDFs or images, there may be many apps on your phone which can view/edit them.  So then you have to choose which app you want to store them in depending on what you want to do at any given moment.  That's where the whole "no one needs a filesystem" system breaks down for me.

     

    What would fix this is simply have a pool of files stored in iCloud Drive that any app on iOS has access to (if the user permits it).  But don't just make it raw file/folder access, filter the list by the types of files a given app can work with.  That way, if I have a PDF file and 3 apps which can edit it, I simply open the app I need on a given day, point it at the PDF in the file pool, edit, save, and the other 2 apps can pick up the new version immediately.  Rather than needing to have 3 different copies of the PDF that aren't in sync.

     

    And yes, I realize that the workaround is to use a 3rd party cloud drive service to store my files, then open them from there in other apps (or do it via the mentioned Documents app).  But that requires the other apps to also have the ability to store the files back to that cloud drive service/iCloud in the same location, which most don't.  If it was all built into iCloud Drive, and apps didn't have to know/care where the file exists, it would be much more elegant.

  • Reply 4 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by asterion View Post



    Honestly, I read stuff like this and a small part me dies... The sheer cognitive load that this iCloud Drive introduces is beyond excuse. I want Apple to go back to doing things that 'just work' — seamlessly. Like magic.



    Agreed. I can only surmise that Apple is exercising extreme caution to prevent unauthorized access to your content lest your unattractive iPhone selfies be posted on TMZ. Unfortunately, in practice that means using iCloud Drive in conjunction with Macs and iOS devices borders on the incomprehensible while your documents sync, or not, for reasons known only to Apple. Or not. And God help you if you change your Apple ID password. Put all your work on hold for at least a day while various credentials consisting of your iCloud Security Code, iCloud Keychain Verification Code, Recovery Key, etc, all sort themselves out on their own timetable... if they do at all, without having to call Apple to get them to sort it out.

     

    Perhaps one day Apple will get it right and it will be as seamless as it ought to be, but that day isn't here yet.

  • Reply 5 of 23
    auxio wrote: »

    I think they're trying to follow Steve's vision of people not needing to deal with raw files and folders anymore: just relevant documents within each app that uses them.

    The problem is that OS X still has raw file/folder access but iOS doesn't.  So you're interacting with files one way on your desktop machine and another way on your iPhone/iPad, which is confusing.  Especially given that, for files like PDFs or images, there may be many apps on your phone which can view/edit them.  So then you have to choose which app you want to store them in depending on what you want to do at any given moment.  That's where the whole "no one needs a filesystem" system breaks down for me.

    What would fix this is simply have a pool of files stored in iCloud Drive that any app on iOS has access to (if the user permits it).  But don't just make it raw file/folder access, filter the list by the types of files a given app can work with.  That way, if I have a PDF file and 3 apps which can edit it, I simply open the app I need on a given day, point it at the PDF in the file pool, edit, save, and the other 2 apps can pick up the new version immediately.  Rather than needing to have 3 different copies of the PDF that aren't in sync.

    And yes, I realize that the workaround is to use a 3rd party cloud drive service to store my files, then open them from there in other apps (or do it via the mentioned Documents app).  But that requires the other apps to also have the ability to store the files back to that cloud drive service/iCloud in the same location, which most don't.  If it was all built into iCloud Drive, and apps didn't have to know/care where the file exists, it would be much more elegant.

    Which vision of the week was this one? I must have missed it during the NeXT years and most of Apple.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    asterion wrote: »
    Honestly, I read stuff like this and a small part me dies... The sheer cognitive load that this iCloud Drive introduces is beyond excuse. I want Apple to go back to doing things that 'just work' — seamlessly. Like magic.
    Why are they trying to ape DropBox? We already have a DropBox. Producing a me-too product (or service) and then trying to bake it in to the OS and key apps... Well, that's the sort of thing I expect from Microsoft. Not Apple.
    If you're going to have a cloud-based storage system, then call it Finder. And make it a seamless part of the Finder.

    Everything written in this post is optional, you don't need to do anything written here. In fact, you haven't had the ability to access your iCloud drive in the past, and everything worked fine. The only reason Apple is opening up this functionality, is for the few who need it – those people are probably willing to deal with the idiosyncrasies. That's why they buried the option in the settings menus, so that the rest of the iPhone population could go on as usual, without having to learn more but having the same functionality as in the past.

    I think the iCloud Drive solution is a bit outside of Apples norm, but I'm happy they are giving more fine-grained controls to people who want access. As long as they bury it behind a settings menu, give us more controls!.. We can continue using dropbox, as well. i'm sure that even this hidden feature will continue to get better and better, Apple has proven that they don't give up on quality.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    Butt... but ... The Finder!

    What is not covered here is simply using the Finder in OS X. You can create a folder drag and drop and use iCloud Drive just like any other external hard drive. That is ... except it works by creating a folder in the ~/Library and copying the data there from whence it is synced to the iCloud Drive in its own sweet time. From what I can tell these are aliases if the original files are located on the Mac's boot drive. If the files are on an external drive then they are copied to this folder first then synced to the cloud. It gets more complex when you access these from another of your own Macs. I am still trying to get my head around what goes on with that. I am not going to waste anymore time until this goes out of beta as it may change. As it is, with a new Mac Pro and its annoyingly small internal SSD, copying anything from my externals to iCloud Drive is obviously impossible as there is insufficient room on the boot SSD.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    asterion wrote: »
    Honestly, I read stuff like this and a small part me dies... The sheer cognitive load that this iCloud Drive introduces is beyond excuse. I want Apple to go back to doing things that 'just work' — seamlessly. Like magic.
    Why are they trying to ape DropBox? We already have a DropBox. Producing a me-too product (or service) and then trying to bake it in to the OS and key apps... Well, that's the sort of thing I expect from Microsoft. Not Apple.
    If you're going to have a cloud-based storage system, then call it Finder. And make it a seamless part of the Finder.

    You almost have that in OS X. Quirks aside, (see my previous post) you can treat iCloud Drive just like any external drive with the Finder.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    I am hesitant to active this since my guess it that it will use up all my iCloud space. I'm not that interested in paying for more space for a service I will rarely use.

    The real world applications seem limited unless you work exclusively on the Mac and use Apple apps. A lot of us have to use windows at work (unfortunately) so whilst this is neat I don't see the need.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by auxio View Post

     



    I think they're trying to follow Steve's vision of people not needing to deal with raw files and folders anymore: just relevant documents within each app that uses them.

     

    The problem is that OS X still has raw file/folder access but iOS doesn't.  So you're interacting with files one way on your desktop machine and another way on your iPhone/iPad, which is confusing.  Especially given that, for files like PDFs or images, there may be many apps on your phone which can view/edit them.  So then you have to choose which app you want to store them in depending on what you want to do at any given moment.  That's where the whole "no one needs a filesystem" system breaks down for me.

     

    What would fix this is simply have a pool of files stored in iCloud Drive that any app on iOS has access to (if the user permits it).  But don't just make it raw file/folder access, filter the list by the types of files a given app can work with.  That way, if I have a PDF file and 3 apps which can edit it, I simply open the app I need on a given day, point it at the PDF in the file pool, edit, save, and the other 2 apps can pick up the new version immediately.  Rather than needing to have 3 different copies of the PDF that aren't in sync.

     

    And yes, I realize that the workaround is to use a 3rd party cloud drive service to store my files, then open them from there in other apps (or do it via the mentioned Documents app).  But that requires the other apps to also have the ability to store the files back to that cloud drive service/iCloud in the same location, which most don't.  If it was all built into iCloud Drive, and apps didn't have to know/care where the file exists, it would be much more elegant.


    The bare minimum of how iCloud could work is to replicate an ordinary folder structure plus 'saved searches' replacing the now difficult-to-understand folders for certain apps such as Pages. Right now, they aren't ordinary folders because you can only put e.g. Pages files in there. But they are also not exclusive storage locations for Pages documents, because (apart from the other 'special' folders) you can put Pages files whereever you want. They just don't show up in the Pages special folder. Of course, saving to a Saved Search folder on the Mac isn't possible, so saving to one of the iCloud 'Saved Search' folders should save the file in the iCloud root folder, and any sub-folder of the 'Saved Search' folder should become a sub-folder of the iCloud root folder.

  • Reply 11 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by auxio View Post

     



    I think they're trying to follow Steve's vision of people not needing to deal with raw files and folders anymore: just relevant documents within each app that uses them.

     

    The problem is that OS X still has raw file/folder access but iOS doesn't.  So you're interacting with files one way on your desktop machine and another way on your iPhone/iPad, which is confusing.  Especially given that, for files like PDFs or images, there may be many apps on your phone which can view/edit them.  So then you have to choose which app you want to store them in depending on what you want to do at any given moment.  That's where the whole "no one needs a filesystem" system breaks down for me.

     

    What would fix this is simply have a pool of files stored in iCloud Drive that any app on iOS has access to (if the user permits it).  But don't just make it raw file/folder access, filter the list by the types of files a given app can work with.  That way, if I have a PDF file and 3 apps which can edit it, I simply open the app I need on a given day, point it at the PDF in the file pool, edit, save, and the other 2 apps can pick up the new version immediately.  Rather than needing to have 3 different copies of the PDF that aren't in sync.

     

    And yes, I realize that the workaround is to use a 3rd party cloud drive service to store my files, then open them from there in other apps (or do it via the mentioned Documents app).  But that requires the other apps to also have the ability to store the files back to that cloud drive service/iCloud in the same location, which most don't.  If it was all built into iCloud Drive, and apps didn't have to know/care where the file exists, it would be much more elegant.




    I absolutely love and need Dropbox. I would be happy if Apple just copied the way DB does things, which is what you described in your 3rd paragraph. I'm not sure what is holding Apple up on all of this stuff because from the outside, it seems so easy. DB has figured out an elegant solution and whatever difficult shenanigans are going on in the background, they certainly managed to hide it from the user.

     

    Apple has other security concerns and probably is thinking of how to add features that make Finder and iCloud integration super special and the service to use. I'm hoping that's the hold up.

     

    I'm not a programmer so I'm not aware of how difficult syncing and integration is, but it must be extremely challenging. I remember John Gruber being frustrated with all the photo syncing options from Apple, saying he just wants his photos to be stored in the cloud and accessible from any of his devices. Any and all edits and updates are reflected immediately in all your devices.

     

    Sounds so simple. Maybe soon.

  • Reply 12 of 23

    I use it and find it pretty simple. I do have a background in I.T., so that may give me an advantage over all those who find it confusing. But my wife and kids use it too, and I doubt they even realize they do.

     

    From my Apple products at home, to my Apple products with me in the car (iPad, iPhone), to my Windows machine at the office, I can access and edit documents created in Pages, Numbers or Keynote, upload Word, Excel and PowerPoint to store in iCloud (drag and drop on the browser page), and no one can get to them except me, since I use 2-factor authentication.

     

    And Apple is offering it as a competitive product to Dropbox (which I've used) for the same reason there's Box.com (which I use), Tresorit (which I use), Copy (which I've used), Google Drive (which I use), Mega (which I use), and other cloud storage solutions: they want people to use their products, get familiar and comfortable using their system, go to one place to get questions answered and eventually go to that same place to buy more products.

  • Reply 13 of 23
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    Whatever Apple is doing, they need to simply things.

     

    There's iCloud Photos, then there's My Photo Stream, then there's iCloud Photo library Beta! Should I have them all on? Only some of them?

     

    What the hell! That is too confusing, and I don't have the time or desire to figure such crap out!

     

    I still use dropbox when I just need to store something in the cloud and have it accessible by all my devices.

  • Reply 14 of 23
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    Its kinda funny the campaign some people have against iCloud Drive and pretend like its confusing in some way, but yet Dropbox is better because its somehow simpler.....

     

    With Dropbox....

     

    1. I have to Download, Install, Setup and Sign In to a desktop app on every PC or Mac I own. All with a different account name and password than what I use for iCloud. 

     

    2. I have a pretty much worthless standalone iOS App. Saving files to it is difficult, unorganized, and messy, and opening Files FROM it is less available and less popular across iOS Apps than iCloud Drive, which has only been out for a few months (as opposed to the years-headstart Dropbox has had).

     

    With iCloudDrive....

    1. I just login to my devices. If I happen to have a Windows PC in the mix, I take one extra step. But all with the same account information, and billing, that is tied to my Apple devices already (in other words, this is FIRST party, not third party).

     

    2. On iOS, iCloud Drive is pretty much everywhere. It fits in with the way iOS already has, always has, and always will work, which is APP CENTRIC, not File System Centric. iCloudDrive works the way it needs to, and is everywhere it needs to be. Its in more places than Dropbox, and no I do not consider a standalone app to be a benefit. The Dropbox App is itself terribly useless on iOS. 

  • Reply 15 of 23

    I really really really wish iCloud worked on a local syncing basis.

     

    I wish that I could just have my files on my desktop the way I have them now. I wish I could select one (or however many), pick an option equivalent to “Sync With iCloud”, and that file would be copied and created in an identical folder tree on my laptop and all my other devices. There’d be a little banner or icon showing on the window when the file is open (and in Finder) to show the files that are mirrored in this way.

     

    I wish that, then, when I made changes to that file, they would commit to my other devices automatically. So that instead of being forced into a web-based or offsite-based system to see updates, I still have all my files locally, “backed up” as a total system duplicate across my devices. I’m sick of having to manually copy my files between my computers using an effing USB flash drive.

     

    Basically the opposite of the “central data, decentralized access” that Steve had at NeXT.

  • Reply 16 of 23
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    Whatever Apple is doing, they need to simply things.

     

    There's iCloud Photos, then there's My Photo Stream, then there's iCloud Photo library Beta! Should I have them all on? Only some of them?

     

    What the hell! That is too confusing, and I don't have the time or desire to figure such crap out!

     

    I still use dropbox when I just need to store something in the cloud and have it accessible by all my devices.




    Yep. My parents just bought a nifty new iPad Air 2 and my dad asked me how they could have all their photos in the cloud so they could view them with their Apple TV, new and old iPads and on the computer. Since they had all their stuff on their computer, I thought it was as simple as checking a box somewhere.

     

    But that didn't work. So I had to go online and read up on how iCloud worked with iPhoto. It wasn't a one-click, make this stuff work, solution.

     

    I think we'll get there. One of the obstacles is the stingy amount of space given for free while also advocating the use of these services for any and all media, across several devices. If I were Apple, I'd be quickly pushing for 20 GB free. It's not that this stuff is all that expensive, but I'd be aiming for a usable amount of free space that would make people happy, then get them addicted, then encourage them to expand via reasonably priced upgrades.

  • Reply 17 of 23
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,379member
    bugsnw wrote: »

    Yep. My parents just bought a nifty new iPad Air 2 and my dad asked me how they could have all their photos in the cloud so they could view them with their Apple TV, new and old iPads and on the computer. Since they had all their stuff on their computer, I thought it was as simple as checking a box somewhere.

    But that didn't work. So I had to go online and read up on how iCloud worked with iPhoto. It wasn't a one-click, make this stuff work, solution.

    I think we'll get there. One of the obstacles is the stingy amount of space given for free while also advocating the use of these services for any and all media, across several devices. If I were Apple, I'd be quickly pushing for 20 GB free. It's not that this stuff is all that expensive, but I'd be aiming for a usable amount of free space that would make people happy, then get them addicted, then encourage them to expand via reasonably priced upgrades.

    There was something to be said for the simplicity of iPhoto or Aperture's method. Make an Album and publish it with sharing. Go to Apple TV and there it is. I have numerous albums for various occasions to show on Apple TV as a screen saver while listening to music. from iTunes Match and I wonder what happens when the new system kicks in. A lot of work when into making them.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

     

    Whatever Apple is doing, they need to simply things.

     

    There's iCloud Photos, then there's My Photo Stream, then there's iCloud Photo library Beta! Should I have them all on? Only some of them?

     

    What the hell! That is too confusing, and I don't have the time or desire to figure such crap out!

     

    I still use dropbox when I just need to store something in the cloud and have it accessible by all my devices.




    Yep. My parents just bought a nifty new iPad Air 2 and my dad asked me how they could have all their photos in the cloud so they could view them with their Apple TV, new and old iPads and on the computer. Since they had all their stuff on their computer, I thought it was as simple as checking a box somewhere.

     

    But that didn't work. So I had to go online and read up on how iCloud worked with iPhoto. It wasn't a one-click, make this stuff work, solution.

     

    I think we'll get there. One of the obstacles is the stingy amount of space given for free while also advocating the use of these services for any and all media, across several devices. If I were Apple, I'd be quickly pushing for 20 GB free. It's not that this stuff is all that expensive, but I'd be aiming for a usable amount of free space that would make people happy, then get them addicted, then encourage them to expand via reasonably priced upgrades.


     

    20-25GB free would be a good place to start. A certain amount of iCloud storage per owned/registered device would be nice too.

     

    Since it never hurts to ask, I'm going to go drop this idea in the Apple suggestion box:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/icloud.html

  • Reply 19 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DogGone View Post



    I am hesitant to active this since my guess it that it will use up all my iCloud space. I'm not that interested in paying for more space for a service I will rarely use.



    The real world applications seem limited unless you work exclusively on the Mac and use Apple apps. A lot of us have to use windows at work (unfortunately) so whilst this is neat I don't see the need.

     

    wee bit confused. if you don't use the service (iCloud space) then you wont be paying for extra space. further, the nice thing about iCloud drive is that you can actually retrieve stuff from it on windows. 

  • Reply 20 of 23
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,749member
    The report's a bit off, iDisk dates back to iTools around 2000 but it was painful saving files directly over dial-up. Broadband & sync folders helped but files in the cloud are mutton dressed as lamb.

    iCloud Drive is lip-service because people are just thick; we don't get that the best management is no management. Most app data is totally proprietary and only works across different devices on the same app. For standards-based data common folders could work (you can create them) but why when extensions are a better way of using functions across apps?

    It's a shame that Photos is late for OSX as iPhoto works but is confusing, recreate your albums as shared folders with no recipients and you've got your cross-device sync. In fact, ditch the Mac/PC as your primary device & iCloud Photo Library works a treat. I just use the Mac for advanced edits and backup.
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