Apple moving 'Documents & Data' to iCloud Drive in 2022

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The previously separate iCloud "Documents & Data" service will automatically be merged into Apple's iCloud Drive in May 2022 — but users will have to take steps to continue seeing their documents.

Apple's iCloud Documents & Data is a system that automatically synchronizes data from different apps and makes it available across all devices. Confusingly, it's separate to the "Documents & Desktop" iCloud service that makes your documents folder and Mac desktop available, and it's different to iCloud Drive.

Beginning in May 2022, Apple is attempting to reduce the confusion and streamline the different parts of iCloud storage. The Documents & Data service will be discontinued and all the data in it will automatically be moved to iCloud Drive.

Ultimately, the difference that users will notice is that they will be able to see and access this data directly in the Files app on iOS, or the Finder on Mac. However, while the transition will happen automatically, seeing the data in iCloud Drive will not. Users will have to separately enable this feature.

"In May 2022, iCloud Documents and Data, our legacy document syncing service, will be discontinued and completely replaced by iCloud Drive," says Apple in a support document. "If you use iCloud Documents and Data, your account will be migrated to iCloud Drive after this date."

"If you use the iCloud Documents and Data service, you need to turn on iCloud Drive using the steps below to see your files," it continues.

To turn on iCloud Drive — if you are not already using it — on iOS, you:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap on your name
  3. Tap iCloud
  4. Scroll down to iCloud Drive and turn it on

It's the same process on a Mac, except that you go via System Preferences, and you may be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID.

The removal of the old Documents & Data system follows Apple's move to make iCloud Drive more universally useful. In 2020, it added the Dropbox-like ability to share folders with other users.

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