How Can I Browse iCloud Drive Files with iOS 8?

iCloud Drive brings new functionality to iCloud for those running iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. Even Windows 7 and later can join in the fun via iCloud for Windows 4.0. While iCloud Drive adds the ability to use Apple's massive data centers for general storage, there are limitations when using iOS 8.

iOS 8 iCloud Drive pic1

Spoiler alert: there is no Finder equivalent or iCloud Drive app for iOS that provides browse access to all of the files stored in an iCloud account. Individual apps such as the iWork suite are iCloud Drive compatible, and will only provide access to files associated with the app.

Many third party iOS apps can utilize iCloud Drive, however to view everything stored in an account the Finder in Yosemite or a compatible web browser must be utilized. In order to browse iCloud Drive files, the service must be properly configured.

iOS 8 iCloud Drive pic2

Once the iOS device is updated to iOS 8, the one-way upgrade to iCloud Drive can be accomplished from Settings -> iCloud -> iCloud Drive -> Upgrade to iCloud Drive. To see what files are stored in iCloud Drive from a Mac running Yosemite, navigate to the Apple menu -> System Preferences -> iCloud and sign in with the correct Apple ID. Files will appear in the Finder under iCloud Drive, listed in the sidebar.

iOS 8 iCloud Drive pic3
Windows users can install iCloud for Windows 4.0 and browse the contents of their iCloud Drive in the File Explorer. Last but not least, iCloud Drive files can be accessed directly from a web browser at Apple has launched a new pricing plan to go with iCloud Drive, with all users receiving 5 GB of storage absolutely free.

It’s possible as the service matures that Apple or a third party developer will offer an iOS app to browse and manipulate files on the iCloud Drive. In the meantime, full access to the contents of the cloud service will only be visible from a computer.


I think Apple has missed the boat by not offering a file browser, it's the most natural thing in the world to browse to the file that's needed, then select it, that way you can organise files the way you want, not be forced to do things their way, it just seems clunky at best, hopefully someone will offer such an app from the app store to enable users to do such a thing.

Not at all. Visual file system managers are from the 80s and while everyone else just regurgitates old ideas Apple are trying to push the art. The truth of iCloud Drive is that it's a great way for people to realise that general file browsers are irrelevant when most files can only be read accurately by their originating application so share-by-rule makes no sense at all. Sure there are some industry-standard file formats (especially media) that make sense to share between apps but multi-app workflows on mobile devices are better served by more modern approaches (such as iOS extensions) than constant browse-load-browse-save clunkiness.

I hope Apple keep innovation when their competitors are just standing there like cattle.


It would be nice to be able to for example email a file in icloud from my iPhone. And prior to that find the correct file and preview it if possible. Till then icloud is not really a serious competitor.

Then it's already a serious contender and has been since day one.

You've always been able to create/edit/preview documents then send/share them directly from the app - in many cases with a more appropriate service than email. You just need to break away from a pull data (attach to email) paradigm to a push data one.

Apple used the transition to touch to innovate and undo the mistakes of the last 30 years. No one else did.



What a crock of krap. You're just being an apologist for Apple not offering a convenient file manager for iOS 8. There are plenty of reasons and times that it would be helpful and handy to be able to look at a file stored on iCloud drive. And then, be able to email it or manipulate it. Not having the ability to see what files are stored in iCloud Drive is a waste of money.

Hear hear! Anyone who thinks that Apple's agenda to strip down the power and usability of basic computer functionality (aka the basic ability to browse files in your device or cloud) is either brainwashed or simple.