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iCloud to offer ‘Keep Downloaded’ option in iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia

iCloud Drive is a great way to manage files. It automatically moves files from your iPhone, iPad, or Mac’s Desktop and Documents folders to iCloud to make sure that you have enough local storage space. But an annoying aspect of this is that there’s no way to indicate that you want a file to stay on your device and not be moved to iCloud.

That’s changing in iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia. As reported by MacRumors, Apple is adding a “Keep Downloaded” option that prevents the file from being moved to iCloud and keeps the file on the device. While iCloud for Windows lets you keep files downloaded on your PC, in macOS Sonoma and earlier, files are regularly uploaded to iCloud and need to be re-downloaded before they are accessed.

in IOS 18, when using the Files app to peruse iCloud Drive, tap and hold a file, and in the pop-up menu, a new “Keep Downloaded” option is available. In macOS Sequoia, Control-click a file in the iCloud folder to see “Keep Downloaded.” When this is selected in either OS, the iCloud icon turns solid gray, and the file remains in the iCloud folder–it doesn’t move to On My iPhone, Documents, or some other location.

It’s not clear how this feature works when a user modifies that file. Is the keep-downloaded file a copy of the file on iCloud and changes are synced to the iCloud version? What happens when a keep-downloaded file on one device is accessed by another device? We’ll experiment with this new feature and provide details when the public beta becomes available, but it’s a feature that users have been asking for for quite some time.

For more information about the upcoming OS updates, check out our iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia superguides.