Four features iCloud Drive desperately needs

I’ve used all of the major “folders that sync” services over the years. Dropbox was the original solution, but I’ve also used OneDrive, Box, Google Drive, and iCloud. They all have good points and weak points.

I’ve personally settled on iCloud Drive because it’s built into macOS and iOS, but it’s not without room for improvement. Here are four things that Apple needs to add to iCloud Drive in the very near future.

Shared folders have become table stakes in 2018. Pretty much everyone else has it, and it’s missing from iCloud Drive. Dropbox has had this functionality from basically the beginning. Shared folders also work extremely well in Google Drive. Why doesn’t iCloud Drive have this feature yet?

I’d ideally like to be able to have a persistent folder with other iCloud accounts that allows to me set read/write permissions. I’d love to be able to say a certain person can copy files to/from but doesn’t have edit permission. I’d also like to be able to give a trusted person rights to edit and remove files as well.

I’d like to be able to generate a web link that allows people not using iCloud to upload files that would then download on my Mac. This would be a “write” only file permission for anyone with the public link.

iCloud.com allows you to restore deleted files, but it’s super clunky and slow. This is especially true if you aren’t looking for a file that was just deleted. In fact, iCloud’s entire web UI could use an overhaul. It all feels like a desktop app inside of a browser (and a slow version at that). I’d love to see iCloud Drive’s restore functionality come to macOS with a similar interface to Time Machine.

I’d love to be able to mark certain folders as “online only.” Online only means that I don’t want it to be stored on my computer. It can show the thumbnail icon. An example of this would be my audiobooks archive folder. It’s around 10 GB, and I wish it could just live in iCloud. While I have space locally, I’d prefer not even to sync it locally unless I wanted to. Dropbox offers various flavors of this (Selective Sync, etc.).

With Dropbox, creating shared links is dead simple. On the Mac, it’s right click > Copy Public Link. You can share that link anywhere.

With iCloud Drive, it’s possible, but it’s very tedious to set up. You have to manually set up public permissions on each link even if you copy the link directly. This feature needs to work just like Dropbox. I need to be able to right-click on file> Copy Public Link.

I’ve found iCloud Drive to meet my needs for everything but the collaboration of documents. For those situations, I tend to use Google Drive on the web (Google Docs, Spreadsheets, etc.). For everything else, I’ve started to use iCloud Drive.

What do you think? Does iCloud Drive meet all of your needs? What features From Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or Box does it need to add to make you switch? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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