Apple iCloud Documents ends next year: how to save your data

iCloud across iPhone, iPad and Macbook Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has announced that its legacy service of managing documents in iCloud is ending in May next year.

When iOS 10 was announced back in 2016, a service and an app called iCloud Documents was unveiled, where you could save and manage data on your iPhone or iPad. However, there was confusion as to how the application worked, and a year later it was refactored as the Files app you see today.

At the same time, Apple released a new service called iCloud Drive for managing data, but users had to update it through their settings.

With WWDC 2021 announcing iPadOS 15 and iCloud+ with its privacy features, it only makes sense for Apple to give notice on this legacy feature moving forward.

What is iCloud Drive?

The iCloud Drive service is the newer process that helps sync documents and files between Apple devices, but also syncs other data such as messages and photos.

This is managed through the Files app, where you can duplicate, share and create data to other Apple devices, cloud services or external storage devices.

With iOS 15, Files brings minor improvements, but one highlight is a progress bar, finally seeing how long a transfer of files can take.

How to upgrade to iCloud Drive

With the older service retiring next year, your iCloud account will need to be transferred to the newer iCloud Drive service.

To do this, go to Settings > AppleID at the top > iCloud > Turn iCloud Drive on.

The process will take a few moments, depending on how many documents and files you have on your account.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.