Prior to OS X Yosemite and Apple’s new iCloud Drive announced on Monday, Mac developers were explicitly required to succumb to the restraints of the Mac App Store to allow their customers to use iCloud file storage within their apps.

Now with the introduction of iCloud Drive, which gives users much clearer access to content stored in iCloud, developers can distribute their apps outside of the Mac App Store and trust that their users can opt to use iCloud for document storage as if they were sold in the Mac App Store…

iCloud Drive is already a big change in direction for Apple as it virtually tried to do away with the file system experience previously and silo files within apps, but this relatively lax approach to iCloud document storage is even more open in comparison.

For one, it gives developers one less reason to use the Mac App Store for distribution which applies the iOS model to desktop apps and in some cases introduce more complexities than it eliminates (see: Panic’s Coda 2.5).

This allows apps downloaded from the Web and other non-Mac App Store sources the same access to content stored in iCloud Drive as Mac App Store apps. For example, a Microsoft Word user on Mac user could access a document created in Pages on iOS and saved to iCloud Drive.

This change in policy was suspected as a result of Apple’s implementation of iCloud Drive within the OS X Finder, but Apple has clearly made the distinction that iCloud document storage will be available to all apps with Yosemite regardless of Mac App Store involvement.


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9 Responses to “iCloud Drive enables non-Mac App Store apps to use iCloud document storage”

  1. nguyenhm16 says:

    You could have just written “iCloud Drive brings back iDisk and/or gives you an Apple-branded version of Dropbox”.


  2. A little late for most companies like Panic, who I am sure spent a lot of money to create its own sync system for Coda 2.5 coming out soon.


  3. bobbell69 says:

    Reblogged this on BobLovesTech and commented:
    Now this has potential.


  4. hmurchison says:

    Panic’s problem wasn’t iCloud it was Sandboxing. I’m keen on hearing about changes to Sandboxing in iOS 8/Yosemite that may alleviate some of the issues that Panic and others have faced.

    That being said I would still choose a Mac App Store app over a direct download for many reasons.

    1. iCloud. While all developers will have iCloud Drive access iCloud is actually a suite of sync services. You have Documents in the Cloud, Key Value and Core Data. iCloud Drive is likely going to deal with just Documents.

    2. I hate managing serial numbers and having to input them or wait for them to be delivered via email.

    3. Mac App Store makes it easy to install the apps on other Macs.

    Extensions show that Apple is getting a bit more comfortable with opening Sandboxing a bit more. I think many of the issues that current developers are facing can be handled with Extensions.


  5. I’m not iCoud savvy – all I know is it ‘just works’. Does anyone know if iCloud Drive can be used to store files that I have on my Mac to iCloud Drive as a backup system? I’d like to dump carbonate when my subscription expires.


    • mikhailt says:

      I strongly advise against that. iCloud Drive is just a sync service, it’s not a backup service. You won’t be able to restore back to a specific time if you lost something. That’s what backups services provide, the ability to go back in time and restore files.

      On the other hand, using iCloud Drive with Time Machine, you might be safe enough but we usually recommend two copies of backups locally and one remote.


      • iCloud is now more like Dropbox. And like Dropbox provides you with a history of the files, iCloud provides you with Versions. So any file you copy there will have it’s editing history intact. Now, even if iCloud Drive is not a backup service, these look like some pretty good backup strategies, don’t you think?


      • mikhailt says:

        Free version of Dropbox only provides the last 30 days worth of history, that’s not a backup.

        Versions? I don’t know what you’re talking about, that’s just a feature built into OS X to include increment changes to the file and it is isolated to the local drive. You can’t use it on Windows for an example or in a different app. If you delete a file, you can’t restore using Versions. Again, not a backup.

        So, no, these are not backup strategies.


  6. Cody Knox says:

    Question – can I save standard MS Word documents into iCloud Drive and edit them on my devices? Or do they have to be Mac App files (Pages, Keynote, etc.)?