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WWDC 2018 Wish List: Dropbox-like sharing for iCloud Drive

Apple’s 2018 World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC 2018) begins on June 4, which has me thinking about what changes I’d like to see in Apple’s ecosystem. One of the biggest items for me would be for Apple to add Dropbox-like sharing to iCloud Drive.

Over the weekend, my wife asked for a way to get access to the thousands of scanned documents that we have in the Scanbot folder that resides in my iCloud Drive. She wants to organize those documents, which I’ve been tossing in there in no particular order. Almost immediately, I discovered that I can’t share that folder with her from iCloud Drive.

The Scanbot folder is an “App Library” that has been created in iCloud by the Scanbot app. A lot of apps create their own folders for storing documents in iCloud; all Apple apps (GarageBand, Pages, Numbers, iMovie) and a number of third-party apps do this. These App Library folders do not allow sharing at all — right-clicking on the folders on a Mac reveals no sharing options. 

My next thought was that perhaps I could share another, non-App Library folder. This would mean that I would have to continue to use the Scanbot folder as a “holding cell” for newly-scanned documents, then move them to the other folder. When I tried sharing one of the folders that wasn’t created by an app, macOS (and iOS as well) simply tried to send the complete folder to my wife. That’s not what we wanted, since we both want access to the same folder.

That got me thinking that perhaps we needed to use Family Sharing, so I added her to my 2TB iCloud plan. Once that was set up, I tried again — no luck. Adding her to Family Sharing in iCloud simply moved her iCloud Drive to my 2TB plan, and there’s no way to view her iCloud Drive or for her to view mine.

When Apple increased the iCloud Drive maximum size to 2TB, I decided to move all of my items in Dropbox over to iCloud Drive. That allowed me to get rid of a $100 annual charge for Dropbox Plus. In order to have the ability to share the Scanbot folder with my wife, I’ve had to upgrade my Dropbox account again and move the Scanbot folder from iCloud Drive to Dropbox. Add to that the fact that my wife now needs to upgrade her Dropbox account to the Plus plan, and things just got expensive for folder sharing and syncing. 

Sure, we could have just put the files on a local drive and shared them, but we want them to be in an encrypted online storage system for backup purposes… and being able to share the entire folder with another person (or more) through iCloud Drive would have been perfect. Looks like we’re back to Dropbox Plus.

What would you like to see Apple announce at WWDC 2018? Leave your comments below.

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Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!