Hidden Folder Allows File Syncing Across Macs Via iCloud
The folks over at Macworld
recently discovered that Macs running on OS X Lion that are registered with iCloud have a hidden “drop box” like function in the user’s Library folder. This folder allows for easy document and file syncing between Macs. More specifically, a folder with ~/Library (which is hidden by OS X Lion by default) called “Mobile Documents” contains iWork documents synced with iOS devices via iCloud.
Pretty much any file you put into the ~/Library/Mobile Documents folder will automatically upload to iCloud and push to any other Mac you have that is signed in to the same iCloud account (with “Document & Data” checked under iCloud preferences. Furthermore, OS X Lion will even notify you of version conflicts, giving you the option to resolve them when you open the document.
This functionality is quite similar to the popular third-party file syncing service, Dropbox. Having the service buried within a hidden user folder makes it far less useful though comparatively. The files that are manually added to the Moile Documents folder also don’t sync to iOS devices apparently, which is another feature that Dropbox does provide through the use of its iOS app
The most interesting thing about this hidden folder is that it shows that iCloud and OS X Lion have laid the groundwork for an easy-to-use and official method for syncing files between Macs (and possibly iOS devices in the future). This goes to show that a small software update could possibly enable the current Mac versions of iWork’s applications to sync with iCloud easily. As of right now, iCloud is still relatively a new service, having only been released publicly for less than a month. Hidden features such as the Mobile Document folder and file sharing seem to indicate that Apple has larger tricks up its sleeve for the future. We have to keep in mind that for now, it is a simplistic and limited method of file sharing, but it can lead to something very useful in the future.