How to simulate the Mac’s Desktop folder to get around iCloud continuous sync

With macOS 10.12 Sierra, Apple introduced a way to offload some
of your Mac’s storage dynamically using iCloud. The Documents &
Desktop option had the most impact, in that it could not just
sync your home folder’s Documents and Desktop folders to iCloud
and make them available through iOS,, and other
Macs, but also delete the least-used and oldest documents from
your Mac if local storage was under pressure. The copy kept in
iCloud would be available on demand, so accessing an infrequent
document retrieves it.

Macworld reader Chris is running up against this feature,
because they use their Desktop for their active working
documents. “Files I’m working on go there until finished, and
then are moved to their various folders,” he writes. However,
he often works with large Photoshop files. This leads to
excessive syncing.

Chris would prefer to only sync his Documents folder, and
wonders if there’s a way to do so. Unfortunately, Apple pairs
Documents and the Desktop together. Even if you use the Finder
spaces feature to create multiple desktops, macOS still stores
the actual items in the same Desktop folder.

You could switch to another syncing service, like Dropbox,
which only syncs the Dropbox folder, and store your documents

You could also use a regular folder to simulate what you rely
on with the Desktop through these steps:

  1. Create a new folder and place it anywhere.
  2. Name it something identifiable, like “Working Desktop.”
  3. Select View > Icons for a Desktop-like
    icon view.
  4. Select Show > Show View Options, and
    set a background color or picture.
  5. Add the folder to your sidebar so it can be reached from
    any open or save dialog.
  6. Click the green full-screen button on the folder’s window
    in the Finder.
mac911 set folder like desktop

Create a faux Desktop folder to avoid syncing with iCloud.

This might be close enough to what you need to let you keep
using Desktop & Documents for synchronization without the
constant Internet file updates to iCloud.

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