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User Case: iCloud Drive Duplicate files, What to Do?


iCloud Drive Create Duplicate Files!

Hi, I am syncing iCloud including Desktop and Documents folders across multiple computers/devices. I recently created a Catalina SSD startup drive to run an older iMac that had run out of storage. Since then, my iCloud sync shows 2 sets of desktop and documents folders on each device (and in iCloud): regular "Desktop" plus "Desktop 2", and regular "Documents" plus "Documents 2". I'm trying to understand/troubleshoot this, and am just curious about why this is happening... any thoughts? (And perhaps a possible solution so I can just go back to the one regular folder for each across everything!) Thank you, Any advice is much appreciated!

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What to do about iCloud Drive duplicate files?

Hi everyone, Hoping you might be able to help me out with a weird problem. I am using iCloud to sync between my iPhone and Windows 10 machine. I noticed that when I open up Obsidian in Windows, notes I've recently edited (since the last time I opened the app in Windows) frequently duplicate. That is, if I edit "My Awesome Note" on my iPhone, then I'll see the PC create "My Awesome Note (1)".

Has anyone run into this issue?

- Question from

If you are stuck in this iCloud Drive duplicate files problem, here you will learn why it creates duplicate files, how to find the duplicate files, and how to delete files from iCloud Drive to remove duplicate files to free up space in iCloud.

3 Solutions for iCloud Drive Creating Duplicate Files

If you find duplicate files in iCloud Drive, you can try the following steps to fix it.

Way 1. Uninstall and Reinstall iCloud from Apple

From user feedback, if you’re using the Windows store version of iCloud, it’s probably creating iCloud Drive duplicate files on your computer. The proven way is to uninstall the Windows store version of iCloud and download iCloud directly from Apple.

Here are the steps to download iCloud from Apple:

1. Please go to the Apple download page.

2. Click Download iCloud for Windows from the Microsoft Store.

3. Then follow the steps to download and install.

4. Your iCloud Drive duplicate files will not no longer exist.

Then follow the steps to use iCloud for Windows correctly, then you can prevent creating duplicate files in iCloud Drive.

Tip: Please ensure your Windows Operating system is Windows 10 or higher.

Way 2. Use iCloud on Mac Instead of Windows

iCloud is designed to be used on Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, and Mac, instead of Windows computers. Although it provides the Windows version of iCloud, its performance is not really as good as on Apple devices due to the different OS compatibilities. So, use iCloud on Mac instead of on Windows computers if necessary.

Way 3. Delete iCloud Drive Archive Folder

If you use iCloud for Windows on your computer, it will create a new Desktop and Documents folder in your home folder once you turn off iCloud Drive or sign out of iCloud. You will be asked whether to keep a local copy of your files that are in iCloud Drive. If you choose to keep a local copy, these files in iCloud Drive will be copied to the iCloud Drive (Archive) folder in your home folder. That’s your iCloud Drive duplicate files.

iCloud Drive Archive
iCloud Drive Archive

To manage iCloud Drive duplicate files, open these two folders (iCloud Drive and iCloud Drive Archive folder) to check which files are the latest. You can delete the iCloud Drive (Archive) folder directly if these files are the old versions, or move these files to your new local Desktop and Documents folder if they are the latest version of the files.

To prevent iCloud Drive from creating duplicate files, you can disable iCloud Drive without a local copy.

Backup iCloud Drive for Data Security

Before deleting, it’s highly recommended to try the comprehensive web-based cloud file manager - MultCloud, which allows you to transfer iCloud Drive files to another cloud for archiving in case of data loss. Besides, you can add the extension named Transfer Google Photos to iCloud, which allows you to move files from iCloud to another cloud, or vice versa directly.

Here are the simple steps to sync iCloud Drive to OneDrive with MultCloud:

1. Please sign in to your MultCloud account after registering.

2. Tap Add Cloud > iCloud Drive to add. Then follow the steps to add OneDrive as well.

Add iCloud Drive
Add iCloud Drive

3. Click Cloud Sync, choose iCloud Drive as the source, and OneDrive as the target.

Sync iCloud Drive to OneDrive
Sync iCloud Drive to OneDrive


  • Options allow you to set up 10 sync modes, including real-time sync, two-way sync, one-way sync, and many more. Besides, you can enable Email and Filter (include the file types you’d like to backup).
  • Schedule allows you to perform iCloud Drive automatic backup, daily, weekly, monthly, or at the time you set up. Unlock Schedule and all other advanced features.

4. Hit Sync Now to sync iCloud Drive to OneDrive directly.

  • Smart Share: Share cloud files via public, private, or source mode.
  • One-key Move: Quick data transfer, sync, and backup among clouds.
  • Email Archive: Protect emails to other clouds or local disks.
  • Remote upload: Effectively save web files to clouds via URL.
  • Safe: Full-time 256-bit AES and OAuth authorization protections.
  • Easy: Access and manage all clouds in one place with one login.
  • Extensive: 30+ clouds and on-premise services are supported.

How to Delete Duplicate Files from iCloud Drive

Typically, you can go to to delete duplicate files manually, here are the steps to delete iCloud Drive duplicate files:

1. Please log in to your iCloud account with your Apple ID and password.

2. Click Drive from the iCloud interface, then click Browse from the left side to show all iCloud Drive files.

3. Select the duplicate files and the original file, and hit the Delete icon from the top menu.

Delete Files from iCloud Drive Website
Delete Files from iCloud Drive Website

4. Create the original file and move the content from the backup to this newly created original file.

5. Go to Recently Deleted, and click Delete All to permanently delete all iCloud Drive duplicate files.

Then the iCloud Drive storage space has been freed up space. And you can upload files to iCloud Drive to keep them safe.

FAQs about iCloud Drive Duplicate Files

1. What are iCloud Drive duplicate files?
iCloud Drive duplicate files are identical or nearly identical copies of files or documents stored in your iCloud Drive. They consume storage space and can lead to clutter.
2. How do duplicate files occur in iCloud Drive?
Duplicate files can result from various scenarios, including accidental copying, file synchronization issues, multiple uploads, or file versioning.
3. What's the risk of having duplicate files in iCloud Drive?
Duplicate files in iCloud Drive can waste your storage space, potentially leading to additional subscription costs. They can also cause confusion when locating the correct version of a file.
4. Can I identify duplicate files manually in iCloud Drive?
Yes, you can manually identify duplicate files by reviewing your iCloud Drive folders for files with identical names or similar content. However, this method can be time-consuming for larger file collections.
5. Are there tools available to help find and remove duplicate files in iCloud Drive?
Yes, there are third-party apps and software designed to scan and identify duplicate files in iCloud Drive automatically. Some popular options include Duplicate File Finder and Gemini 2.
6. Can I use Apple's built-in tools to manage duplicate files in iCloud Drive?
Yes, macOS provides built-in features like the "Photos" app, which can identify and help remove duplicate photos. However, it's primarily designed for photos and may not address all types of duplicate files.
7. What precautions should I take before removing duplicate files from iCloud Drive?
It's crucial to create backups of your iCloud Drive or specific files before removing duplicates to prevent data loss. You can use iCloud Backup or external storage options for this purpose.
8. How can I organize my iCloud Drive to prevent future duplicate files?
Organizing your iCloud Drive with a clear folder structure and consistent naming conventions can help prevent the creation of duplicate files. It's essential to maintain a well-organized filing system.


In conclusion, iCloud Drive duplicate files can be a significant challenge, leading to storage inefficiencies and potential confusion. Effectively managing these duplicates involves a combination of manual review, third-party tools, and organizational strategies.

Regularly maintaining an organized iCloud Drive and creating backups are essential practices to prevent the proliferation of duplicate files and ensure efficient storage utilization. By addressing duplicate files proactively, you can optimize your iCloud Drive and enjoy a clutter-free and streamlined file storage experience.

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