updated 12:30 am EDT, Thu November 3, 2011
Way to make iCloud sync files with Macs discovered
Users who have purchased at least one of the latest iWork applications and are iCloud members may be able to sync all kinds of documents -- not just iWork files -- between Macs running Lion, researchers have discovered. Putting files in a special folder inside the (normally hidden) user's Library folder "pushes" the file to iCloud and other Macs that have the same iCloud account. The feature could be sign of a future iCloud expansion, or just a bug that Apple will block eventually.
MacWorld's "Mac OS X Hints" sub-site was the first to publish the exploit, thanks to a reader contribution. The trick involves a folder called "Mobile Documents" that resides in the (hidden in Lion) user's Library folder.
The "Mobile Documents" folder is only available to those who have purchased (via the Mac App Store) the latest iWork applications, although the function will dutifully sync other types of files as well. The "Documents & Data" syncing preference of iCloud must also be turned on on all Macs that users want to sync with, and they must all have the same iCloud account.
At present, the feature is similar to only the main aspect of popular sync-and-cloud-space utility Dropbox's abilities -- but does indicate that Apple could, if it wanted, make the feature a permanent part of iCloud. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs tried to buy Dropbox outright in 2009 but was rebuffed amicably, eventually resulting in the "Documents and Data" feature in iCloud, which has been publicly promoted as being for syncing iWork files across both Macs and iOS devices.
Once located, users can place an alias of the non-hidden "Mobile Documents" folder elsewhere (or drag it into the Dock or Finder's sidebar) for easy "drop box" functionality across multiple Macs. According to reports, Lion will even notify synced Macs of version conflicts and allow the user to resolve them. [via MacOSXHints]