How can I search iCloud Drive folders using Alfred?

Hey Automators friends! While you’ll usually see me posting in the iOS channel, I do use a Mac too!

But of course it’s related to being primarily on iOS – how do you search iCloud Drive folders when you’re at your Mac? I keep a lot of nested folders inside my /Shortcuts/ folder so that I can automate well with Shortcuts, but when I’m at my Mac for some reason Alfred doesn’t like to search those properly.

Does anyone have special tricks or Alfred workflows for searching iCloud Drive apps folders?

I know there are ways to specify file searches, but it just doesn’t seem to fully index the individual apps folders where data from iOS is stored.

The path is ~/Library/Mobile Documents/ but someone in a Slack team I’m on mentioned Alfred intentionally doesn’t search your Library as to not show irrelevant results from it.

Classic Mac not being able to do what iOS can :innocent: (Just kidding I’m sorry for the iOS troll in the Mac forum don’t @ me lol)


Have you rebuilt your macOS metadata since adding iCloud Drive? It’s in Alfred Preferences > Advanced > Rebuild macOS Metadata. That might well fix things.


There are issues with the way MacOS names iCloud folders. I don’t recall the technical details, but iCloud folders have obscure names that are referenced by their more friendly names. If you copy the absolute path of an iCloud file, you’ll see what I mean. Anyway, this leads to problems in Alfred if you’re looking for iCloud folders. As far as files, I am able to search them normally once they are indexed. I do have ~/Library/Mobile Documents/ in my Search Scope under Default Results in Alfred, but I’m not sure that is needed.

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Interesting. I have a lot of folders in iCloud Drive, and often I use Alfred to get to one of those folders ([Project A], or [Literature on Topic B]). I have not once had an issue locating a folder with Alfred. I’ll have to keep this in mind if I ever find myself having trouble finding a folder.

It looks like the issue I described applies to the default iCould folders and those created by apps (Pages, Preview, etc) but not custom folders. So [Project A] folder is seen by Alfred, but Keynote folder is not. @Scottisloud, do you have the same experience?

I’ve got a longstanding OmniFocus task to go through the Alfred forums for just this… it’s been bugging me for awhile

Ah that makes sense then, I basically never use those folders (“App Containers” actually) for much at all so this never came up! Thanks for clarifying!

I don’t know if this will be helpful for anyone else, but:

To search for file with Alfred, you have to press the space bar before typing the search term.

I was banging my head against this for ages thinking it was an iCloud Drive issue, and it turns out I simply didn’t understand how Alfred works.