In Mountain Lion, Apple introduced deeper integration of iCloud throughout the OS, giving apps like Preview and TextEdit the ability to save files directly to iCloud. Saving files to iCloud and opening them via an app is easy enough, but there isn’t any official way as of yet to browse your files on iCloud itself. Plain Cloud is a free Mac app that lets you do just that, with the files neatly grouped based on the app they were created in. The files can be accessed on your hard drive if you know where to look or how to find the iCloud folder. While finding the iCloud folder on your Mac isn’t hard, navigating to it can be a pain, and that’s what Plain Cloud does for you. It basically provides you with shortcuts for opening the respective folder locations for these files.
Provided you have iCloud enabled on your Mac, just run Plain Cloud and it will show you a list of all your apps that have files to iCloud, along with the number of saved files. Clicking any of the listed apps will open the folder that contains the files saved to iCloud by this app – it’s this easy!
Plain Cloud lets you access not only the app data and files saved by the apps in OS X, but if you use the same Apple ID on one or more iOS devices, you will also be able to access files saved to iCloud by your iOS apps as well. This means you can open a file you created on your iOS device, and edit it from your desktop (provided you have an app on your desktop for it).
iCloud as a service has been around for quite some time now but support for syncing data between OS X and iOS was added to it relatively recently. One major shortcoming of the service is the lack of a way to sync files like Dropbox and Google Drive do (though there’s iClouDrive for that), and doesn’t offer Finder integration, hence the need for an app like Plain Cloud. If you’re curious, you can manually go through the files that iCloud has synced by opening ~/Library/Mobile Documents. You will find that the sub-folders make little sense as to which app they belong to, or what type of files they might contain. That’s what Plain Cloud makes easy for you.
This file browsing function of Plain Cloud and file syncing support added by iClouDrive are both pretty basic cloud features, and should have been provided by Apple without the need for any of these third-party apps. Let’s hope they are integrated into the OS in future releases.