How to Share a Folder in iCloud Drive on iPhone

How to Share a Folder in iCloud Drive on iPhone

iOS 13.4 update has begun rolling out to the masses, and one of the key highlighting features of the update is the ability to share folders in iCloud Drive with options to limit access and whether the anyone can edit/make changes to the files in the folder.

Folder sharing in iCloud Drive is a much-needed feature, especially now when most of the world is working from home because of the spread of COVID-19. You can now put a bunch of files in one folder in your iCloud Drive and share it with as many people you like or even create a public link while disallowing permission to change or modify the contents of the folder.

Before starting, make sure you have downloaded iOS 13.4 update on your iPhone or iPad. If you need to know more about the update, read our iOS 13.4 review.

To get started, open the ‘Files’ app on your iPhone, and tap once on the ‘Browse’ tab in the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen to get to the main screen of the Files app in case it opens in a different folder when you launch it.

Go to the main screen of Files app

Tap ‘iCloud Drive’ under the ‘Locations’ section in the Files app to access files and folder saved in your iCloud Drive.

Scroll through the list of files and folder in your iCloud Drive and find the folder you want to share. Then, ‘touch and hold’ over the folder name to open the Quick Actions menu. Select ‘Share’ option from there.

Select ‘Add People’ from the available sharing options in the Share Sheet.

The ‘Add People’ screen will show you a list of all apps through which you can share the folder link. We’ll guide you through the sharing process, but first, configure the ‘Sharing Options’ so you know how your iCloud Drive folder will be accessed by the people who you share the folder link.

Tap ‘Share Options’ below the apps list bar.

Configure the sharing options for ‘Who can access’ your files and with what ‘Permissions’.

  • Only people you invite will allow only people you add from the ‘Add People’ screen to view files in the folder.
  • Anyone with the link option is to be used with caution. It will allow any random person to view or download your files if he/she has the folder link.
  • Can make changes permission allows people you add to view the folder to also make changes like upload or delete files in the folder.
  • View only permission allows people to only view or download the files. No matter the person viewing the folder is invited or you’re sharing the folder publicly. No one will be allowed to make changes.
Configure iCloud Drive folder access and permission settings

After setting the sharing options for the folder, go back to the ‘Add People’ screen and select the app through which you wish to share the folder link. We’ll select Gmail here, but you can select whatever app you want.

Note: The process for sharing an iCloud Drive folder link is the same for all apps. But for iMessage, it’s a bit different and less confusing (to be honest).

Share any app of your preference to share iCloud Drive folder link

No matter which app you select, you’ll get the screen to invite people by either their Email address or Phone number. Type the Email, or a Name to add someone from your iPhone contacts.

💡 Hit ‘Return’ key on the keyboard after typing an email address to add a comma and continue adding more people.

Tap ‘Continue’ and you’ll get the iCloud Drive Folder link ready to be shared with the app you chose to share the link.

Now the confusing part, you need to share this link to everyone you invited to view your folder. The above procedure did not send the invites to anyone with the folder link. It only added the people to the list of people who could view the folder, so iCloud could later cross verify if the link goes into the wrong hands.

If you invited someone by their Apple ID Email address, they will see the following screen after opening the folder link on or a compatible iPhone or Mac device.

If you invited someone by phone number or Email address different than their Apple ID mail, then they will see a ‘This file is private’ screen when they open the shared folder link.

The user will have to verify their access to the folder by clicking the ‘Verify’ button.

A list of phone numbers and Email addresses who are invited to view the folder will be shown on the screen. The user can select his number or email from the list and click the ‘Send Verification Link’ button to verify and gain access to the shared iCloud Drive folder.

Note: If you set ‘Anyone can view’ as sharing option for the folder in the initial steps above, you will (of course) not see the screen to invite people. For you, it’ll generate a link to share and give you a straight option to send the link to anyone using the app of your choice.

How to ‘Remove Access’ for Someone or ‘Stop Sharing’ an iCloud Drive Folder

To stop sharing a folder, open ‘iCloud Drive’ in Files app on your iPhone. Touch and hold on the folder you want to stop sharing, and select the ‘Share’ option from the quick actions menu.

Tap on ‘Show People’ from the available options on the Share Sheet.

To remove access for someone, first tap on their name from the list of names shown on the screen.

Then select ‘Remove Access’ from the info screen for the person.

To stop sharing the iCloud Drive folder entirely, tap ‘Stop Sharing’ button on the ‘People’ screen.

You’ll get a confirmation pop-up about what will happen if you stop sharing the folder. It’ll delete from iCloud Drive of the people you invited and they will no longer have access to any files in the folder. Tap ‘OK’ on the dialogue box to confirm.


iCloud Drive Folder sharing was a much-needed feature for iPhone and macOS devices. We are glad iOS 13.4 update and macOS Catalina 10.15.4 brings support for it in the Apple ecosystem. Also, this just makes the Files app all the more powerful and useful for iPhone and iPad devices.

Did you know you could scan documents with Files app on iPhone?