iCloud Documents Locked when Using Yosemite Beta

Ah, iCloud. If you had a buck for every time I had a problem with you, I’d be sitting on a nest egg.

Like a lot of people in my profession – and 1 million testers of the public beta – I installed pre-release versions of OS X 10.10 Yosemite to get a head start on it before it ships. I did this in a virtual machine, using VWware Fusion. About ten days ago, I noticed that I wasn’t able to access iCloud documents on some of my devices. I contacted Apple’s support, who escalated this to third-tier support person, who looked into it and found that my documents were “locked” on iCloud. He had never seen this.

He asked if I was running Yosemite, and I said that I was, but that I made sure to not turn on iCloud Drive, because Apple’s release notes for Yosemite say this:

Migrating to iCloud Drive will disable Documents & Data syncing for your iCloud account on OS X Mavericks and earlier Macs, as well as iOS 7 and earlier devices.

When that person called me back a second time to try some troubleshooting, we found that the documents had unlocked themselves (or someone in the support chain had done it, but he couldn’t find out if anyone had acted on my iCloud account). I went back to Yosemite a few weeks ago, and signed in with Apple ID to get email and see how Mail looked in 10.10. I expressly did not turn on iCloud Drive, nor any of the other settings in the iCloud preference pane.

Alas, my documents are again locked on iCloud. Data – contacts and calendars – syncs fine, but I cannot access documents, and if I open a document with, say, Numbers on my Mac Pro, I see this alert:


I spoke with the same Apple support person today, and he said there’s nothing he can do about it. He got an email saying that there will soon be changes to iCloud, and that, for now, they can’t touch iCloud accounts. (This suggests that we’ll see changes to iCloud’s back-end when OS X 10.9.5 is released, before Yosemite.)

So, a warning. If you’re testing Yosemite, don’t sign into iCloud. If you have to sign into iCloud, then create a new Apple ID. The same goes for iOS 8; be very careful what you do, because you may find that you can no longer access your documents on iCloud.