iCloud Many apps for both iOS and OS X store documents and app data directly in iCloud, this allows easy syncing between devices and also provides a certain extra level of backup for some apps, since it’s all stored in the cloud. On the other hand, you may want to remove some of those documents and app data from iCloud, and that’s what we’ll show you how to do easily directly from Mac OS X. This is done through the iCloud preference panel similar to how you can manage and delete iCloud backups for iOS devices from OS X, though obviously rather than deleting a device backup it’ll only be application data or specific documents that is being removed.

Deleting App Data from iCloud through OS X

  • Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu and choose “iCloud”

  • Click “Manage”

  • Select the app to delete iCloud data from

  • Choose “Delete All” to remove all app data for that application (if app is cross-platform, it will delete app data for both OS X and iOS)

Delete App Data from iCloud

Once confirmed, the documents and app data are removed completely from iCloud and all of your iOS & OS X devices, a process which can’t be undone.

Delete Specific Documents from iCloud via Mac OS X

You’ll find that specific iCloud documents for certain apps will also be stored here in the iCloud manager panel. For example, you can directly manage individual documents from apps like TextEdit, and delete them on a per-document basis:

  • Choose a specific app (e.g. TextEdit)

  • Select the specific document name to delete and choose “Delete”, confirm the document removal

Delete specific documents from iCloud

You will find both iOS and OS X app data in the iCloud manager control panel, and if you’re thinking about deleting documents from iCloud this way you may want to copy them to your hard drive first because the removal is completely permanent. You can do that either by opening the document in question and then resaving it locally, or by accessing the iCloud documents directly from the Finder and copying them to elsewhere in Mac OS X.

In either case, you can’t select all, so if you’re looking to delete every single thing from iCloud this way you’ll need to manually select each app and delete according to the methods above.

If you’re deleting data to try and free up space in iCloud, you may want to consider just upgrading to a larger iCloud plan by choosing “Change Storage Plan…”, the default of 5GB is quite small and runs out quickly, you’ll find it’s often barely adequate for backing up a single iOS device, once you add a Mac or two, an iPhone, and an iPad, you’ll consistently be running out of iCloud storage for both app data and backups. Sure you can start backing up locally instead, but ideally, Apple would provide 5GB of iCloud storage per device rather than per Apple ID, but thus far they haven’t changed their capacity offerings to be that way.