Sims 3 and Sims 4 not loading save games

If you are running macOS Sierra 10.12 or later and have iCloud Drive enabled then you may be having an issue with your saves. Is the game like new again every time you start it up and all your previous progress is gone? If so then iCloud has been set to move your Documents and Desktop folders to iCloud. Even though your Documents folder is being stored in the cloud, your Mac is also storing a copy locally so your game will keep loading your saves. If you have Optimise Mac Storage enabled in the System Preferences > iCloud settings, iCloud will store your Documents folder in the cloud where your game will not look for it when your internal storage starts filling up. So every time your game loads it is recreating a brand new Sims 4 user data folder because it cannot find the original.

You can get round this by freeing up space on your Mac so it starts storing the files locally again:

  • Open System Preferences > iCloud > iCloud Drive then click on the Options button and uncheck the box next to Desktop & Documents Folder.
  • Disable Optimise Mac Storage  so files are not automatically moved to the cloud when internal storage is getting full.

This means that your Documents folder will stay localised on your Mac and not be pushed to the cloud. Your game will then happily be able to load your previous save from your Documents > Electronic Arts > The Sims 4 folder.

If you have general space issues you can store your Sims 4 folder externally or in the cloud using alternate methods.

For issues with CC and Mods not appearing in-game the same instructions apply. There can also be other reasons which you can find here.

The following links explain iCloud Drive in more detail, including how to save your Documents folder contents back onto your Mac:

Understanding Desktop and Documents Folder Syncing


33 thoughts on “Sims 3 and Sims 4 not loading save games

      1. Hi, So I did everything you said and everything was working perfectly.Until I opened my game and it was the same.It made a new save file and everything.I figured maybe it was because the folders were in iCloud drive instead of the documents folder so I fixed that.It still keeps on making new folders!What do I do?


  1. I was able to move my documents and my Electronic Arts folder back to my macbook after disabling iCloud for Documents/Desktop, but the game still does not recognize my saves. Is there anything else I can do?


  2. My games disappeared and I found out that they were saving to iCloud.. I deleted all the iCloud files (as they were games I did not want) and my regular game files in the saves folder are all there, there are no duplicate folders of saves or tray, no other locations. I’ve tried creating a new household then saving and returning later, but nothing has worked. I don’t know where else to search/ find alternate spots the game could be saving to. Help!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I have. I found another game folder in general with the recent saves but I tried to make a new game again, and it saved to a new, new folder. I transferred all files to the newest folder and it seemed to save but I haven’t tried to make a new family again to see if it would create yet again another folder.


    1. Repair it again in Origin. As for the new files being created, is there a The Sims 4 folder in the Electronic Arts folder in your Documents folder? If that folder is there then the game should not create a new one every time it loads as it looks for The Sims 4 folder on startup. Note that it must be called The Sims 4, no variation on that name will load. The file path should look like this – TS4 user data file path


  3. Hi, I’ve had this problem for quite a while now and also the “already running” issue. I have turned off the iCloud Drive for the documents but when I try open the electronic arts folder I tells me that it tells me that it cannot be opened because the original one cannot be found. Then, after trying to click it again, it opens but is completely blank. please help, I don’t know what to do I haven’t been able to play the sims 4 for 3 months:( and I have expansion packs which cost money, and I don’t want it to go to waste. Thank you.


      1. This is the first time I’ve seen this. The last time I played the game, last year, this didn’t happen and I’ve been on Sierra/High Sierra for ages now.. Only since I installed the game again yesterday and created two new households have I seen it – the folder in question has been in my iCloud Drive and working happily since I first installed the Sims 4 a few years ago.


        1. The game will not read anything in the cloud as it follows the file path Macintosh HD (or whatever your HD is called)/Users/User Name/Documents/Electronic Arts/The Sims 4.


  4. Turning this off doesn’t really fix it though?

    A better solution would be showing us how to move the folder to a local location, like the hard drive, so as to avoid the syncing without having to turn the feature of..

    Just saying.


    1. Are you not aware that the game only looks for the data in the local Documents > Electronic Arts folder? And that if it cannot find the data there it will recreate the Electronic Arts > Sims 4 folder?


  5. It won’t recognize my saves regardless of what I do. iCloud is not involved in my situation at all, I have signed out and completely disabled iCloud, right clicked on all of my game folders and all of them are downloaded into the correct location on my computer (Macintosh Hd – Users – – Documents) I put the Electronic Arts folder in my documents and try to open my saved games and get the “Sims 4 already running” so I spoke with someone from origin help and they suggested moving the userdata.lock document elsewhere which allows the game to open but DOES NOT load my save data at all. I’m incredibly frustrated because this is the 7th issue I’ve run into while trying to just play the game and I feel like I wasted all of my money ;_; please help


    1. *** dunno why my user name didn’t show up in my comment but it should be “macintosh hd – users – my user – documents”


  6. You are an absolute god sent human being. I just had to wake my boyfriend up to tell him I recovered the game and I could cry


  7. Hi, help, please! I did this once a month ago and it worked fine the first time, but then I was downloading some new CC and it wasn’t showing up in my game. All of my old CC was showing up fine, the new stuff no. At first, I thought it was the stuff, so I took it all out and tried just changing the CAS background, it didn’t work. It seemed my documents folder wasn’t working and it suddenly wanted a new name, Documents2. I tried changing the name back but it keeps saying a folder called “Documents” already exists here, but there is nothing there. It’s a ghost folder. So I restarted my computer and then none of the CC was showing up. Now iCloud is doing its thing, spawning a new EA folder every time I restart the game and no CC or saved games. So I tried this trick again, unchecking the documents and data on iCloud, but it won’t take! Every time I uncheck it and press “Turn off” it is immediately checked again! Now I have 4 copies of my folders (2) downloading on my desktop and iCloud is still turned on. I tried going on the website and deleting documents and data from there while I had unchecked it but that didn’t work either. It is a total mess. Help.


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