iPhone fans must learn three huge iCloud secrets – it’s too risky not to

APPLE’S genius iCloud is often a mystery even to those who rely on it.

The feature lets iPhone and iPad users store backups of their data – photos, music and messages – elsewhere, in case anything should happen to their device.


All iCloud data is encrypted, meaning the data is turned into a code to prevent unauthorised accessCredit: the sun

iCloud is an essential part of the Apple ecosystem, making sure customers do not lose anything if their device is lost, stolen, or damaged.

Every iCloud user is given 5GB of free storage, but 50GB, 200GB, or 2TB of additional storage can be bought for $0.99 (£0.79), $2.99 (£2.49), or $9.99 (£6.99) per month.

If my photos are in the iCloud… where exactly are they?

Apple uses both its own and third-party data centres to store and process its customers files.

Data centres are large warehouses filled with servers.

Apple has a total of five data centres, all in the US.

In 2021, Apple was reported to be storing eight million terabytes of data on Google’s cloud severs, and was on track to spend $300million on the third-party service that year.

But in March last year, the tech giant settled a $14.8million class-action lawsuit alleging that it had misled users by storing data on non-Apple servers.

Apple has tried to assure customers over the safety of third-party data storage, saying only Apple has access to the encryption keys needed to access the data.

“The keys are always stored and secured in Apple data centres,” said Apple.

“Apple doesn’t access or store keys for any end-to-end encrypted data.”

Is the iCloud safe?

iCloud uses strong security methods and has strict policies to protect information.

The data storage division of Apple also uses privacy-preserving security tech such as end-to-end encryption for your data.

Although, Apple has urged customers that “the security of your data in iCloud starts with the security of your Apple ID”.

All new Apple IDs require two-factor authentication to help protect users from having their accounts hacked into.

Two-factor authentication is also required for end-to-end encryption – which is part of iCloud’s Advanced Data Protection plan.

End-to-end encryption in iCloud means no one else can access your end-to-end encrypted data – not even Apple.

It also means your data remains secure even in the unlikely event of a data breach in the cloud. 

So is the iCloud private or not?

All iCloud data is encrypted, meaning the data is turned into a code to prevent unauthorised access.

The encryption keys are secured in Apple data centres – so the company can help customers with data recovery when needed.

But only certain data is end-to-end encrypted, which Apple users can opt in for under the Advanced Data Protection setting.

To opt into the higher privacy setting, follow these steps:

On iPhone or iPad

First make sure you’re running iOS/iPadOS 16.2 or later on your iPhone or iPad.

Then go to Settings > Tap your name > iCloud > Advanced Data Protection > Turn on Advanced Data Protection.

Follow the onscreen instructions to review your recovery methods and enable Advanced Data Protection.

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On Mac

Click Apple Menu > System Settings > Click your name > iCloud > Advanced Data Protection.

But remember: If you don’t have your Recovery Key stored in a safe place or your Recovery Contact set up, you will not be able to access that data again.

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