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How to Enable Apple’s Encrypted iCloud Backups on Your iPhone

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Apple It just released software updates for iPhone, iPad and Mac that will help keep your information stored on the company’s servers private.

For the first time ever, you can encrypt your Apple Photos, Notes and iCloud backups, including iMessage conversations, which are saved in the cloud. This is thanks to an optional comprehensive encryption setting called Advanced Data Protection.

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Apple encryption turns your data into code that you need a key to decrypt, and now the key to your backups resides only on your device – not in Apple’s data centers.

If you subscribe, most of what you download from iCloud will only be available to you. And in the event of an Apple iCloud hack, most of your data will be protected, according to Apple Inc. Apple released a statement Dec. 7.

Apple doesn’t even have access to the data when it’s stored on the company’s servers. Ordered law enforcement wouldn’t have access to him either, causing friction between them Apple and the FBI.

Since Apple no longer has the keys to recover your data, you will need to set up an alternative recovery method such as a recovery contact or a recovery key in case you lose access to your account. In other words, once you’ve set up advanced data protection, you’ll be responsible for recovering your data if you ever lose your device. You will no longer go to the Genius Bar to restore a backup in the event of an emergency in the cloud.

Here’s how to set up end-to-end encryption for your iPhone’s iCloud backups.

Before you begin, make sure your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, and HomePods are updated with the latest software. On an iPhone, which needs to be updated to iOS 16.2 first, you can do so by opening Settings, then tapping General > Software Updates. Your phone will download the update and require a restart before it’s finished.

  • Now that everything is updated, go to Settings > iCloud > Advanced Data Protection.
  • Click “Account Recovery” or “Advanced Data Protection” to continue.
  • A notification will appear informing you that you are responsible for restoring your data.
  • Click “Configure Account Recovery”.
  • This will ask you to add a recovery contact (or create a recovery key, but more on that later). Apple suggests choosing someone you trust to help you regain access to your account. Remember: Apple will no longer have any access to let you in again.
  • Next, you’ll be prompted to send a message to that recovery contact, letting them know they’ve been selected. The person you requested must accept the request.
  • The other option, if you don’t want to trust someone else with all your iCloud data, is to set up a recovery key. This is a 28 character code that you will need to keep in a safe place until you can restore your backups.
  • Then you will be asked to verify the recovery key by rewriting it. Once you do this, the recovery key will be activated.
  • Once you have enabled Advanced Data Protection, you will need to enter your iPhone passcode to enable it.

that’s it! Remember: if your recovery key is not stored in a safe place or your recovery contact is not configured, your data is good as is.

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