Apple claims Messages in iCloud uses end-to-end encryption protocol. However, your data may not be as safe as it was initially believed to be.
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Apple can decrypt your iCloud backup
As mentioned earlier, Messages in iCloud use the standard end-to-end protocol (E2EE).
Apple secures all your messages with a secret key generated using your iPhone’s passcode. Each key is unique and is not accessible by Apple. However, Apple does store that secret encryption key when you enable iCloud backups.
Although this allows users to recover messages in the event of a loss to the password to their account, it can also be misused by Apple and third-parties.
For example, Apple can give away your data to law enforcement agencies, which can easily decrypt it using your secret key.
Here’s an excerpt from an article on Apple’s official website regarding iCloud security.
Encryption protocols are only as secure as the private keys they generate. If someone manages to access your private key, they can snoop around your data.
How can you stay safe?
Apple only has access to your key if you enable iCloud backup. Therefore, all you need to do to stay safe is disable iCloud backups on your Apple device.
Here’s how you can do that.
Step 1 Open Settings.
Step 2 Tap on your Apple ID.
Step 3 Navigate to iCloud > iCloud Backup and toggle the backup option off.
All in all, Messages in iCloud is completely safe, but only if you disable iCloud backups.
If you want to keep your data secure and away from the prying eyes of law enforcement agencies, you can choose only one of these options, not both.
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