Protect Your iCloud Data

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Apple has added the option to lock down your iCloud data, which protects everything in your account, including photos, videos, documents, messages, and more. Advanced Data Protection uses end-to-end encryption to safeguard your iCloud. This means no one, not even Apple, can access your data, so if there is ever a security breach at Apple, your data will still be safe. The only way to get to your iCloud will be through your Apple ID password.

Why You'll Love This Tip:

  • Lock down your iCloud data to prevent unauthorized access and safeguard your Apple ID against data breaches.
  • Advanced Data Protection uses end-to-end encryption to protect your iCloud data.
  • When your data is encrypted, you will only be able to access it with your Apple ID and password.
  • Advanced Data Protection depends on you never forgetting your password, so consider whether this advanced level of protection is necessary for you before enabling.

How to Enable Advanced Data Protection

System Requirements

To use this tip, you'll need an iPhone running iOS 16.2 or later, an iPad with iPadOS 16.2 or later, or a Mac with macOS 13.1 or later.

Keep in mind that Advanced Data Protection uses end-to-end encryption. What is end-to-end encrypted data? This means that your iCloud will be locked down, and only you will be able to access it. That means if you forget your password, you’ll be locked out, and Apple will not be able to help unless you’ve set up a recovery contact or a recovery key. With that in mind, you should carefully consider if you’ll be able to remember your password. For more iPhone privacy and security advice, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter. Once you’re confident that iCloud Advanced Data Protection is something you want to enable, you can do so by going into your iPhone settings:

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  1. Open the Settings app, and tap on your name at the top of the screen.

    Open the Settings app, and tap on your name at the top of the screen.
  2. Tap iCloud.

    Tap iCloud.
  3. Scroll down and tap Advanced Data Protection.

    Scroll down and tap Advanced Data Protection.
  4. Tap Turn on Advanced Data Protection.

    Tap Turn on Advanced Data Protection.
  5. If you haven’t set up Account Recovery, you will be prompted to now. Tap Set Up Account Recovery.

    If you haven’t set up Account Recovery, you will be prompted to now. Tap Set Up Account Recovery.
  6. Tap Add Recovery Contact.

    Tap Add Recovery Contact.
  7. Tap Add Recovery Contact again.

    Tap Add Recovery Contact again.
  8. If you use Family Sharing you will likely see some of your family members as recovery contacts. You can also tap Choose someone else to select a different contact.

    If you use Family Sharing you will likely see some of your family members as recovery contacts. You can also tap Choose someone else to select a different contact.
  9. Tap Next.

    Tap Next.
  10. Follow the on-screen prompts to finish setting up your Recovery Contact.
  11. You can also add a Recovery Key, though if you already added a Recovery Contact it is not required to use Advanced Data Protection.

    You can also add a Recovery Key, though it is not required to use Advanced Data Protection.
  12. If you want to set up a Recovery Key, tap the toggle next to Recovery Key.

    If you want to set up a Recovery Key, tap the toggle next to Recovery Key.
  13. Tap Use Recovery Key.

    Tap Use Recovery Key.
  14. After you enter your iPhone passcode, your Recovery Key will be displayed. Write this down and keep it in a secure place, as you will need this key to get back into your Apple account if you lose your password. Tap Continue once you have written it down.

    After you enter your iPhone passcode, your Recovery Key will be displayed. Write this down and keep it in a secure place, as you will need this key to get back into your Apple account if you lose your password. Tap Continue once you have written it down.
  15. You will then be required to enter your Recovery Key.

    You will then be required to enter your Recovery Key.
  16. Once you have your Recovery Contact and/or your Recovery Key added, tap Turn on Advanced Data Protection again and follow the on-screen prompts to finish enabling Advanced Data Protection.

    Once you have your Recovery Contact and/or your Recovery Key added, tap Turn on Advanced Data Protection again and follow the on-screen prompts to finish enabling Advanced Data Protection.

Once you finish the setup process, your iCloud data will be encrypted, and only you will have access to it. Please note, that if you currently use any devices that do not support Advanced Data Protection, you’ll need to log out of those devices. For example, if your MacBook is on macOS Catalina and your iPhone is on iOS 16.2, you won’t be able to use your Apple ID on your MacBook anymore when you turn on Advanced Data Protection.

FAQ

  • What is end-to-end encrypted data? Encryption means that third parties are unable to access your data when it is in transit. Your data cannot be read without an encryption key. When you turn on Advanced Data Protection for your iCloud, your Apple ID password serves as the encryption key.
  • Are iMessages encrypted? When you send and receive iMessages, they are encrypted. However, when your iMessages are backed up to iCloud, they are not because iCloud backups are not encrypted unless you have enabled Advanced Data Protection.
  • What happens if I forgot my password? If you forget your Apple ID password, you can still recover your account using one of the recovery methods above. You can use the same Forgot My Password feature as usual, but you will only be able to use your recovery contact or your recovery key to reset your password.
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Author Details

Rhett Intriago's picture

Author Details

Rhett Intriago

Rhett Intriago is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, offering his expertise in all things iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. He enjoys writing on topics related to maintaining privacy in a digital world, as well as iPhone security. He’s been a tech enthusiast all his life, with experiences ranging from jailbreaking his iPhone to building his own gaming PC.

Despite his disdain for the beach, Rhett is based in Florida. In his free time, he enjoys playing the latest games, spoiling his cats, or discovering new places with his wife, Kyla.