iCloud Drive adds account-based keys to protect documents stored in iCloud. iCloud Drive chunks and encrypts file contents and stores the encrypted chunks using third-party services. However, the file content keys are wrapped by record keys stored with the iCloud Drive metadata. These record keys are in turn protected by the user’s iCloud Drive Service Key, which is then stored with the user’s iCloud account. Users get access to their iCloud documents’ metadata by having authenticated with iCloud, but they must also possess the iCloud Drive Service Key to expose protected parts of iCloud Drive storage.
iCloud Drive backup
iCloud also backs up information—including device settings, app data, photos, and videos in the Camera Roll, and conversations in the Messages app—daily over Wi-Fi. iCloud secures the content by encrypting it when it’s when sent over the Internet, storing it in an encrypted format, and using secure tokens for authentication. iCloud Backup occurs only when the device is locked, connected to a power source, and has Wi-Fi access to the Internet. Because of the encryption used in iOS and iPadOS, iCloud Backup is designed to keep data secure while allowing incremental, unattended backup and restoration to occur.
When files are created in Data Protection classes that aren’t accessible when the device is locked, their per-file keys are encrypted, using the class keys from the iCloud Backup keybag, and backed up to iCloud in their original, encrypted state. All files are encrypted during transport and, when stored, encrypted using account-based keys, as described in CloudKit.
The iCloud Backup keybag contains asymmetric (Curve25519) keys for Data Protection classes that aren’t accessible when the device is locked. The backup set is stored in the user’s iCloud account and consists of a copy of the user’s files and the iCloud Backup keybag. The iCloud Backup keybag is protected by a random key, which is also stored with the backup set. (The user’s iCloud password isn’t used for encryption, so changing the iCloud password won’t invalidate existing backups.)
While the user’s Keychain database is backed up to iCloud, it remains protected by a UID-tangled key. This allows the Keychain to be restored only to the same device from which it originated, and it means no one else, including Apple, can read the user’s Keychain items.
On restore, the backed-up files, iCloud Backup keybag, and the key for the keybag are retrieved from the user’s iCloud account. The iCloud Backup keybag is decrypted using its key, then the per-file keys in the keybag are used to decrypt the files in the backup set, which are written as new files to the file system, thus reencrypting them according to their Data Protection class.