iCloud security overview

iCloud is built with industry-standard security technologies, employs strict policies to protect your information, and is leading the industry by adopting privacy-preserving technologies like end-to-end encryption for your data.

Data security

iCloud secures your information by encrypting it when it's in transit, storing it in iCloud in an encrypted format, and using secure tokens for authentication. For certain sensitive information, Apple uses end-to-end encryption. This means that only you can access your information, and only on devices where you’re signed into iCloud. No one else, not even Apple, can access end-to-end encrypted information.

End-to-end encryption requires that you have two-factor authentication turned on for your Apple ID. Keeping your software up-to-date and using two-factor authentication are the most important things that you can do to maintain the security of your devices and data.

Here's more detail on how iCloud protects your data.

Data Encryption Notes
In transit On server
Backup Yes Yes A minimum of 128-bit AES encryption
Bookmarks Yes Yes
Calendars Yes Yes
Contacts Yes Yes
Find My Friends Yes Yes
Find My iPhone Yes Yes
Health Yes Yes
iCloud Drive Yes Yes
Messages in iCloud Yes Yes
Notes Yes Yes
Photos Yes Yes
Reminders Yes Yes
Siri Shortcuts Yes Yes
Voice Memos Yes Yes
iCloud.com Yes N/A All sessions at iCloud.com are encrypted with TLS 1.2. Any data accessed via iCloud.com is encrypted on server as indicated in this table.
Back to My Mac Yes N/A Back to My Mac does not store data on iCloud. Data retrieved from other computers is encrypted with TLS 1.2 while in transit.
Mail Yes No

All traffic between your devices and iCloud Mail is encrypted with TLS 1.2. Consistent with standard industry practice, iCloud does not encrypt data stored on IMAP mail servers. All Apple email clients support optional S/MIME encryption.

 

End-to-end encrypted data

End-to-end encryption provides the highest level of data security. Your data is protected with a key derived from information unique to your device, combined with your device passcode, which only you know. No one else can access or read this data.

These features and their data are transmitted and stored in iCloud using end-to-end encryption:

  • Home data
  • Health data (requires iOS 12 or later) 
  • iCloud Keychain (includes all of your saved accounts and passwords)
  • Payment information
  • Siri information
  • Wi-Fi network information

To access your data on a new device, you might have to enter the passcode for an existing or former device.

Messages in iCloud also uses end-to-end encryption. If you have iCloud Backup turned on, your backup includes a copy of the key protecting your Messages. This ensures you can recover your Messages if you lose access to iCloud Keychain and your trusted devices. When you turn off iCloud Backup, a new key is generated on your device to protect future messages and isn't stored by Apple.

Two-factor authentication

With two-factor authentication, your account can only be accessed on devices you trust, like your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. When you want to sign in with your Apple ID on a new device the first time, you need to provide two pieces of information — your password and the six-digit verification code that's auto-displayed on your trusted devices.

Use of secure tokens for authentication

When you access iCloud services with Apple’s built-in apps (for example, Mail, Contacts, and Calendar apps on iOS or macOS), authentication is handled using a secure token. Secure tokens eliminate the need to store your iCloud password on devices and computers.

Health data

End-to-end encryption for Health data requires iOS 12 and two-factor authentication. Otherwise, your data is still encrypted in storage and transmission but is not encrypted end-to-end. After you turn on two-factor authentication and update to iOS 12, your Health data is migrated to end-to-end encryption.

If you back up your device using iTunes or iCloud backups, Health data is stored only if the backup is encrypted.

Privacy

Apple has a company-wide commitment to your privacy. Our Privacy Policy covers how we collect, use, disclose, transfer, and store your information. And in addition to adhering to the Apple Privacy Policy, Apple designs all iCloud features with your privacy in mind.

Learn more

Learn more about advanced security features in the iOS Security Guide.

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