How to keep all your private photos off iCloud

While what happened to Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and many other celebrities could arguably happen on any cloud storage service, many folks are pointing fingers at iCloud. While we don't believe iCloud is any less safe than any other backup service, we understand people wanting to take precautions. So if you'd prefer to not have any of your photos on iCloud, we can walk you through how to safeguard all your pics, nudies or not!

How to prevent iCloud from backing up or storing photos

In order to make sure none of your photos end up in iCloud, you first need to understand how iCloud stores your photos. There are a few different places iCloud could be storing your photos, so depending on how keen you are to get them off, you'll want to perform one, if not all, of the steps laid out below.

1. Disable Photo Stream

Every time you snap a photo, iCloud can back up your last 1,000 photos to Photo Stream automatically. They then become available on all devices linked to your iCloud account. People that use shared devices may not like this behavior and would rather have it turned off.

Remember that you'll need to disable Photo Stream on every device you've got linked to your iCloud account. Also keep in mind that you don't need a password in order to re-enable it. If you're concerned about that, it's best to sign out of your iCloud account completely on shared devices.

2. Turn off iCloud Camera Roll backups

If you back up your Camera Roll to iCloud, anyone that would restore from one of your backups would have access to all of your photos. The easiest way to prevent that is to not back up your Camera Roll at all. Just make sure that you're periodically saving your photos someplace safe in case you were to lose or break your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on iCloud.
  3. Tap on Storage & Backup — it's all the way at the bottom.
  4. Tap on Manage Storage.
  5. Tap on your current device under Backups.
  6. Under Backup Options turn Off the option for Camera Roll.
  7. Tap on Turn Off & Delete to confirm.

You'll need to repeat this process on every device you have backing up to your iCloud account.

3. Delete iMessages and text messages regularly

Your iPhone and iPad also stores photos in the Messages app, which means that anyone who restores from a backup will instantly have access to those. So if you are concerned with photos contained in message threads ending up in the wrong hands, make sure you're deleting photos from message threads that you don't want anyone to ever have access to. Better yet, delete your message threads regularly.

4. Sync to iTunes instead

If you really want to make sure that iCloud doesn't have any information you don't want it to, you can choose to forego it altogether. Instead, you can return to the old days of syncing your device to your computer via iTunes. This way no remote copies of your backup, including your photos are available at all.

5. Share with common sense

More important than any of the above steps, it's important to remember that while you can easily control where your personal photos are stored, you can not control what people you send them to will do with them. So if you're really concerned about photos getting into the wrong hands, don't send them.

And if you're intent upon sharing private photos, we aren't here to judge, just use something a little safer than standard iMessage threads. Check out our favorite App Store apps for sharing private photos below.

See also: