Apple confirms it uses Google’s cloud for iCloud; data is encrypted for privacy

“A file that Apple updated on its website last month provides the first acknowledgment that it’s relying on Google’s public cloud for data storage for its iCloud services,” Jordan Novet reports for CNBC.

“The disclosure is fresh evidence that Google’s cloud has been picking up usage as it looks to catch up with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure business,” Novet reports. “Some media outlets reported on Google’s iCloud win in 2016, but Apple never provided confirmation of the change.”

“Apple periodically publishes new versions of a document called the iOS Security Guide. For years the document contained language indicating that iCloud services were relying on remote data storage systems from Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft’s Azure,” Novet reports. “But in the latest version, the Microsoft Azure reference is gone, and in its place is Google Cloud Platform.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Via Apple’s iOS 11 Security document:

Each file is broken into chunks and encrypted by iCloud using AES-128 and a key derived from each chunk’s contents that utilizes SHA-256. The keys and the file’s metadata are stored by Apple in the user’s iCloud account. The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as S3 and Google Cloud Platform. – Apple Inc.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Jaribbs” for the heads up.]


      1. Do you have any clue what AES-128 is? Or, for did you grasp that there is no USER IDENTIFYING DATA included with the data? That is kept with Apple. Ergo, No, Google cannot decipher the data, cannot identify any thing as belonging to any person, so they cannot use it. To them, without Apple’s Key, it is just so much gobbledegook.

        By the way, these chunks of data are not monolithic but rather stripped out in pieces by an algorithm from the original data. Think that Apple pulls ever fourth byte out of the string of data and stores it separately as one chunk, every third byte as another, every second byte as another and the first byte as another. Try and get anything useful out of those non-connected chunks which contain only 25% of the data.

        1. They did, they just don’t have enough capacity to handle all the traffic. iCloud communications, like iMessage syncing, is handled by apples servers. The iCloud backups, which require tons more storage, are hosted on AWS/Google/Azure. iCloud Drive is hosted on Apple’s data centers as well.

      1. using their own storage? Because like issues with their P.A. (Siri’s an idiot), Apple has issues with the cloud.
        Apple has long had issues with effectively aligning the indi’s cloud data and, imo, this is one area I wish Apple will dedicate to resolve and emerge as a leader. Why in the world do Google, Amzn, & MS have powerful/capable cloud functionality and Apple is seemingly stuck in the iLife timeframe?

      2. They are using what capacity they have built for Services and electronic media product source files (videos, music, Apps, etc.). I understood the rest of iCloud (the personal storage) was all outsourced to Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc. in encrypted format to manage costs of building and maintaining the required storage capacity.

        1. Q2: Does anyone know how much storage the NSA has at their middle-of-nowhere massive surveillance plant supposedly uses? (There’s an organization that needs a massive Expert System to sort through the masses of utter crap they collect on us all, legally or otherwise).

  1. If Apple was not able to foresee what was needed for capacity, etc, why should we believe them when the say anything handled by Google is secure?

    Their self-worship is out of control and it blinds them.

    1. Because Google cloud/AWS/Azure aren’t managed by those companies. All they do is maintain the hardware and connection, once the space is leased it’s controlled by the entity who’s renting that space. In Apple’s case, they would’ve had an engineer load the proper sequencing (just like our company did with AWS) and it wouldn’t be able to be touched.

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