How to make your iCloud account secure (and stop people nicking your photos)

As you’re no doubt aware by now, some naughty hackers have stolen some…erm, naughty photos of various celebrities from their iCloud account.

The chances of these hackers targeting your photos is pretty low, but it’s still worth making sure that your iCloud account is nice and secure should you ever achieve worldwide fame (good luck!).

Set up two-step verification

Two-step verification is a new feature that requires users to enter a verification number sent to a trusted device after logging into their account. This stops people from accessing your iCloud account remotely (as the hackers in the celebrity photos palaver did).

However, two-step verification is not a default setting. You can read more about setting up two-step verification on Apple’s website, but it boils down to these steps:

  • Go to My Apple ID
  • Select Manage your Apple ID
  • Select Password and Security
  • Select ‘Get Started’ under Two-Step Verification.

Two-step verification is easy to set up, and it’ll stop people nicking your stuff; what’s not to love?

(note: you can also set up two-step verification for Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive).

Set a stronger password

A strong password can save you a lot of hassle in the long run. It’s been speculated that the hackers behind the celebrity photo leak used a piece of software that simply kept trying passwords until one worked, which means using a common password puts your data at risk.

It’s commonly suggested that you set a complex phrase that you’ll remember as your password (something unique!), although a few numbers thrown in can’t hurt.

Don’t be tempted to use the same password for every site, either. While Apple requires that you use a password that you haven’t used in the past year when setting up your account, using your Apple ID password for subsequent can lead to problems too. Set a unique password for every account you set up and use a password manager like LastPass (which we covered in this blog post) to keep track of them all (and keep them secure, of course).

Turn off My Photo Stream

If you want to take naughty photos of yourself (we’re not judging) but don’t want them to end up in the hands of nefarious hackers, don’t upload them to iCloud. Simple, eh?

To stop your photos automatically uploading to iCloud, you’ll need to turn off My Photo Stream:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select iCloud
  • Select Photos
  • Turn My Photo Stream off

Be aware that you won’t be able to see pictures taken on your phone on any other Apple devices after turning My Photo Stream off unless you a) upload pictures to iCloud manually or b) turn My Photo Stream back on.

Review your existing pictures and files, then delete any that you’re worried about

There are some things that just don’t belong on the Cloud: naughty pictures, bank details, that top secret you made of yourself miming along to Call Me Maybe when that was still a thing.

Take a look through your existing files on iCloud and delete anything that could pose a security risk (or be a constant source of embarrassment), although make sure you save the file on your desktop/laptop first.

Don’t take embarrassing pictures

Although we suppose that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?

Got any iCloud security tips? Share them with us in the comments.

And if this Cloud nonsense is getting a bit too much for you, you could always sell your iPhone with musicMagpie!