Media Watchdog Advises Journalists in China to Avoid Using iCloud Accounts, Citing Privacy Fears

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RWB/RSF) has urged journalists using iCloud in China to migrate away from Apple's cloud service this month, before control of their data is handed over to a Chinese company (via Hong Kong Free Press).

Beginning February 28, Apple's iCloud services in mainland China will be operated by Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD), which is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China.


The firm is set to manage Apple's new $1 billion data center, which opened in the region last year. The operational change was agreed between Apple and the Chinese government, bringing the tech giant into compliance with the country's new cloud computing regulations.

Apple says the partnership with GCBD will improve the speed and reliability of iCloud services and products, and has assured iCloud customers that no backdoors had been created into any of its systems. However, press freedom advocates fear that user data will become accessible to the Chinese state as a result of the switch. Earlier this week, RWB/RSF explicitly criticized Apple's "readiness to accommodate China's authoritarian regime".
"Apple promises that it will never give governments a backdoor to content, but there is no way of being sure about this," Head of RSF's East Asia bureau Cédric Alviani said.

"Knowing the Chinese government's determination and the extent of the means of pressure at its disposal, it will end up getting its way sooner or later, if it hasn't already."
Last month, Apple contacted and advised customers in China to examine new terms and conditions, which include a clause that both Apple and the Chinese firm will have access to all data stored on iCloud servers. Customers who did not want to use iCloud operated by GCBD were also given the option to terminate their account before the February 28 switch.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

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How to Use iCloud Keychain on Your iOS Devices

iCloud Keychain is a feature of your Apple account that you can use to keep your website login credentials, personal details, credit card details, and wireless network information up to date and available across all your Apple devices.

With so many usernames and passwords to remember these days, iCloud Keychain provides a convenient way of always having this information at hand. And with its AutoFill feature, iCloud Keychain can even enter your credentials for you when required.

It's also very secure, thanks to Apple's use of end-to-end encryption. This means that only you can access your information, and only on devices where you're signed in to iCloud. Keep reading to learn how to enable iCloud Keychain on your iOS devices.

How to Enable iCloud Keychain on Your iPhone or iPad


  1. Open the Settings app and tap your Apple ID banner at the top of the Settings menu.

  2. Tap iCloud.

  3. Scroll down the list and select Keychain.

  4. Toggle on the iCloud Keychain switch and enter your Apple ID password if prompted.

If this is the first time you've enabled iCloud Keychain, you'll be asked to create an iCloud Security Code or use your existing device passcode. You'll also need to enter a phone number where you can receive SMS messages for authorization purposes. If you've already enabled iCloud Keychain in the past, you'll be prompted to enter the passcode that was used to set it up previously.

Accessing Your Login Details in iCloud Keychain


With iCloud Keychain enabled, Apple's Autofill feature will fill in your login credentials for you whenever you come across the relevant input fields on a website or in an app. On occasion, you may encounter a login screen that doesn't play nice with Autofill. In such cases, you'll need to copy and paste your username and password manually. Here's how it's done.
  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device.

  2. Tap Accounts and Passwords.

  3. Tap App & Website Passwords and use Touch ID if prompted.

  4. Tap the relevant login entry in the list, or using the search field at the top of the Passwords screen, type in the name of the app or website for which you need login credentials.

  5. Long press on the username/password and tap the Copy pop-up option.

  6. Now navigate back to the relevant app or website, long press the username/password input field, and then tap the Paste pop-up option.

Note that you can delete login credentials by tapping Edit at the top right of the Passwords screen. You can also tap a website entry and use the Edit option to change existing username and password fields.

Adding Credit Cards and Personal Information


You can add personal information and credit card information to iCloud Keychain at any time using your iPhone or iPad, after which it will be available across all of your devices. Simply follow these steps:
  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap Safari.

  3. Tap AutoFill.

  4. To add personal information, tap My Info and select your contact card from the list of contacts. To add credit card details, tap Saved Credit Cards and then tap Add Credit Card.

The last screen you see here also includes three toggles for selectively disabling/re-enabling AutoFill functions, which can come in handy if someone else is going to be using your iPhone or iPad.


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International User Accounts Swept Up in Chinese iCloud Data Migration

Apple's announcement on Wednesday that its iCloud services in mainland China will be handed over to a Chinese company has already run into controversy, after it emerged that accounts registered overseas are being swept up in the migration.

Apple said yesterday that customers based in China had been contacted and advised to examine new terms and conditions, which include a clause that both Apple and the Chinese firm will have access to all data stored on iCloud servers, which will be transferred from February 28. Customers living in mainland China who did not want to use iCloud operated by GCBD had been given the option to terminate their account.


However, according to some users who spoke to TechCrunch, in the data to be handled by local partner Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD), Apple is including iCloud accounts that were opened in the U.S., are paid for using U.S. dollars, and/or are connected to U.S.-based App Store accounts.


When asked for comment, Apple pointed to its terms and conditions site, which explains that it is migrating iCloud accounts based on the settings of the user's device, not where an iCloud account is registered or billed to.
The operation of iCloud services associated with Apple IDs that have China in their country or region setting will be subject to this transition. You will be notified of this transition via email and notifications on your devices. You don’t need to take any further action and can keep using iCloud in China.

After February 28, 2018, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions of iCloud operated by GCBD to keep using iCloud in China.
As it stands, this could result in thousands of users temporarily living in China to study or work having their data migrated to servers under the control of GCBD, which is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China.

The situation is said to have left many users feeling trapped into the migration, but one user has discovered an apparent opt-out. This involves switching an iCloud account back to China before signing out of all devices. The user then switches their iPhone and iCloud settings to the U.S., and after signing back into iCloud, their account should no longer be part of the migration.

"What will Apple do when the Chinese authorities request a backdoor to access data that is encrypted?" Charlie Smith, founder of censorship monitoring site Great Fire, told TechCrunch. "Will they continue to adhere to local laws and regulations and submit to the request? Or are they leaving this decision squarely in the hands of GCBD, their local partner?"

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: China, iCloud

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Apple Announces Relocation of Chinese Customers’ iCloud Data From U.S. to Mainland China

Apple today confirmed that its iCloud services in mainland China will be operated by a Chinese company from next month (via People's Daily, China). The firm, called Guizhou on the Cloud Big Data (GCBD), is owned by the Guizhou provincial government in southern China, and will manage Apple's new $1 billion data center, which opened in the region last year.

Apple said customers based in the country had been contacted and advised to examine new terms and conditions, which include a clause that both Apple and the Chinese firm will have access to all data stored on iCloud servers.



Apple originally announced in July its intention to set up its first China data center in partnership with a local internet services company. The operational change was agreed between Apple and the Chinese government, bringing the tech giant into compliance with the country's cloud computing regulations, introduced in June 2017.

The cybersecurity law requires foreign firms to store data within the country. Other tech firms with data centers in China include Microsoft and Amazon, which will also need to comply with the new rules.

Apple said the partnership with GCBD would also allow it to improve the speed and reliability of iCloud services products, but assured customers that no backdoors had been created into any of its systems. However, critics claim the move will make it easier for Beijing to spy on users in the country. Last year, Apple was accused of kowtowing to state demands that it remove virtual private network (VPN) apps from its App Store in mainland China.

Shortly after, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple "would rather not remove apps", but like it does in other countries, "we follow the law where we do business". Cook also said he hoped China would ease up on the restrictions over time.

In Wednesday's announcement, Apple said customer iCloud data will be transferred from February 28, and customers living in mainland China who did not want to use iCloud operated by GCBD had been given the option to terminate their account.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tags: China, iCloud

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iWork for iCloud and iCloud Notes Experiencing Sharing Outage

Some customers using Pages, Numbers, Keynote, or the Apple Notes app are currently unable to share new files or add new people to shared files due to an ongoing outage affecting some iCloud functionality.

The problem started at 4:00 a.m Pacific Time this morning, and is still affecting customers, according to Apple's System Status page.


The Notes and iWork for iCloud apps appear to be the only apps that are experiencing an outage at this time. It's not clear when the problem will be resolved, but we'll update this post when it's fixed.

(Thanks, Marc!)

Tag: iCloud

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Third Man Charged in 2014 Celebrity iCloud Phishing Attacks

Emilio Herrera, a 32-year-old man from Chicago, this week pled guilty to hacking into more than 550 iCloud and Gmail accounts, many of which belonged to female celebrities, reports Deadline.

Investigators uncovered Herrera's activities when looking into a 2014 "Celebgate" incident that saw the private photos of dozens of celebrities leaked online after their iCloud usernames and passwords were obtained through phishing attempts.

Herrera used a phishing scheme to get the usernames and passwords of his victims, sending fake emails that appeared to be from Apple and Google. He stole credentials from April 27, 2013 to August of 2014, and used that information to access the iCloud and Gmail accounts of multiple celebrities.

Investigators have not found evidence linking Herrera to the actual leaks that saw nude photographs of celebrities uploaded to sites like reddit and 4chan, nor have they determined that Herrera shared the data that he found, but he did access sensitive photographs and videos.

Herrera pled guilty to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse act, and he now faces up to five years in federal prison.

Edward Majerczyk and Ryan Collins were previously found to be involved in the Celebgate incident and both pled guilty to similar charges.

When hundreds of nude photos of celebrities were leaked online in 2014, there was initial speculation that iCloud had been hacked, but following an investigation, Apple determined the celebrity accounts had been compromised by week passwords. A Find My iPhone vulnerability that allowed multiple password entry attempts may have also been at fault.

Apple has since improved security by adding two-factor authentication to iCloud.com, introducing email alerts when an iCloud account is accessed on the web, and requiring app-specific passwords for third-party apps that access iCloud.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: iCloud

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iCloud Infrastructure Executive Departs Apple

Eric Billingsley, director of internet services operations at Apple, is leaving the company, reports CNBC.

Billingsley is responsible for running data center infrastructure and some internet services, including the operating infrastructure for iCloud services like iCloud Drive.

His current responsibilities are being handed over to senior engineering director Patrick Gates, who already oversees infrastructure for other services like Siri. Gates has been with Apple since 2005 and will shortly take over for Billingsley.

Prior to joining Apple in October of 2013, Billingsley served as a director of engineering at Google. Before that, he was a technical fellow at eBay. It's not clear where he will be going after leaving Apple.

According to CNBC, data infrastructure has been an issue at Apple and Gates has been "righting the ship." Apple has been shifting more services to Gates' group's infrastructure as Billingsley's relies on external cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

His departure comes following a major AWS outage in February that impacted services like Apple Music and iTunes, and CBNC speculates that his exit could mean Apple plans to rely more on its own infrastructure rather than third-party cloud services.

Both Billingsley and Gates report to engineering vice president Patrice Gautier, who reports to iTunes chief Eddy Cue.

Tag: iCloud

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macOS High Sierra and iOS 11 May Fix Long-Standing Sync Issues With iCloud Text Replacements

Apple appears to have resolved long-running iCloud sync issues linked to its text replacement feature with the release of iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra. Originally introduced in Snow Leopard and iOS 5, text replacements let users create shortcut text that, when typed, expands to something longer, thus saving input time.

The feature can be found on iOS devices in Settings -> General -> Keyboards -> Text Replacement, and in System Preferences -> Keyboard on Macs. Ideally, changes to the text snippets list on one device should sync to all devices logged in using the same Apple ID, but that hasn't always been the case, as MacStadium's Brian Stucki attests:

Text replacement syncing is completely broken. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it will only sync back old snippets that you have deleted. Sometimes the sync will work one direction, but not the other. Every time I ask about this on Twitter, it brings a strong response of similar experiences.
After years of struggling to get text replacement syncing to work properly, Stucki recently decided to set up a weeks-long experiment to test the reliability of the feature across hundreds of Apple devices running various versions of iOS and OS X/macOS. In short, Stucki's results suggested that the text replacement syncing service was "a complete mess" and routinely failed to sync text snippets across devices.

Following the experiment, Stucki wondered why the syncing had remained so poor across several generations of OS, given that other iCloud syncing features such as Apple Notes had improved in recent years. As noted by Daring Fireball's John Gruber, these improvements corresponded with the introduction of the CloudKit API in 2014, suggesting that text replacements had not been upgraded to run on the newer syncing framework.

However, in an update to his experiment posted on Tuesday, Stucki reported that when he made text replacement changes on a Mac running macOS High Sierra, surprisingly his edits were recognized and synced across nearly every device on the same Apple ID, regardless of OS. "Perhaps a clean install of High Sierra is now saving snippets correctly?" he wondered.


Since then, iOS developer Guilherme Rambo has been able to confirm that text replacements do sync through CloudKit on iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra, suggesting Apple has got around to updating the feature to run on the more reliable API. So if you're having trouble syncing text snippets, updating your devices to Apple's latest operating systems might be the best course of action.

Related Roundups: iOS 11, macOS High Sierra
Tag: CloudKit

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How to Sign Up for iCloud Family Storage Plans in iOS 11

Apple's Family Sharing feature allows you to share music, movies, apps, photos, and more with family members, and in iOS 11, Family Sharing extends to Apple's iCloud Storage plans.

When you purchase a 200GB or 2TB iCloud Storage plan, all members of your family can share the storage space. Depending on how many family members you have, family plans offer more storage at a better price than individual plans.

For example, a 50GB storage plan is priced at $0.99 per person. For two people, the $2.99 200GB plan offers each person an additional 50GB of storage for only $1 more.

How to Upgrade to a Family iCloud Storage Plan



  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap on your Apple ID profile at the top of the app.

  3. Choose "Family Sharing," the sixth option in the list.

  4. Tap on "iCloud Storage" to bring up a notice about the new Family Sharing options.

  5. Click "Continue" to choose a plan.

  6. Pick a 200GB or 2TB plan.

You can also access the plan settings through the standard iCloud Storage menu in the Settings app, accessible by going to iCloud > Manage Storage after tapping on your profile.

How to Stop Sharing iCloud Storage With Family


You can sign up for a 2TB or 200GB storage plan and keep family members from accessing your storage space. Here's how:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap on your Apple ID profile.

  3. Choose "Family Sharing."

  4. Choose "iCloud Storage."

  5. Tap on "Stop Sharing With Family."

How to Downgrade iCloud Storage


If you want to go back to a cheaper iCloud Storage option, downgrading is as simple as choosing a new plan. New rates won't kick in until the next billing period.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap on your Apple ID profile.

  3. Choose "iCloud."

  4. Tap on "Manage Storage."

  5. Choose "Change" under the iCloud Storage option.

  6. Select a 5GB or 50GB plan to downgrade.

It's important to note that there's no way to allocate how much storage each person gets when using one of Apple's new iCloud Storage plans for families, so it's not always an even split. If a family member is hogging too much space, that's a problem that will need to be worked out offline. You can see how much storage each family member is using by going to profile > Family Sharing > iCloud Storage.


When you choose a 200GB or 2TB storage plan and opt in to Family Sharing, family members who are on the free 5GB plan will be upgraded automatically and will begin using the family storage plan.

Family members who already have a paid plan will need to opt in to the family storage plan to transfer over from their own plans. If they want to have separate storage, your family members can continue to pay for their own plans and choose not to opt into the family plan.

To let your family know that you've signed up for a family iCloud plan, Apple offers an automatic iMessage alert that can be sent out to family members that lets them easily switch over to the family plan.

Related Roundup: iOS 11
Tag: iCloud

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Barclays Proposes Apple Could Lessen iPhone 8 Pricing Impact by Including Apple Music/iCloud Bundle

Leading up to Apple's September 12 media event, the exact price tag of the upcoming iPhone 8 has been one of the biggest question marks surrounding the smartphone. The latest rumors describe a premium device that will start at $999 (64GB) in the United States, then rise to $1,099 (256GB), and cap at $1,199 (512GB), although of course none of these price points or storage configurations have been confirmed.

Recently, a team of Barclays analysts including Mark Moskowitz have theorized one potential solution for the device's premium price tag: Apple could debut an iPhone 8 bundle that packs in a year's worth of Apple Music and a 200GB iCloud subscription into the cost of the smartphone (via Business Insider). In the U.S., one year of Apple Music costs around $120 at $10/month (although Apple sells gift cards that knock the annual price down to $100/year), while a 200GB monthly iCloud subscription runs at $2.99/month, equating to around $36 each year.


Taken from the cost of the alleged "cheapest" iPhone 8 at $1,000, users would actually be paying about $844 for the smartphone and $156 for the bundled services, which the Barclays analysts said would be "more palatable." Barclays' prediction is based on a survey of wireless service customers (see results chart below), which found that Apple "might" sell around 40.3 million standalone iPhone 8 devices, but with the Apple Music/iCloud bundle that statistic could jump to 64.4 million iPhone 8 units sold.
"Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz and his team think they have figured that out. Apple will offer free subscriptions to Apple Music and 200GB of iCloud storage for one year, a deal worth $156, to anyone who buys iPhone 8. That will bring the perceived cost of the phone back down to a more palatable $844.
While a bundle like this would be a logical move by Apple, locking iPhone 8 customers into the company's ever-growing services ecosystem, Barclays' report is just a prediction and has not yet been corroborated by any other sources as a potential launch plan. In the past, Barclays has gotten close at reporting the facts about unreleased products, but has missed some details. In November 2016, Barclays Research analysts predicted three new iPads would come in March 2017, including refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions and an all-new bezel-free 10.9-inch model.


Only a new 9.7-inch iPad launched in March of this year, while a 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro debuted at Apple's WWDC event in June. Analysts at Barclays have made a handful of predictions that can't yet be rated for accuracy since they concern the iPhone 8, including an expected "limited quantity" September launch, the inclusion of a True Tone display, a Lightning to headphone jack adapter in the box, and faster charging thanks to a 10W power adapter with a USB-C connector and an integrated USB-C Power Delivery chip.

In a separate report today by DigiTimes, Taiwanese supply chain sources have corroborated many of the current rumors surrounding the iPhone 8's pre-order date and price range. Taiwan is said to be "included in the first group of markets" where the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, and iPhone 7s Plus will be made available for pre-order, with customers in Taiwan reportedly able to place their pre-order on September 15, the sources said. This date makes sense when looking back at the past five years of iPhone launch history.

Like previous reports, DigiTimes cites iPhone 8 prices at $999, $1,099, and $1,199 levels, with storage capacities of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB, respectively. Samsung's monopoly of the OLED supply chain has been rumored as the explanation behind these high iPhone 8 prices. As is typical with new iPhones, the iPhone 8's launch is expected to be riddled with shortages and shipping delays, and could even ship sometime after the LCD iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s models.

Fortunately, we're only four days away from Apple's September 12 event, where the company will reveal more information about the iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, 4K Apple TV, Apple Watch Series 3, and more.

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tags: Barclays, iCloud, Apple Music

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