How to keep your photos safe on iPhone

Worried that the photos on your iPhone could be stolen and shared on the web? The risk is probably greater if you are a celebrity, but it could be equally risky if a spurned lover or your arch-nemesis got their hands on your snaps. After nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and around 100 big-name stars including British model Cara Delevigne, Cat Deeley, Kelly Brook, and Rihanna made their way onto image bulletin board 4chan, obtained, apparently, from their Apple iCloud accounts, many were left wondering just how secure iCloud is, and what you should do to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to you. Here we look at the ways you can stop photos getting into the wrong hands.

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  • 1 turn off my photo stream Delete
  • 2 turn off shared photo stream Stop sharing
  • 3 dont back up images Stop backing up
  • 4 delete back up Delete
  • 2 Security questions Passwords and more
  • More stories
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Don’t store potentially embarrassing photos

First things first, if you don’t want there to be a risk of embarrassing photos getting out into the public domain, don’t take them in the first place. However, there are other things you can do to keep your photos secure.

You might think that when you deleted that somewhat dodgy photo it was gone from your device, but if you have Photo Stream activated on your iPhone those images will still be on your iCloud account – at least until they are replaced after you have taken 1000 more photos (Photo Stream stores the last 1000 photos you took).

To disable Photo Stream on your iPhone go to Settings > iCloud > Photos, and turn off My Photo Stream.

Here's how to set up Photo Stream on your iPhone, iPad or Mac.

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Next Prev 1 turn off my photo stream

First things first, if you don’t want there to be a risk of embarrassing photos getting out into the public domain, don’t take them in the first place. However, there are other things you can do to keep your photos secure.

You might think that when you deleted that somewhat dodgy photo it was gone from your device, but if you have Photo Stream activated on your iPhone those images will still be on your iCloud account – at least until they are replaced after you have taken 1000 more photos (Photo Stream stores the last 1000 photos you took).

To disable Photo Stream on your iPhone go to Settings > iCloud > Photos, and turn off My Photo Stream.

Here's how to set up Photo Stream on your iPhone, iPad or Mac.

 

Step 2 of 5: Stop Photo Sharing

This is another option you will find in Settings > iCloud. If you have set up Photo Sharing, a feature that allows you to share images with a set of friends you have chosen, you might decide to turn the feature off if there is any risk that you might become famous.

Even if fame is unlikely, you will want to be careful about what you share this way, and bear in mind that if their phone or computer is compromised your images will be on it.

If your career might be ruined if an image were to fall into the wrong hands it’s best to turn this feature off. To do so go to Settings > iCloud and turn Photo Sharing off. It will warn you that all your shared photos will be deleted

Next time you want to share an image, do so via email, or iMessage, or on a social media account – but remember that duplicates of those images will be stored somewhere other than on your device.

Read: How to set up two factor authentication on iPhone

 

Step 3 of 5: Don’t back up images

You might be sensibly backing up the photos on you phone so that should you lose your iPhone, or get a new iPhone, you will easily be able to download all your photos to your new device. You might be wise to back these images up to your Mac rather than to the cloud, however.

If you’ve switched on iCloud Backup on your iPhone, the images it holds are sitting in iCloud in the form of a backup archive. If someone gains access to that backup, they will also gain access to all your images and movies.

To stop your iPhone from creating such a backup, tap Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup and disable the iCloud Backup option (which automatically backs up your camera roll, accounts, documents and settings whenever you plug your iPhone into a power source.

It is possible to keep on backing up to iCloud without backing up your photos though. Tap on Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage, then tap on the relevant backup and deselect Camera Roll. 

You can also back up your iPhone by connecting it to your computer and backing it up via iTunes.

Here's how to manage your iCloud Back Up settings

 

Step 4 of 5: Delete that backup

Even after you have turned off the back up note that those backup files still exist on iCloud.

To remove them, navigate once again to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, tap Manage Storage, and in the resulting screen you’ll see a list of backups.

Tap any that you wish to delete and on the next screen tap Delete Backup.

Read: How to back up iPhone photos automatically and Best ways to back up photographs

 

Step 5 of 5: Do more than pick a good password

Make sure you have a good strong password. Read this article on how to come up with a secure password

Make sure that you have good answers to your security questions - not answers anyone could easily guess. And make sure you remember what those answers are!

Set up two-factor authentication. Read more about how to set up two factor authentication here.

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