Risk of data loss: Apple continues to delete iCloud backups without warning

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Apple’s backups in the iCloud are convenient: They are created automatically and, among other things, allow you to easily switch to a new device and copy the old data to it. The problem: Such backups are by no means safe forever, as users are currently experiencing – and Apple does not warn that a deletion is pending. The university professor Erin Sparling reports on Twitter about a case in which he lost the entire inventory of an iPad – including all the drawings he has ever made on the tablet.

The reason is the fact that Apple automatically deletes iCloud backups after 180 days if you don’t use the backup function. That’s how it is in a support document of the group. “iCloud backups are still available for 180 days after you turn off iCloud backup or stop using it.”

The “Deletion Counter” is reset as soon as a new backup has been created with the respective iCloud account. In the case of Sparling, however, that didn’t work because six months between the last backup and the wish to restore the backup to another device, lay. And even worse: Apple still does not provide for the user to be warned by email or notification that his backup in the iCloud will go through the Wupper.

In Sparling’s case, he had made a backup of his iPad, then reset and erased the device and gave it away. Six months later he bought a new device and wanted to restore the backup – as it turned out, all of the data was gone. Since Sparling did not have an iPad in the six months, he could not create a new backup during the 180 days, which activated the deletion counter.

It also doesn’t matter whether the iCloud account is paid for or not – the deletion takes place even when using additional storage that is subject to a fee. Apple also does not evaluate how full the account is already – even if there is enough space for further backups, it will be deleted. There are currently only two solutions to the problem: You make backups again in the 180 days (which is not always possible, see Sparling’s case) – or you use the option a local backup – on the Mac via the Finder, on Windows via iTunes. This is also useful if you want to secure sensitive data such as WLAN access or health information, which can then also be encrypted.


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