You probably heard by now about the nude celebrity photos circulating the internet, with the hacker allegedly responsible saying he got the photos from Apple’s iCloud.
You may be thinking, “I’m not a celebrity. No one would be interested in my naked or otherwise embarrassing photos.”
That could be true. But maybe not. One site where the hacker posted the celebrity photos is known as AnonIB, an anonymous porn-sharing forum where people upload all sorts of lewd photos of all sorts of people, not just celebrities.
Then there are “revenge porn” sites where people who have an ax to grind (like an “ex”) might post your naked pics, and you have to pay to get them removed.
Apple has denied that iCloud has been hacked, but hackers don’t have to actually break into Apple’s servers to get your photos. All they need is to crack your iCloud password.
When it comes to photos, iCloud is notoriously hard to use and you may not even know you’ve got pictures stored on it. If you go to Apple’s iCloud.com right now and log in, you won’t see them there. You’ll see mail, contacts, etc., but no photos.
So here are step-by-step directions on how to tell if your photos are on iCloud, how to delete photos, and then how to check to make sure they are really deleted.
First, check to see if your photos are being sent to iCloud. In iOS, click on Settings/iCloud. Scroll down to “Photos.” If it says “On” you have photos on iCloud.
The photos being shared are the ones in “My Photo Stream” in the Photos app.
To find your Photo Stream, open your Photos app. On the bottom, click on “Albums.”
You may actually have to click on “Albums” on the top of the next screen, too.
You should then see a screen that looks like this. Notice how there are fewer photos in my Camera Roll (155 photos) than in my Photo Stream (169)? I have deleted photos from my phone that are still available via iCloud.
If you have more than one photo you want to delete from iCloud, click on Select, then on all the photos you want to delete.
Be careful about which photos you delete. Getting rid of them from Photo Stream gets rid of them on your other devices, as well.
To check if the photos are really gone, fire up another Apple device and look at your Photo Stream in your Photos app.
On a Mac, this is trickier than it seems. Your iCloud photos are NOT in your Pictures folder in Finder. They are tucked away in the iPhoto app.
Open iPhoto and then look for the iCloud folder. Then click on My Photo Stream. The photos you deleted from your iPhone should be gone. Also check your other streams, just in case you accidentally shared them via iCloud to one of those streams.
If the photo is still there, or if you find other naked selfies you want gone, you can delete them from iCloud via iPhoto, too.
Click on the photo and then click on the delete button on your keyboard. Then confirm by clicking “Delete Photo.”
You might want to make sure it’s also gone from the iPhone or iPad. Look for the photo in Photos/Albums/Camera Roll.
If it’s not in iPhone’s Photo Streams or in your Mac’s iPhoto iCloud folder, you’ve successfully deleted it from iCloud.