Don’t Want Your Data in the Cloud? Turn off iCloud on Your iPhone or Mac

Spread the love

Despite Apple’s best wishes, you don’t need to use iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Although most people are happy to use the service, some prefer to keep their data stored locally, away from Apple’s servers.

In this article, we’ll explain how to disable or turn off iCloud on your iPhone or Mac. You can choose to disable the service entirely, or simply opt out of the particular iCloud services you don’t want to use anymore.

Related:

Quick Tips

quick tips 2019

Follow these quick tips to turn off iCloud on your iPhone or Mac. But make sure you find out what you’re losing by reading the full instructions below.

  1. On an iPhone, open the Settings and tap your name at the top. Scroll down and tap Sign Out, or go to iCloud to disable certain parts of iCloud.
  2. On a Mac, open the System Preferences and click on Apple ID. Go to Overview to Sign Out, or go to iCloud to disable certain parts of iCloud.

What is iCloud?

Year after year, Apple seems to add new aspects and features to its iCloud service. As a result, it’s easy to feel lost when trying to understand what iCloud offers. In general, iCloud lets you store personal data on Apple’s servers, which you can access at any time over the Internet.

iCloud logo
iCloud offers a range of different services.

We’ve described every aspect of iCloud below so that you know what you’ll miss out on if you turn it off. If you wish, you can always choose to use some features without others.

iCloud Sync

The main feature of iCloud is its ability to sync data across multiple Apple devices. That means you could update the Calendar app on your iPhone, for example, and those changes would appear on your Mac moments later.

You can use iCloud to sync data from any of the following apps:

  • Photos
  • Mail
  • Contacts
  • Calendars
  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • And more

If you sync Photos to iCloud, you can choose to upload all your photos to save storage on your device, although you may need to get extra iCloud storage to do this.

iCloud Drive

Apple gives every iCloud account 5GB of free storage to use. Any data you sync with iCloud uses up this storage. But you can also save your own documents and folders to iCloud using iCloud Drive.

iCloud Drive is simply the name for the part of iCloud you can store other documents in. You can upload any document to iCloud Drive, then access it using the Files app on your iPhone or using the Finder app on your Mac.

iCloud Drive also allows third-party apps to save data to your iCloud account.

iCloud Drive folder in Finder
Use Finder to create your own folders in iCloud Drive.

iCloud Backup

You should always back up your devices to protect yourself against data loss. With iCloud Backup, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch automatically backs up to iCloud every time you leave it plugged in while it’s connected to Wi-Fi.

That means you don’t need to remember to back anything up yourself. It also means you can restore your backups from anywhere with an Internet connection.

To save space, your iCloud Backup doesn’t include any data that you already sync to iCloud: Photos, Calendars, Mail, etc. This is because that data is already safe in iCloud without you needing to back it up.

iCloud Activation Lock and Find My

Alongside sync, cloud storage, and backup services, iCloud also includes valuable security features. These include Activation Lock and Find My.

With Find My turned on, you can track the location of your Apple devices using the Find My app or by visiting the iCloud website. If you lose a device, you can use Find My to lock it so other people can’t access your data.

Apple's Find My Services
Find My lets you track all your Apple devices.

When you enable Find My, it also turns on Activation Lock for your device. This stops other people from erasing your Apple device without your permission. To bypass it, someone would need to know your Apple ID username and password.

Can I use my Apple ID without using iCloud?

It’s easy to mistake Apple ID and iCloud for the same thing, but they’re different. Your Apple ID is the user account you use to sign in to all of Apple’s services, with iCloud being one of them. Other Apple services include the App Store, FaceTime, and iTunes.

You can keep using your Apple ID with other services even after disabling iCloud on your iPhone or iPad. All you need to do is sign in to those services using your username and password when prompted.

How to turn off iCloud on your iPhone or Mac

If you don’t want to use iCloud, it’s easy to opt out and turn it off from your device settings. When you disable iCloud, it removes access to iCloud from that device but doesn’t delete any of your data from Apple’s servers. We’ll show you how to do that at the end of this article.

Sign out of iCloud and disable it entirely

If you don’t want to use any of iCloud’s services at all, you can disable it entirely by signing out from your device settings. It’s important to note that doing this also disables the security features that stop other people from activating your device and using it as their own.

We don’t recommend this method. Instead, we suggest you move to the next section to disable the particular iCloud features you don’t want to use.

If you’re certain you want to completely disable iCloud, follow these steps.

On an iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap [Your Name] at the top of the screen.
  2. Scroll down and tap the option to Sign Out.
  3. Choose what data to download and keep on your iPhone. Anything you don’t download is still available on the iCloud website.

On a Mac:

  1. Open the System Preferences and click on Apple ID.
  2. Select the Overview page from the sidebar and click Sign Out.
  3. Choose what data to download and keep on your iPhone. Anything you don’t download is still available on the iCloud website.
Keep a Copy page on Mac
Choose what data to keep on your Mac.

Disable iCloud sync for particular apps

It’s easy to turn off iCloud for any apps you don’t want to sync to the cloud. When you do this, your apps stop syncing across different devices.

On an iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap [Your Name] at the top of the screen.
  2. Go to iCloud, then turn off the toggle for any apps you don’t want to sync with iCloud.
  3. When prompted, choose whether you want to download the data from that app to your iPhone or not. If you choose not to, that data remains available from the iCloud website.
Turn off the apps you don't want to sync with iCloud
Turn off the apps you don’t want to sync with iCloud.

On a Mac:

  1. Open the System Preferences and click Apple ID.
  2. Select iCloud from the sidebar and uncheck any apps you don’t want to sync with iCloud.
  3. If prompted, choose whether you want to download the data from that app to your Mac or not. If you choose not to, the data remains available from the iCloud website.

Disable iCloud Drive and remove your data

Before disabling iCloud Drive, it’s a good idea to download any data that you want to keep on your device. Make sure you have enough internal storage on your device first. Anything you don’t download still remains available on the iCloud website until you choose to delete it.

On an iPhone:

  1. Open the Files app, tap Browse, and navigate to iCloud Drive.
  2. Select any files you want to download and Move them to the On My iPhone location. Wait for them to finish downloading.
  3. Then go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud and turn off iCloud Drive.

On a Mac:

  1. Open the System Preferences and click Apple ID.
  2. Select iCloud from the sidebar and uncheck the iCloud Drive option.
  3. If you want to download your iCloud Drive data, choose to Keep a Copy in the pop-up. Your Mac creates an iCloud Drive (Archive) folder with all your iCloud Drive data in it.
iCloud Drive Keep a Copy option on Mac
Choosing to Keep a Copy creates an iCloud Drive (Archive) folder.

Disable iCloud Backup

Disabling iCloud Backup is a good way to save space for other data in iCloud. But if you do so, you should start using a computer to back up your iPhone instead. Also, if you want to save space, you need to delete any existing backups after disabling the feature.

It’s not possible to use iCloud Backups with a Mac.

On an iPhone

  1. Open the Settings and go to [Your Name] > iCloud.
  2. Scroll down and tap on iCloud Backup, then turn off the toggle.
  3. To delete existing backups, go back to iCloud and choose to Manage Storage. Then select any Backups and choose to Delete Backup.
iCloud Backups in iCloud Settings
Tap a backup to delete it from your iCloud storage.

How to delete your data from iCloud

Turning off iCloud on your iPhone or Mac stops your device syncing with the cloud. But it doesn’t actually delete your data from Apple’s servers. The easiest way to do that is to delete your data on the iCloud website.

Of course, you should only delete this data if you’re confident you have another copy that isn’t linked to iCloud. Make sure the data remains on your device after signing out of iCloud before deleting anything from the website.

When you’re confident you’ve got a copy of your data, go to www.iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID account. Select each of the app icons in turn and delete any data you find.

This moves data to the Recently Deleted section so you can restore your iCloud data at a later date if you need to. Apple deletes this data forever after 28 days. Alternatively, go to Account Settings and scroll down to the Advanced section to delete everything now.

Leave a Reply