It’s no secret, Apple has been relying on third-party cloud companies for iCloud. And CNBCspotted an interesting tidbit in Apple’s own documents. The company now relies on Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Platform’s storage product to store iCloud data.
Back in 2016, CRN reported that Apple signed with Google for cloud storage. But Apple’s document represents the first official confirmation that this deal happened.
You can find the information in Apple’s iOS 11 security guide that was published in January 2018. The company mentions that user files are divided into tiny chunks and encrypted. The encryption keys and metadata information are stored on Apple’s own servers. But the encrypted files are stored on third-party services.
While users have no idea that Amazon and Google are managing their iCloud data, Amazon and Google can’t do anything with those files without the encryption keys. So it seems highly unlikely that Amazon and Google are looking at your data.
“The encrypted chunks of the file are stored, without any user-identifying information, using third-party storage services, such as S3 and Google Cloud Platform,” you can read in the document.
In the past, Apple has mentioned Microsoft Azure in its partners. The wording of the document isn’t really clear. Apple could be using more storage services without naming them directly.
In all cases, this is a great example of asymmetric competition. While Apple and Google are fighting really hard to grab market share of the smartphone market, Apple is also Google’s client. Apple also competes with Amazon and Microsoft in other areas. So Apple would need to step up its cloud hosting game to cut ties with its competitors altogether.