There is a convenience associated with iCloud or any cloud based storage service that stores your data. We’ve become increasingly reliant on our smartphones. They are home to our important documents, spreadsheets, personal information, contacts and photos. The iPhone has long been a replacement for point and shoot cameras, with quality now approaching the quality found on a DSLR. In most instances, the iPhone is more adept at backing up data, thanks in part to iCloud. Once activated, the process is seamless, provided you have enough storage available. That problem is likely to be solved with the forthcoming pricing changes when iOS 8 releases this month. While your data is password protected, there is a big difference in the levels of protection, something we plan to touch on in a future article. Even so, recent news of celebrity hacking has folks concerned, fed-up and looking for the nuclear option. If you decide the cloud isn’t for you, you can certainly go back to syncing photos to your Mac or PC. Here’s how to delete your photos from iCloud.

allow add to photo stream

how to delete your photos from iCloud

How to turn off iCloud Photo Library, Photo Sharing

To completely turn off sharing of images to your iCloud Photo Library, follow these easy steps:

  • Navigate to Settings > iCloud
  • Tap on ‘Photos’.
  • Toggle the switch for iCloud Photo Library to the off position (white)
  • Toggle the switch for My Photo Stream to the off position (white)
  • Toggle the switch for Upload Burst Photos to the off position (white)
  • Toggle the switch for iCloud Photo Sharing to the off position (white)

Toggle iCloud photos off

If you have multiple iOS devices or a Mac, you must repeat the same process. The offshoot of making these changes is that you’ll no longer have your photos seamlessly syncing between devices. iCloud Photo Sharing also offers private sharing with friends and family, one of the best features of iCloud. You will however be on step closer to removing your images from iCloud.

Turn off iCloud Photos on Mac

If you are a Mac user, follow these steps which differ slightly.

  1. Navigate to Settings > iCloud.
  2. Uncheck the box next to ‘Photos’. Your Mac will advise that photos which have not been imported, will be deleted. Again, make sure you have taken the proper steps to backup your data, easily accomplished by syncing your iOS device with your computer.

Turn off iCloud photos Mac

The next step is also important to complete the process.

How to delete iCloud backup

If you were using iCloud as a backup, some hackers have software which is able to extract photos from an iCloud backup. You’ll want to follow these steps to delete your iCloud backups. Note: Any information you had backed up to iCloud will be deleted. I’d encourage you to be sure you have a complete backup on your computer. You do not want to have your iOS device as the only data source. Backups still remain critical, even if leaving iCloud.

How to delete iCloud backup

  1. Navigate to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage
  2. Tap on your iOS device listed. Here you’ll find the latest backup and size.
  3. Tap on ‘Delete Backup’.

What we’ve done here is advise you to do the following:

  • A complete backup to a local device – your Mac or PC.
  • Disable iCloud on your iOS devices and Mac.
  • Delete all associated iCloud backups.

The recent privacy concerns raised by the hacking of celebrity accounts are valid. However, it still remains unclear as to how they’ve managed to access these accounts. While iCloud has been the focus of many headlines, this could’ve happen to any cloud-based account. Right now, there are two many unknowns to make a credible assessment.

These were also specifically targeted by experienced hackers, who often pursue high profile targets. I should point out that extraordinary efforts were made over the span of months to access this data. With any major technology decision, I’d recommend you weigh all of your options. There are options for safeguarding your iCloud data, which we’ll cover in an upcoming article. Third party password programs, two factor authentication and strong passwords are great options for securing your data. If you decide to forgo the cloud, following the steps outlined above will delete your iCloud photos.

Are recent celebrity hacks causing you to think differently about storing photos and private data in the cloud? What steps have you taken to protect your data?