Apple announced yesterday that users living in China will have their iCloud data migrated to a local server under the periphery of Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD). This move was marked as controversial given that GCBD is owned by the Guizhou provincial government. The general consensus is that any Chinese government is notoriously lax when it comes to user privacy laws.
New revelations on social media now reveal that Apple is also including iCloud accounts that were opened in the U.S. and/or paid for with U.S. dollars in this migration. Apple had given users the option to delete all their data if they wanted to opt out of the Chinese migration. However, the company offered no provisions to move the data elsewhere.
This has angered a lot of users, as it basically means that if you’re just working or temporarily living in China, you will have to adhere to these new rules to keep your iCloud accounts running.
Security analysts have questioned Apple’s move and have also talked about a possible softening of its stance against the Chinese government, which is known for its censorship laws. Although iCloud data is encrypted, it’s not far fetched to assume that backdoor access to the data will be requested by the local government.
STRANGE: my US Apple ID also got the China iCloud Transfer mail… 🤨 pic.twitter.com/MZvjsbPiYL
— 王博源 Wang Boyuan (@thisboyuan) January 11, 2018
The good news is that there appear to be some workarounds for this forced migration of iCloud data. Users simply have to switch their region to China and sign out from all other devices. The user will then have to change the phone and iCloud settings to the U.S. After this, you simply have to sign in to iCloud and will find that it’s not part of the migration. These are user suggested workarounds and might not work for long. But if you’re living in China and don’t want to be involved in this migration, this is possibly your best bet right now.
Have you faced these issues? Let us know in the comments below.