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Apple's iCloud Backups Expire After 180 Days Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

15 June 2020

Adam Engst was alerted to Apple's unusual iCloud backup deletion policy by a reader. After six months, the iCloud backup of your device is deleted.

Engst explored the issue in a recent piece in TidBITS titled Beware! iCloud Backups Deleted After 180 Days.

Engst found that, while the company explains the policy in little-read documents like the iCloud User Guide and iCloud's terms and conditions, it doesn't bring attention to it in more obvious places like the screen where you enable iCloud backups.

That riled him:

Deleting a user's one and only backup, particularly without clear documentation in the user interface and express warning of the pending deletion, is simply unacceptable.

The policy goes back to at least 2014 and perhaps earlier.

He suggests Apple send an email notification prior to the deletion so you can either retrieve your data or make another backup to restart the deletion clock. And that email, he adds, should have a button to click to override the automatic deletion, giving you time to get hold of it.

Apple is far from generous in providing free cloud storage so you can easily end up buying more capacity for things like backups. Engst says his backup consumes over 67-GB.

The alternatives, as Engst points out, are to backup to your computer, which is what we do. iTunes has been the traditional way but in Catalina, you'll have to use Finder.

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