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What happens if I use iCloud in China?

Apple says it is following the law and it's up to you whether to keep using the service

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

A state-run Chinese company takes over hosting Apple’s iCloud data in the country in February. Here’s what you need to know.

Does it affect you?

First, this only applies to users with iCloud accounts registered in mainland China. If you own one, Apple should have notified you about the changes back in January.

How will it affect my data?

If you’re affected, you shouldn’t notice much of a change. All your data should behave exactly as it did before. If anything, Apple claims it may be faster and more reliable to host data closer to users.

Who can access my data?

Nobody knows yet. Apple made the move to comply with China’s cybersecurity law. Critics worry the company could be forced to share user data with authorities. Apple insists data hosted in China on iCloud is protected, with no backdoor access.

What if I'm not comfortable with this?

Apple says you can decide for yourself… but you’ll have to leave iCloud. That means no more automatic device backups. You’ll also need to find a new service to sync your photos across all devices -- and remember, you can’t use Google Photos in China either. Same with your music, contacts and calendar.

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.