Does the thought of your Apple device scanning your iCloud Photos for illegal content make you uneasy? Good news, there are services available that offer true end-to-end encryption. Here are four of them that I have personally used.

What I like about Cryptee is the fact that it offers more than just photo storage. It can also replace Apple Notes, iCloud Drive, and even Apple Books. Based in Estonia, this company makes its source code available for all to peruse, so you know they won’t add something…sneaky.


What I like about Cryptomator is that it offers client-side end-to-end encryption for your content. You create a secure vault with the app then store that vault in a cloud service or offline on a hard drive. It gives you the convenience of cloud storage but the knowledge that the cloud company can’t scan your files.


NextCloud is the service that I tried out just to see what it’s about, but I haven’t used it since. It’s certainly not a bad service; it’s a self-hosted platform where you either set up on your own NAS, or buy cloud storage from a third-party company.


Lastly, you can always used good-old-fashioned offline storage using a flash drive or hard drive. You can buy special flash drives or charging hubs for your iPhone that can automatically back up your photos, or just a plain drive that plugs into your iPad or Mac. One method to collect your photos for exporting out of the Photos app is a shortcut I built. It lets you grab all of your photos inside one album at a time, then sticks them in a ZIP file and asks where you want to send that file.

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Andrew: have you considered cubbit ( which seems to have an interesting take on distributed online storage? I use their device, but otherwise am unaffiliated.

Lee Dronick

Does the thought of your Apple device scanning your iCloud Photos for illegal content make you uneasy?”

No, but I can see how could be abused by an authoritative government.


In fact, the thought of Apple (or anyone else) scanning my photos (or other information) destined for anywhere, on my device (i.e. pre upload) without my permission does cause me concern; The though of Apple scanning my unencrypted data on icloud does not; once I put something on Apple’s server, for which they may be liable, they should scan.