Apple uses Google’s public cloud to store data across its various iCloud services, the company revealed on a webpage updated last month.
The update to the iOS Security Guide was first spotted by CNBC and disclosed in a report published Monday. It’s Apple’s first official confirmation that it relies on the Google Cloud platform for its data storage needs.
Rumors that Apple has been using Google’s cloud first surfaced in 2016, but the Cupertino tech giant has never publicly acknowledged that fact — until last month, that is. Previously, the iOS Security Guide stated that Apple used Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure for its remote data storage needs.
Notably, while Amazon Web Services is still listed as a storage solution, any reference to Azure has been removed. That could suggest Apple is no longer using the Microsoft cloud platform.
The updated iOS Security Guide doesn’t disclose when Apple began to use Google’s cloud infrastructure. In addition, it’s unclear whether Apple uses Google platforms for anything other than “core storage” of objects like photos and videos, CNBC reported.
iCloud data stored in Google’s cloud might include photos and videos, documents, data, calendars and contacts, but Apple maintains that Google is unable to access any of the information.
“Each file is broken into chunks and encrypted by iCloud using AES-128 and a key derived from each chunk’s contents that utilizes SHA-256,” the iOS Security Guide states. “The keys and the file’s metadata are stored by Apple in the user’s iCloud account.”
The firm added that those encrypted chunks of data are stored without any user-identifying information on third-party services, including Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Platform.
In other words, true to Apple’s commitment to user privacy, those third-party services would only be able to see random bits of meaningless data. Amazon and Google can’t see which iCloud user the data is tied to.
Google’s public cloud and G Suite lineup of apps rake in about $1 billion of revenue for the firm, CNBC reported. Along with Apple, some other companies that use the Google Cloud platform include popular services such as Paypal, Snapchat and Spotify.