Everyone is using Cloud. Every mobile operating system out there now comes built in with some form of Cloud integration. For Apple users its the iCloud and for Android users its Google’s Auto Backup. There are some other popular cloud file hosting services like Dropbox which uses similar features to keep your data backed up.
But it is not always recommened to keep your data uploaded on the Cloud. No matter how much a company assures you that the data you upload is safe, there will always exist new exploits for those servers and services which might say otherwise.
Hence it is advisable to keep your sensitive data backed up Offline as either hard copies (printouts) or copied to a Physical disk like CD/DVD/Flash Drive or Hard Disk Drives.
You might not even realize that the operating system you are using is automatically making backups of your files online on their servers. Although they are encrypted, it doesn’t take long to crack them if you know the correct credentials (or have a lot of time).
Apple for example encourages you to use their iCloud service which keeps your data backed up and synced across all your Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac etc).
Disable Auto Upload to iCloud from Apple devices.
Apple’s iOS has a feature called Photostream that lets you backup your Photos online. with the advent of iOS7, you can also upload videos (but manually). This feature will automatically make a backup of your snaps online in your iCloud account. Here is how you can disable it.
Step 1. Open Settings > iCloud.
Step 2. “Turn Off” Photostream & on iOS 7 go to Photos then “Turn off” My Photo Stream & Photo Sharing.
Step 3. Turn Off any other options too that you don’t want to be Auto uploaded to iCloud, such as Documents & Notes.
Step 1. Open System Preferences > iCloud.
Step 2. Sign in with your Apple ID and Password if asked, then select Options > Next > Done.
Step 3. Uncheck Photos & check if My Photo Stream is unchecked too by clicking on the Options button next to Photos.
Deleting existing Photos from your iCloud.
When you turn off the Photostream on all your linked Apple devices, then all your Automatically uploaded photos are deleted. But your manually shared Photostreams will still be up on the iCloud.
Apple’s Support page tells you how to do it : iCloud : Delete photos from My Photo Stream.
That is how you disable auto upload of Photos and Documents to iCloud on Apple devices.
Disable Auto Backup by Google.
Most people are not aware of this feature. Google Sync takes care of your important data like Calendar and Contacts by backing them up on to your Google account. But there exists another Google App which come pre-installed on some Androids that backs up your Photos and Videos as well.
It is the Google+ App. This is how you disable auto upload of files to Google+.
Turn Off Auto Backup of Photos & Videos on Google+ App.
Remember: The photos that the app uploads to your Google+ profile are set to private.
Step 1. Open Google+ App > Settings (the 3 dot icon).
Step 2. Open Auto Backup option.
Step 3. Switch the Toggle Off.
Deleting automatically uploaded Photos and Videos from Google+.
Although the photos are set to private you may still want to delete them. Here is how to do it.
Step 1. Open the Photos App that accompanies Google+ App.
Step 2. In the search bar, type “#AutoBackup” or “autobackup” [both without the quotes].
Step 3. It will show you all (if any) photos that have been backed up to your account.
Step 4. Press and hold on any Photo then start selecting all and tap the Trash icon to delete them all
The photos will be deleted from your cloud account but will still exist on your device.
That is how you disable auto backup of photos and videos to Google+.
Disable Automatic Camera Upload to Dropbox.
Dropbox’s mobile app has a feature that will automatically upload all your Camera photos and videos to your Dropbox account. For backup purposes. This can be disabled easily.
Step 1. Open the Dropbox app on your mobile.
Step 2. Open the settings > Under Camera Upload section, click on “Turn off Camera Upload”.
Deleting automatically uploaded Photos and Videos from Dropbox.
The files are not deleted when you turn off the camera upload. You need to manually delete them from the account. To do that follow this:
Step 1. Login to your Dropbox account. (This will be more easier on a PC)
Step 2. Open the Camera Uploads folder and delete all the unwanted stuff.
Step 3. Open the Photos tab to view all your uploaded Photos and delete the unwanted ones.
Permanently deleting files from Dropbox.
When you delete a file on Dropbox, it is not permanently deleted by default. Dropbox keeps a snapshot of every change in your account for the past 30 days. So your photos won’t be permanently deleted for the next 30 days unless you manually purge them. To do that:
Step 1. Go back to Dropbox home.
Step 2. Click on the Trash Bin icon to “Show deleted files”.
Step 3. This will display all your deleted files in their original folders with a grayed out effect.
Step 4. Select all of them and right click > Permanently delete.
Now they are gone and that is how you disable auto uploads to Dropbox.
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