If you have an iPhone, and your friends mostly have iPhones, you probably use Apple’s Messages app to communicate with them. That’s the nature of things. And aside from the platform’s convenience and ubiquity, one of the iMessage platform’s selling points is that its end-to-end encryption should theoretically ensure that only you and those you text can read your conversations. However, that might not be the case: Apple can likely access the messages for many, many iMessage users, even with end-to-end encryption in place.
How you back up your messages matters
So yes, your texts are encrypted as sent and received. But few of us delete every text as it comes in; we keep them around in case we want to revisit them later, which means we need to back them up somehow. And as it turns out, how you back up your messages might mean the difference between having an truly secure iMessage history, and giving Apple the key to unlock all your conversations.
iCloud Backup is not a secure method for saving your messages
Here’s the tricky thing; Messages in iCloud is end-to-end encrypted, just as you’d expect—that’s why there’s no way to access your messages on the web, such as by logging in to icloud.com. There’s one big problem, though: your iCloud Backup isn’t end-to-end encrypted—and Apple stores the key to unlock your encrypted messages within that backup.
It’s not just your messages; besides Keychain, Screen Time, and Health data, Apple has the key to decrypt all of your iCloud data