Over 8 Million Terabytes of iCloud Data is on Google Servers

When you save something to iCloud where do you assume that data is being stored? Like me, you probably think it is being stored in an Apple data center somewhere. Well, guess what you'd be wrong. It is most likely being stored somewhere in a Google, Amazon, or Microsoft data center.

According to MacRumors:

Apple has dramatically increased the amount of iCloud user data it stores on Google Cloud, according to The Information.

The report claims Apple now has over eight million terabytes of data stored on Google’s servers. As of mid-May, Apple was reportedly on track to spend around $300 million on Google cloud storage services this year, which would represent an increase of roughly 50% from all of 2020. Apple is said to be the largest corporate client for Google Cloud, dwarfing other high-profile customers like Spotify.

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Apple relies on a combination of its own data centers and third-party cloud storage services, such as Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, to store iCloud user data like photos and messages. Apple does not provide third-party cloud storage providers with the keys to decrypt user data stored on their servers, ensuring a strong level of security.

The report speculates that Apple’s increased use of Google Cloud suggests the company’s rising cloud storage requirements have outpaced its ability to develop and operate its own data centers needed to handle the resulting data.

As I previously wrote when CNBC first reported that Apple was relying on Google's cloud for iCloud data storage :

I’m not sure how I feel about that. I started avoiding Google services several years ago. I left Gmail for Fastmail. I moved my calendars and contacts from Google to Apple Calendar and Contacts. Now I find out that Apple is storing my data on Google servers.

One would wonder why Apple doesn't have more of its own data centers? As pointed out by Roberto Santocho on Quora "Apple does have their own datacenters just about everywhere. Apple’s customer base has been growing so much every year that Apple cannot build their datacenters fast enough to service all the new customers. Keep in mind that Apple datacenters are 100% Green and run on clean renewable power so they take a lot longer to build than ordinary datacenters. So in the short term, until all the new green datacenters are completed, Apple rents capacity from Google and Amazon to keep up with demand."