Shared iCloud accounts and Remote Erase
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: My girlfriend and I use the same iCloud account. Can she use the Find My iPhone service to erase everything on my phone?
A: Assuming that she knows the password to the shared iCloud account, then the short answer is yes. Basically, anybody with your iCloud account name and password can log into the Find My iPhone feature at iCloud.com or use the Find My iPhone iOS app and access the same features that you can; since it’s all one Apple ID, there is no way of knowing who is actually logged in with a shared account. See Using a single iCloud account for Find My iPhone for more information.
Further, while you could restore an erased iPhone from an iCloud backup—assuming you’re backing up your iPhone to iCloud in the first place—anybody with your iCloud Apple ID and password can also easily erase your old iCloud backups as well. This would normally have to be done deliberately, but again anybody with your iCloud password can basically do anything in your iCloud account that you can.
If this is a concern for you, then it’s probably a good idea to not share an iCloud account—at least not for features such as Find My iPhone or iCloud backups. Subject to a few limitations, you can actually configure multiple iCloud accounts on a single iOS device, and it’s also important to keep in mind that your iCloud account does not have to be the same as the account you use to purchase apps and media from the iTunes Store. So you could easily continue sharing a single iTunes Store account to keep your purchases consolidated while using separate accounts for iCloud. See Sharing iTunes & iCloud Accounts in a Family and Separating family iTunes and iCloud accounts for more information.
Further, it’s generally a good idea to use separate iCloud accounts to backup each of your iPhones; since each iCloud account gets its own 5GB of free storage, you effectively get twice as much this way and don’t need to worry about one of you using up all of the backup space should your backups grow too large.
Keep in mind that on a given iOS device, the Photo Stream, Documents & Data, and Storage & Backup features can only be enabled on the primary iCloud account, and Find My iPhone and Bookmarks can only be enabled on one iCloud account, although it doesn’t necessarily need to be the primary one. On a Mac, however, the Bookmarks and Find My Mac features can only be enabled on the primary iCloud account.
Other iCloud features such as Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, and Notes can be enabled on multiple iCloud accounts at the same time, and this can be a handy way to maintain a shared address book, since unlike Calendars, iCloud doesn’t provide any way to share contact groups between multiple users.
In the very least, you can easily create a second iCloud Apple ID and simply enable the Find My iPhone feature there to isolate it from the shared iCloud account, which would limit the ability for anybody else sharing that account to remotely erase your iPhone. As noted above, however, there may be other reasons to separate your iCloud accounts, so it’s worth looking at what information you’re sharing and deciding how to best proceed from there.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Third-party screen repairs no longer void iPhone warranty
- iDevices adds dynamic automation, enhanced scheduling to ‘Connected’ app for HomeKit
- Apple reports that iOS 10.2.1 significantly reduces unexpected iPhone 6s shutdown issues
- Mobiata announces sunset of FlightTrack 5 and FlightBoard apps
- Harman announces first Wireless CarPlay implementation
- Report: Apple still considering several possible wireless charging solutions for ‘iPhone 8’
- Mini Metro adds Endless Mode
- Apple issues statement opposing Trump administration’s rescission of transgender rights
- ResearchKit study conducted using Apple Watch reveals new insights into seizures
- Instagram adds ability to include up to 10 photos or videos in a single post
- PureGear PureSwitch HomeKit-enabled Wireless Smart Plug
- 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones
- Revogi Smart Lightbulb, Smart Lightstrip, Smart Candle + Smart Meter Plug
- Audeze iSine10 In-Ear Headphones
- MOCACARE MOCACuff Connected Blood Pressure Monitor
- Apple AirPods
- Elgato Eve Motion
- Olloclip Core Lens Set for iPhone 7/7 Plus
- Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack
- Elgato Eve Light Switch
- Top Five: The Best Products for Building a Smart Home with HomeKit
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of watchOS 3
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 10
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 10
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10