Apple Can Still See Your iMessages If You Enable iCloud

Apple has taken a strong stance on privacy ever since the FBI began loudly demanding encryption backdoors into its products. The company’s statements about its iMessage service seem plain as day: Apple can’t read messages sent between Apple devices because they’re encrypted end-to-end, decipherable only by you and the intended recipient.

“If the government laid a subpoena to get iMessages, we can’t provide it,” CEO Tim Cook told Charlie Rose back in 2014. “It’s encrypted and we don’t have a key.”

But there’s always been a large and often-overlooked asterisk in that statement, and its name is iCloud.

It turns out the privacy benefits Apple likes to talk about (and the FBI likes to complain about) basically disappear when iCloud Backup is enabled. Your messages, photos and whatnot are still protected while on your device and encrypted end-to-end while in transit. But you’re also telling your device to CC Apple on everything. Those copies are encrypted on iCloud using a key controlled by Apple, not you, allowing the company (and thus anyone who gets access to your account) to see their contents.

Apple’s Privacy page makes a minor acknowledgement of this, saying “we do back up iMessage and SMS messages for your convenience using iCloud Backup,” but reassuring that “you can turn it off whenever you want.”

To its credit, Apple does present this as a choice rather than making it a default setting. It’s also possible to do encrypted non-cloud backups locally through iTunes. But while security experts and journalists know to avoid iCloud like the plague, the ramifications of that choice aren’t always so obvious to average users.

Apple asks you to set up iCloud pretty much the minute you activate a new iPhone or iPad. But it doesn’t make super-clear that by doing so, your otherwise “unreadable” iMessages and other data become very much readable to Apple and anyone else who comes knocking–whether that’s law enforcement officers with a subpoena or hackers searching for nude selfies.

The company also doesn’t offer a way to locally encrypt iCloud backups (using a combination of your Apple login and device passcode, for example) which would allow Apple to store your data on its servers but not access it. Ideally that would be at least an option, but right now it’s all or nothing. (The one exception is your password keychain, which is protected by a master password that Apple does not possess.)

So it’s true that Apple can’t access your messages. But only if you know to avoid a feature that it encourages its customers to use.

This crucial fact is rarely noted in articles about end-to-end encryption apps. A recent primer in Wired lists iMessage next to trusted alternatives like Signal, but doesn’t mention the iCloud quirk at all. Other reports on iMessage encryption have only included it as a footnote while focusing on other important shortcomings, like users’ inability to verify message fingerprints and make sure they’re not being targeted by aman-in-the-middle attack.

Admittedly, it’s hard to know the true scope of how users are affected. The most recent estimate from software consulting firm Asymco shows there were 500 million iCloud users in March of 2014. That number was 300 million when last reported by Apple a year earlier, and it’s safe to assume it’s only grown since.

But it’s not clear how many of those people actually use iCloud Backups. I tried reaching out to Apple, but no one could tell me what percentage of users have activated the feature. Likely complicating that answer even further is the fact that not all users backup regularly.

The company also couldn’t say why it doesn’t give users the option of storing cloud backups that are encrypted locally, but it’s a good bet the answer has to do with convenience; if such backups were allowed, it would mean Apple couldn’t help users who forgot the passcode to decrypt their data.

For many users, Apple’s encryption offerings are still more than enough. But if you don’t want Apple to be capable of accessing your data, the solution remains the same: Backup locally through iTunes, turn off iCloud and never look back.

How to Enable AirPlay on Windows PC for Wireless Streaming Audio & Video from IPhone 6, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 .


While Apple officially supports Mac and iOS devices including iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as AirPlay sender, the receiver devices consist of Apple TV or AirPort Express. So, what if you want to set Mac or Windows as AirPlay receiver to stream video or audio content from iPhone or iPad. Here are some tools for setting your Windows PC as AirPlay receiver.

1. AirMedia Player (Video)

Air Media Player is a standalone tool that lets you wirelessly stream video content from iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to Windows PC. It is basically an AirPlay media player that emulates and acts as AirPlay receiver to accept video streams from iOS devices. Once after downloading and launching the media player on Windows PC you will see AirPlay enabled on iOS apps that supports it. Select your Windows PC that acts as AirPlay receiver (output source) to wirelessly stream video from iOS device.

Air Media Player to work on Windows requires .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, Bonjour for Windows (Included with iTunes, or you can download the Bonjour Print Services) and QuickTime for Windows. This tool works on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7-8.1.

First link to Download AirMedia Player 

Second link to Download AirMedia Player

AirPlay iOS Receivers

AirPlay iOS

2. Shairport4w (Audio)

Shairport4w for Windows lets you wirelessly stream audio from iOS devices. Like Air Media Player mentioned above Shairport4w can stream audio content alone from iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Install Shairport4w on Windows PC, add a network name to set and let it run in background. Now you will see AirPlay button when you launch Music app in iOS. Hit AirPlay button to choose your Windows PC that acts as AirPlay receiver edmulating Apple Airport Express hardware.

Shairport4w to work requires Apple Bonjour which is already available if you have installed iTunes. Otherwise download the Bonjour Print Services for Windows OS. Shareport4w tool supports Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, Windows 8.

Download Shareport4w

Shareport4w UI

AirPlay Audio Streaming


So thats all for now.

And don’t forget you can always get best AirPlay devices deal from our iRumors store.

The Qwerkywriter is an old school typewriter for your iPad and iMac.


Are you the kind of nostalgic soul who looks back at the Underwood, Remington, and Smith-Corona typewriters of yesteryear and sigh plaintively? Yet are you simultaneously a modern tech nerd, who couldn’t go without the conveniences afforded by an iPad or iMac? Well, then, the Qwerkywriter — an 84-key keyboard that looks just like a vintage typewriter — might be just the thing for you.

Now on Kickstarter, the Qwerkywriter is essentially a mechanical switch keyboard, like the Das Keyboard. This style of keyboard makes keys feel more tangible when pressed, and is notorious for withstanding all the abuse a writer can throw at it.

What makes the Qwerkywriter more than just a mechanical switch keyboard is that the key caps have been replaced with old typewriter keys, while the casing has been modeled to look just like an old analog typewriter, circa 1920.

This little design conceit also allows you to balance an iPad in what would otherwise be the Qwerkywriter’s paper feeder. And since the Qwerkywriter is Bluetooth enabled, it can work just as well as an iPad keyboard as it can a way of banging text into your iMac or MacBook.

A beautiful throwback design, the Qwerkywriter is now available for preorder. But there’s bad news: not only is the Qwerkywriter expensive at $289 each, but they won’t start shipping until August 2015.

Grovemade’s beautiful bendy wood-and-wool cases.

Grovemade’s beautiful bendy wood-and-wool cases

These new flexible wooden sleeves from Grovemade are amazing. Look at them. Just look.

They’re made from veneers of maple or walnut, lined with felted wool and have leather and brass straps to pull out the MacBook or iPad within in one easy yank.

The best part is that the case is made from wood, yet flexes as if it were plastic. This is thanks to the laser-etched sections, cut geometrically to allow it to bend at these joints.
Grovemade’s beautiful bendy wood-and-wool cases
Inside, protecting the iPad or MacBook as well as giving something for the wood to stick to, is a layer of felted wool. And that leather strap actually runs inside the case so that you can pull it to eject the device inside.

Here’s the price list: $79 for the iPad Mini, $89 for the iPad Air, and $99 for the 13” MacBook Air.

Not bad, considering the quality materials and the rather fancy design. I’d totally put my MacBook in one of these. As for the iPad, I find the wake/sleep of the Smart Cover too convenient to use a sleeve case, but that’s just me.

Available now.

Mobile Home button controls Siri from afar, in a car.

Mobile Home button controls Siri from afar, in a car

The Mobile Home is a one-thing-well kind of product. It connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth and lets you trigger Siri remotely. Which brings me to that excellent name – this is literally a mobile home button.

Why? Cars. The idea is that you can mount your iPhone up on the dash or wherever, and put the Mobile Home somewhere convenient, like on your steering wheel or up on the sun visor, using the included velcro pads or visor clip.

It’s a clever idea, I guess, but if you’re going to spend $79 (yes, $79) on a button to control Siri, why not just mount your iPhone on a sturdy dash or wheel mount and use the real home button? After all, the iPhone is pretty mobile already.

Credit card-size iPhone charger packs backup battery.

Credit card-size iPhone charger packs backup battery

Remember when the coolest brag for a gadget was that it was “credit card size”? Those times are back. The Revi Charger is a credit card-size iPhone charger with a built-in backup battery, and could really be just the thing in an emergency. 

The Revi comes in two sizes. The 2.4mm 550mAh model is the slimmest, but will only provide a third of a charge to an iPhone, or thereabouts. The 1440mAh version is 7mm thick, which is still totally pocketable, and gives closer to a full charge.

Both models come with either Lightning or Micro-USB, which is attached by a clever, flexible, snaking cable on the top edge.

Prices? $25 or $30, depending on capacity and size.

Source: Cult of Mac.

Jimi, The J-Shaped USB Extender For iMacs.

Jimi, The J-Shaped USB Extender For iMacs
It’s hard to come up with a reason you wouldn’t buy the Jimi, a little dongle that plays the hell out of your iMac, then smashes it all over the stage and sets fire to it, all while continuing to kindle sweet electric guitar music from its dying body.

Wait, that’s not the same Jimi? The Bluelounge Jimi is a little j-shaped USB extension that lets you plug your peripherals into your iMac from the front? That sounds pretty cool.

The Jimi works with either of the latest-model slimline iMacs, bending to fit in any USB port on the back (apart from the rightmost port of the 27-inch version) and then carrying its sweet electronic USB-receiving potential round to the front, where you can easily jam in any USB accessory of your choice.

Here’s my messy setup that achieves the same thing.

Jimi, The J-Shaped USB Extender For iMacs

It’s a regular USB extension cable, stuck to the flat side of my last-gen iMac with a sticky pad, leftover from the zillions of gadgets I review. It works just great, but if I was going to buy something, I’d look at the Jimi first. It’s less messy, and only costs $15.

Thank: Kaitlin!