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Users claim that iCloud for Windows is showing photos from strangers in their library
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Quote:iCloud for Windows reportedly has some major problems. Some users have alleged that the app is showing photos from strangers in their library.

[Image: Users-claim-that-iCloud-for-Windows-is-s...ibrary.jpg]

iCloud for Windows is displaying images from random people

A report by MacRumors mentions that a user from its community forums had discovered that they were unable to play videos recorded with their iPhone 14 Pro Max after downloading them to their PC. The user could access the media on their Mac, another Apple device, and via iCloud.com without any issues. But, when they tried syncing it to their computer with iCloud for Windows, the downloaded media was not playable, it ended up with a black screen with scan lines, i.e, the videos were corrupted.

In what seems to be a rather bizarre twist to an unusual problem, the video was not only playable, but also displayed an image (likely a thumbnail) from sources they didn't know. The user went on to explain that the issue only occurred with videos that were recorded with the HDR and HEVC setting enabled in their iPhone 14 Pro Max's camera. They weren't the only one facing this issue, other users with an iPhone 13 Pro reported a similar incident.

The bigger of the two issues is that the iCloud for Windows app seems to be picking up images from strangers. Can you imagine how it would be if you see photos taken by someone appears in your library randomly? And what about the photos that you take on your iPhone? Your pictures could end up with a random person, that is pretty creepy.

One user at the community forums speculated that the person could have downloaded a video belonging to someone else. The downloaded media may have been encrypted, which is why they couldn't play the video, since they don't have the decryption key for it. They also suggested that the thumbnail displayed in the folder may not have been encrypted, and that's the reason why the person could access it. That makes sense, doesn't it?  If true, this could mean that the thumbnails of images and videos uploaded to the cloud are not end-to-end encrypted. That could be a serious privacy issue.

Could this problem actually have something to do with the recent iCloud Photos integration in the Windows 11 Photos app? That seems unlikely, because the user says that they were able to replicate the issue on both Windows 10 and Windows 11. Since photos from other iPhone users are showing up in the iCloud library, this is likely an Apple related issue, maybe something related to the authentication on its servers, which in turn affects the syncing process on Windows PCs. 9to5Mac suggests that this bug could be due to a rendering issue in the iCloud app for certain file types.

Apple Insider also received similar reports about the issue. I haven't experienced such problems with media from my Macbook and iPad. It does seem scary, and not just in terms of privacy. If the videos are corrupted and synced to the cloud, you could lose access to the original videos. This is why it is better to rely on good old local backups.

This news comes in the wake of allegations that Apple is able to identify what users are accessing on its App Store via telemetry (analytics).

Have you experienced a similar issue with your iPhone and Windows PC?
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