The whole thing sounds very mysterious, but leaves a bad feeling in the stomach area. iPhone users are currently reporting in a forum about video problems in conjunction with the iCloud software for Windows.
This is officially from Apple and is there, among other things, to synchronize photos and videos taken with the iPhone via the Apple cloud with Windows.
Affected users have various iPhone Pro models in use and get videos via the Apple software on Windows. After the explicit download under Windows 10 or 11, however, the clips are said to break, and when they try to play them, they supposedly only show a black screen.
So far so unspectacular – a bug that can occur every day between cloud offers and users. But it goes even further: According to the users, third-party photos are sometimes displayed that are supposed to show football games or family celebrations with unknown people. It is speculated here that the
Pictures from other iCloud users
could come from and somehow end up in the wrong photo area.
Issue reported to Apple
If the speculations come true, it would not only be a disaster for users, but also a bitter pill for Apple, because who trusts cloud storage that lets photos slip into the wrong hands?
But so far there is no clarification of the facts. However, users have already reported the problem to Apple along with instructions on how to correct it:
- Record video on iPhone 13/14 Pro with HDR and HEVC turned on.
- Sync to a Windows PC running Windows 10 or 11 via iCloud for Windows.
- Download the video to the PC by right-clicking in Explorer.
- The downloaded video is then either broken and only shows a black image, or it shows an unknown photo that may have come from another iCloud user. Here the result seems to vary from case to case.
That’s what Apple says about the problem
There is at least one statement from the Apple security team about the problem described. This was received by a user who reported the problem.
The Apple experts do not classify the situation described as a security problem, but rather as a bug that needs to be dealt with elsewhere.
You can see it that way, but you don’t have to. Especially when videos not only break, but random photos appear on your own system, you should also take individual user reports seriously and look at them.
We asked Apple for a statement on the subject and will provide it here if the company comments.
Call for end-to-end encryption
We were not able to reproduce the problem described here. Videos do not break when synced to Windows, nor do foreign images appear. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem at all.
Finally, an affected user even provides a video in which he downloads a short clip from the iPhone to Windows, which then shows the described black image after the download. He also provides a screenshot of a thumbnail that shouldn’t be from his photo library.
There are now a few other people who are affected who confirm the problem, but it doesn’t seem to be happening across the board yet. Nevertheless, Apple should take a close look at this, especially if any strange images suddenly appear.
The current discussion is also rekindling the call for end-to-end encryption. For example, Apple does not have this for photos and videos, but for passwords or payment data in the iCloud.