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How to secure and move files between iCloud and OneDrive

Many professionals, including consultants and freelancers, must often work with both Apple iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive cloud services. See how to securely transfer files between the two platforms.

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If you use an iPad or Mac at work or own an iPhone, chances are you’ve needed to use both Apple iCloud and Microsoft OneDrive. These popular cloud-based file storage platforms simplify the process of storing, backing up and sharing files. They also simplify transferring files between networks (such as personal iCloud and business OneDrive accounts). Now more than ever, it’s important to ensure any such files and their transfers are secure. A few best practices can help keep your iCloud and OneDrive files secure.

SEE: iCloud vs. OneDrive: Which is best for Mac, iPad and iPhone users? (TecRepublic)

First, set a secure and complex password (consisting of 12 or more upper- and lowercase letters, numerals and symbols) on your Mac. You can set a Mac password by opening System Preferences (just click the Apple icon within the Mac’s title bar and select that option), clicking Users & Groups, choosing your username and clicking the Change Password button. Finish by following the prompts macOS provides.

You can also change an existing Mac password, including to make the password more complex. To change a Mac password, open System Preferences, click Security & Privacy and select the Change Password button.

SEE: How Apple users can make the most of Microsoft 365 at work (TechRepublic Premium)

On contemporary iPhones and iPads, set a secure passcode and configure the device to erase data after 10 failed passcode attempts. To set or change an iPhone or iPad passcode, tap Settings, select Face ID & Passcode and tap Turn Passcode On. To configure an iPhone or iPad to erase its data after 10 failed passcode attempts, enable the Erase Data radio button within the same Face ID & Passcode menu, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Setting iPads and iPhones to erase data after 10 failed passcode attempts.
Setting iPads and iPhones to erase data after 10 failed passcode attempts helps protect information from unauthorized access in the event a device is lost or stolen.

Second, encrypt a Mac (if you’re using one). Enable FileVault to help prevent unauthorized users from accessing the Mac’s data, including local files also stored within iCloud and OneDrive. Enable FileVault by opening System Preferences, clicking Security & Privacy and clicking the FileVault tab. Click the Turn On FileVault button, which instructs macOS to encrypt the Mac’s file system.

Note the additional step macOS typically requires when working with System Preferences. You will need to enter a username and password possessing Administrator permissions to configure system changes.

SEE: Best password managers for Mac and iOS (TechRepublic)

As for encrypting iPhones and iPads, basic encryption is enabled when the passcode is set. So, by setting the passcode on Apple’s mobile devices, the step occurs automatically. You can confirm iPhone and iPad data protection status by returning to the Face ID & Passcode menu and scrolling to the bottom, where you should read “Data protection is enabled,” as shown in Figure B.

Figure B

Setting an iPad or iPhone passcode.
Setting an iPad or iPhone passcode enables data protection on the device.

 Third, ensure both your iCloud and OneDrive accounts require multifactor authentication (MFA). Incidentally, Apple refers to MFA as two-factor authentication. In case you need assistance, here are the respective vendors’ articles describing how to set both Apple ID (for iCloud) and Microsoft 365 (for OneDrive) two-factor and multifactor authentication.

With such security fundamentals enabled, you can feel safer downloading the Microsoft OneDrive app on iPads, iPhones and Macs and logging in. Once signed in to your Apple ID on those devices, iCloud should then connect. If iCloud Drive isn’t enabled for your ID, on a Mac open System Preferences and click the Apple ID icon, then confirm the iCloud Drive box is checked, as shown in Figure C. On an iPad or iPhone, tap Settings, tap Apple ID, press iCloud and ensure the iCloud radio button is enabled.

Figure C

Enable iCloud Drive on a Mac.
Enable iCloud Drive on a Mac by selecting the corresponding checkbox.

Depending upon your current configuration, there may be one more step. You may have to click or press the Options button that accompanies iCloud Drive to enable a respective application to store its files in iCloud. For example, if you’re using iA Writer and wish to store the program’s files in iCloud, select the iA Writer option from the iCloud Drive Options menu, if the setting isn’t already enabled.

Once the cloud services are connected, transfer files on a Mac by opening Finder and OneDrive windows and clicking and dragging files between them. On an iPad or iPhone, tap the Files application and navigate to the location of the file you wish to move, press and hold that file (or directory), then select Move from the resulting pop-up window, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Move files between iCloud and OneDrive on iPads and iPhones .

Next, browse to the location where you wish to move that file, then press Copy in the top-right corner. Due to differences between file services, if you truly wish to move (as opposed to copy) the file to the other service, you will need to return to the file’s (or directory’s) original location and delete it, as the Move option changes to Copy ,in my experience, when relocating files between file storage accounts on iPhones and iPads.

Cloud file storage accounts are only going to prove increasingly important, as assuredly will security. By following these steps and ensuring corresponding protections are in place, you can have greater confidence file security is safeguarded.

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