Apple should add a Secure iCloud Drive folder with Face ID and Touch ID support

I love iCloud Drive. I love how integrated it is into macOS and iOS, and I long ago moved most of my documents away from Dropbox (except for Shared Folders). I am always looking for new ways to back up my photos, though. Since I keep an active Microsoft Office subscription, I thought I would use the 1TB of storage as another place to upload my photos. When I was using the OneDrive app, I noticed it had a Personal Vault section that I thought would be a great addition to iCloud Drive for storing sensitive files. Microsoft announced it back in June, and it rolled out worldwide in October. As I started using the OneDrive iPhone app, I quickly began to wonder why Apple hasn’t created a secure iCloud Drive folder with Touch ID and Face ID support.

Types of documents for a Secure iCloud Drive folder

The OneDrive app promotes storing items like passports, tax records, insurance information, property deeds, driver’s license, budgets, and more. Inside the iOS app, each one has a Scan next to the list to bring it into the app quickly. I currently store information like this inside of 1Password, but it would be a great feature for folks who rely on Safari Keychain to be able to digitize this content quickly.

Personal Vault adds to the robust privacy and security that OneDrive currently offers, including file encryption at rest and in transit, suspicious activity monitoring, ransomware detection and recovery, mass file deletion notification and recovery, virus scanning on download for known threats, and version history for all file types.

Security settings

On iOS, I’d like to be able to put a PIN code lock on this folder, but also be able to use Face ID to unlock them as well. On the Mac, I’d want to be able to lock/unlock using the same PIN code on top of using Touch ID. A secure iCloud Drive feature should also be integrated with Family Sharing. I want to be able to share this folder with my spouse so she can easily access our personal information if she’s at a doctor’s appointment, etc. OneDrive even has an option to lock/unlock via SMS or the Microsoft Authenticator app.

Just enter a PIN, or use your fingerprint, face, or a code delivered by email or SMS1 to unlock and access your files—no need to remember multiple passwords. Additionally, Personal Vault can be unlocked with the Microsoft Authenticator app. Whichever way you choose, unlocking is quick, convenient, and helps secure your data.

OneDrive Windows

iCloud Photo Secure album

Another idea for Apple to consider would be a protected album in iCloud Photos. A protected album would be a place to store sensitive items that you want to have even more security than just your normal device unlock. You could set a separate PIN along with requiring an additional Face ID scan to unlock it. This feature would protect this album even if your device fell into the wrong hands while unlocked.

Wrap-up on Secure iCloud Drive folder

iCloud Drive has been playing catchup with Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive over the years. While Shared Folders was announced with iOS 13 and macOS Catalina, it’s been delayed to next spring. I prefer iCloud Drive due to its native integration into iOS and macOS, but it needs to put the foot on the pedal when it comes to features. Adding a Personal Vault would help users store their sensitive documents in a secure manner.

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