The massive 2014 leak of celebrity iCloud photos, obnoxiously referred to as The Fappening, was a ruthless reminder that your nudes can never be too secure. But keeping them confidential can be daunting without a decent understanding of digital storage. Don’t worry, though: We’re here to help you keep your nudes between you and whichever lucky soul you decide to bless them with.
Now, first off, if you’re sharing them with anyone, it’s good to bear in mind some of the advice we got from sexuality educator Al Vernacchio: “When I talk with my students about safer sexting, I say that safer sexting is about minimizing the chance that you can be identified as the person in the pic or video if it’s shared. So, they should be mindful of any tattoos, scars or body marks that can identify them — make sure they’re not in the photo or video. They should also be mindful of what’s in the background: If everyone knows what their bedroom, bathroom, etc. looks like, don’t make that the background.”
Simple! But if it’s too late for that, the next step to ensuring that your nudes remain private is taking preventative measures. Start by finding out which cloud storage services are enabled on your devices and whether they automatically upload every photo you take. Once you access these cloud services, search through all of the photos saved in them, and delete anything that you might not want other people to see. It’s also worth considering some of your old devices: You may have an Android now, but if you recently owned an iPhone, make sure to look into your old iCloud account, too.
Now that your forgotten nudes have been deleted from the cloud, remember to disable your cloud services whenever you take new ones. Alternatively, you can put your device on airplane mode whenever you take nudes — just make sure to delete them from that device before exiting airplane mode, or else your cloud service might automatically upload them when it turns back on.
However, securely storing nudes so you can access them later — for research purposes, of course — is a little more complicated. “Encryption is always your friend,” says internet technology expert Zack Gaudet. Encryption, for the technologically challenged, is a simple way to secure your nudes with a password — just make sure to use a strong password and only unlock the photos on a secure device (again, put your device on airplane mode before opening them).
While there are several encryption apps, Gaudet mentions that using them might give the developers access to your nudes. “I personally wouldn’t trust the developers as a general rule of thumb, although, anything that gets posted in the App Store is audited by Apple,” he explains. Plus, once again, encrypting nudes yourself is incredibly easy.
Finally, it’s extremely important to understand that nudes you send to anyone are then subject to whatever cloud services they have on their devices. For instance, the nudes you send may very well end up sitting in the recipient’s iCloud until someone decides to poke around in there.
All of which means, no matter how careful you are with your nakey selfies, the act of sending them at all is risky. Unfortunately, since hackers will never stop hunting for our provocative photos, we either need to figure out a better way to keep our personal information private, or we need to stop sending nudes altogether. Guess which will be the more popular option?