Canon says its cloud service can't restore users' lost videos or full-size images
(Image credit: Canon)

Canon has explained what went wrong when its cloud service,, went down last week – and it's not good news for the affected users.

The site went offline on July 30 and only returned on August 4, following an investigation from the camera giant into what went wrong.

On the plus side, Canon has confirmed that "we found no unauthorized access to” and that "the incident caused no leakage of images", which means it's an entirely separate incident to the major ransomware attack that also hit the company last week.

But unfortunately for the users affected by the earlier incident, Canon also said "there is no technical measure to restore lost video images" and that "still images can be restored, but not with original resolutions". In a statement on the homepage, it added "we offer our deepest apologies to affected users".

So what in the name of holy pixels went wrong? It was actually a painfully simple coding error. Canon's cloud service has two functions – the main one is its short-term, temporary storage where you can store images directly from your camera for up to 30 days, before sending them onto a long-term cloud storage service like Google Drive.

The problem was that a coding mistake got this confused with's second function, which is offering up to 10GB of long-term storage with no expiry date. 

As Canon explains, when it "switched over to a new version of the software to control these services on July 30, the code to control the short-term storage operated on both of the short-term storage and the long-term storage functions, causing the loss of some images stored for more than 30 days." Whoops.


(Image credit: Canon)

It might get cloud

Canon hasn't confirmed exactly how many users were affected by this incident and lost their media as a result, but the fact that the service is so new is perhaps something of a blessing.

The cloud service has only been up and running for a few months, having taken over from both the 'Canon Image Gateway' (a bridge application that helped you upload media to the cloud) and its now discontinued Irista cloud storage service.

Still, Canon has now rolled out support to 27 of its cameras (according to its compatibility list), so it could soon become a popular way, cable-free way for Canon users to get images off their cameras, despite this incident.

The incident does nevertheless underline the importance of following the '3-2-1 backup rule', which means keeping at least three copies of your photos, with two backup copies kept on different storage media, be that an SSD or cloud service.

Looking for some recommendations on that front? We have in-depth guides on the best cloud storage for photos and the best portable SSD too, so make sure you check them out if Canon's incident has left you feeling a little unnerved. 

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.