After a long wait, Apple has finally agreed to expand end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to several iCloud services as it continues to double down on security and privacy protection.
As part of several security announcements, the iPhone maker has agreed to expand E2EE, under the initiative known as Advanced Data Protection to 23 data categories and encompass iCloud device backups, Messages backups, chat histories, Photos, Notes, and more. Overall, E2EE will now protect your Reminders, Safari Bookmarks, Wallet Passes, Voice Memos, and Siri Shortcuts as well.
It rolls out today in the latest iOS 16.2 beta and will be available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. By the end of the year – which is soon – will be available to everyone in the US, and users in other countries may get the feature by early 2023.
“At Apple, we are unwavering in our commitment to provide our users with the best data security in the world. We constantly identify and mitigate emerging threats to their personal data on devices and in the cloud,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Our security teams work tirelessly to keep users’ data safe,” he added.
“Apple makes the most secure mobile devices on the market. And now, we are building on that powerful foundation,” said Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture. At the time of the launch, users will have to manually enable Advanced Data Protection by going to the Settings app and navigating to the iCloud menu.
With iCloud, your data will be encrypted for it to be safe. It can only be decrypted on your “trusted devices,” such as your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. This means that even if the Cloud suffers a data breach, your data will be protected, and nobody else will hold the key to decrypt the data. This adds another layer of protection to user data – at a time when privacy concerns are rising – and it is hoped that this will deter hackers from accessing and misusing the personal data of users.
In case you lose access to any of your devices, you will be able to regain access through a recovery key or recovery contact, which you will have to set up at the time of enabling the Advanced Data Protection feature. Advanced Data Protection will not cover iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar because “of the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts, and calendar systems.”
In similar news, the iOS 16.2 update is ramping up and tightening its AirDrop privacy settings. This comes as it limits the use of AirDrop in China as a response to protestors using the feature to avoid Chinese censorship and share files with each other – it will now expand the 10-minute limit on the window for users to share AirDrop files with “everyone.”
Going forward, AirDrop will be primarily restricted to Contacts Only, and will continue three options – “Receiving Off,” “Contacts Only,” and “Everyone,” and the last option can be enabled for only 10 minutes at a time.