This major Apple security feature is now launching globally

Apple security feature iOS 16.3

When the recent iOS 16.2 update landed late last year, several cool features arrived with it, except that non-US folks missed out on one major Apple security tool: Advanced Data Protection for iCloud. Fortunately, for security-conscious users, that’s about to change.

Several major Apple news sites like MacRumors and Macworld report that Advanced Data Protection for iCloud is coming to the rest of the world with iOS 16.3. Currently in beta status, a public version of this update is expected to roll out as soon as next week.

What is Advanced Data Protection for iCloud?

Initially released in the US with the iOS 16.2 update, Advanced Data Protection for iCloud is a setting that secures data from many common apps with end-to-end encryption. According to Apple, it’s completely optional, but provides the company’s “highest level of cloud data security.” It means data from first-party apps that use iCloud, like Photos and Notes, are secure even in the event of a cloud breach because not even Apple can access your data.

By default, Apple encrypts your iCloud data, although only some of it is end-to-end encrypted. What this means is that the company stores encryption keys in its data centres, and can assist with data recovery if needed. Conversely, enabling Advanced Data Protection means only your trusted devices contain the encryption keys required to access your data. To help with this, Apple guides you through the setup process to assign a recovery contact or recovery key in case you lose account access.

What data does this Apple security feature protect?

While several native Apple apps feature end-to-end encryption on iCloud on the default settings, here are the additional apps and features serviced by Advanced Data Protection:

  • iCloud Backup
  • iCloud Drive
  • Photos
  • Notes
  • Reminders
  • Safari Bookmarks
  • Siri Shortcuts
  • Voice Memos
  • Wallet Passes

Other Apple security features coming soon include iMessage Contact Key Verification, another layer of protection that helps users verify that only intended recipients have access to messages. Plus, there’s Security Keys, which takes two-factor authentication even further, requiring a third-party hardware security key, like a YubiKey to complete the 2FA process.

iOS 16.3 is widely tipped to launch next week, so keep an eye out for the increased Apple security features when they arrive.

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