With the release of iOS 16.2, Apple is offering iPhone users a new feature it says will protect information “even in the case of a data breach in the cloud.”
The tech giant’s latest update includes Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, as well as Apple Music Sing, Freeform, Lock Screen improvements and other features and bug fixes
Advanced Data Protection, it says, expands the number of iCloud data categories protected using end-to-end encryption to 23 – including iCloud Backup, Notes and Photos – and provides what Apple says is its highest level of cloud data security.
The only major iCloud data categories that are not covered are iCloud Mail, Contacts and Calendar, because of the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts and calendar systems.
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Apple says iCloud already protects 14 sensitive data categories using end-to-end encryption by default.
“Advanced Data Protection is Apple’s highest level of cloud data security, giving users the choice to protect the vast majority of their most sensitive iCloud data with end-to-end encryption so that it can only be decrypted on their trusted devices,” Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of Security Engineering and Architecture, said in a statement.
The feature will make it more difficult for hackers, spies and law enforcement agencies to access sensitive user information.
In a blog post, Apple said “enhanced security for users’ data in the cloud is more urgently needed than ever,” citing research that says data breaches have more than tripled over the past eight years.
It is available in the U.S. and the feature will start rolling out to the rest of the world in early 2023.
So, how can users set it up?
First, update the iPhone
The iPhone needs to be updated to iOS 16.2 before users can opt in. Go to Settings, General and then Software Update.
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Go to iCloud in Settings
Following the update, re-enter settings, find iCloud and then Advanced Data Protection.
Set up Advanced Data Protection
Tap either Account Recovery or Advanced Data Protection and then hit Set Up Account Recovery.
Add a recovery contact
Apple suggests choosing a trusted person to help you regain access to your account. You’ll be asked to send a message to that contact, who will have to approve the request.
Alternatively, add a recovery key
If you don’t want to trust another person with the iCloud data, set up a 28-character code and verify it before it is enabled.
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Enter your iPhone password
To enable Advanced Data Protection, enter your iPhone password.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.