With the release of iOS 16.2, Apple is offering iPhone users a new feature that it says will protect information “even in the event 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 expands to 23 the number of iCloud data categories protected using end-to-end encryption — including iCloud backups, notes and photos — and provides what Apple says is the highest level of cloud data security, it said.
The only major iCloud data categories not covered are iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar due to the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts, and calendar systems.
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Apple says iCloud already protects 14 categories of sensitive data with end-to-end encryption by default.
“Advanced Data Protection is Apple’s highest level of cloud data security, giving users the option to protect the vast majority of their most sensitive iCloud data with end-to-end encryption so that it can only be decrypted on devices they trust,” Ivan Krstić, Apple Inc. the head of security engineering and architecture said in a statement.
The feature will make it harder for hackers, spies and law enforcement agencies to access sensitive user information.
In a blog post, Apple said the “need to enhance the security of user data in the cloud is more urgent than ever,” citing research that said data breaches have more than tripled in the past eight years.
It’s available in the US, and the feature will start rolling out to the rest of the world in early 2023.
So, how do users set it up?
1. Update iPhone
iPhones need to be updated to iOS 16.2 before users can opt-in. Go to Settings, General, Software Update.
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Go to iCloud in settings
After updating, go back into Settings, find iCloud, then Advanced Data Protection.
Set up advanced data protection
Click Account Recovery or Advanced Data Protection, then click Set Up Account Recovery.
Add recovery contacts
Apple recommends selecting a trusted person to help you regain access to your account. You’ll be asked to send a message to that contact, who must approve the request.
Alternatively, add a recovery key
If you don’t want to entrust your iCloud data to others, set a 28-character code and verify it before enabling it.
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Enter your iPhone passcode
To enable advanced data protection, enter your iPhone passcode.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.