Apple Announces new Lockdown Mode in iOS 16

iOS 16      

Today apple announced a new Lockdown Mode that will be available across their platforms with iOS 16, iPad OS 16, and macOS Ventura. This extra security feature is designed to protect users who may be at risk of “highly targeted cyber attacks”. This ranges from small private companies developing state-sponsored spyware, such as journalists, activists, and government employees. Apple Link

Apple says Lockdown Mode is enabled in the third beta versions of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura released today, and the feature will be available to all users when the software updates are released later this year. While the feature is aimed at users who are targets of cyberattacks, it appears that it can be enabled by any user.

Lockdown Mode is turned off by default and can be enabled in the Privacy & Security section of the Settings or System Settings app. After being turned on, Lockdown Mode can be turned off at any time in the same section of the Settings app. Enabling or disabling Lockdown Mode requires restarting the device and entering the device’s passcode.

When enabled, Apple says Lockdown Mode provides an “extreme” level of security by strictly limiting or disabling the functionality of features, apps, and websites. At launch, Lockdown Mode will include the following protections:

  • In the Messages app, most message attachment types other than images are blocked, and some features like link previews are unavailable.
  • Incoming FaceTime calls from people you have not previously called are blocked. Incoming invitations for other Apple services from people you have not previously invited are also blocked.
  • Some complex web technologies and browsing features, including just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless the user excludes a trusted site from Lockdown Mode. This protection applies to Safari and all other web browsers using WebKit across the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
  • Shared albums will be removed from the Photos app, and new shared album invitations will be blocked.
  • When a device is locked, wired connections with other devices/accessories are blocked.
  • Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enroll into mobile device management (MDM), while Lockdown Mode is turned on.

“Lockdown Mode is a groundbreaking capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest, most sophisticated attacks,” said Ivan Krstić, Apple’s head of security engineering, in a press release shared today. “While the vast majority of users will never be the victims of highly targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users who are.”