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What is Lockdown Mode? The iOS 16 feature explained

iOS 16 begins rolling out this week and with it comes a number of new features, including the super secure Lockdown Mode. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the new iOS security feature. 

What is Lockdown Mode? 

Lockdown Mode is an opt-in iOS feature designed to prevent the most highly sophisticated cyberattacks. 

The setting applies strict limits to your apps, browsing and phone features, making it an unnecessary and potentially disruptive step for the average consumer but a handy precaution for more high-profile users. 

“Lockdown Mode offers an extreme, optional level of security for the very few users who, because of who they are or what they do, may be personally targeted by some of the most sophisticated digital threats, such as those from NSO Group and other private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware”, explained Apple in its press release

“Turning on Lockdown Mode in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura further hardens device defenses and strictly limits certain functionalities, sharply reducing the attack surface that potentially could be exploited by highly targeted mercenary spyware”. 

What does Lockdown Mode do? 

Lockdown Mode offers a number of protections, covering everything from your messages and browsing to wired connections. 

Most message attachment types aside from images will be blocked and link previews disabled, as will web technologies like just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, unless they’re from a trusted site. 

Incoming invitations and service requests from certain Apple services, like FaceTime, will be blocked if the user has not contacted the caller first. 

Wired connections with computers and other accessories will also be blocked when the iPhone is locked, and configuration profiles cannot be installed with Lockdown Mode switched on. 

Furthermore, Apple has announced plans to further strengthen Lockdown Mode over time based on feedback and input from the security research community. The company has even established a new category within its Apple Security Bounty programme focused purely on Lockdown Mode with a reward of up to $2 million for anyone able to crack the feature.

What devices work with Lockdown Mode? 

The security feature is set to launch alongside iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura, meaning any iPhone, iPad or Mac that supports this update will be able to run Lockdown Mode.

This includes the new iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.

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