Everything you need to know about Apple's new iCloud encryption feature

Sami Fathi

As you may have heard, this week Apple announced the expansion of end-to-end encryption for additional types of data stored in iCloud with Advanced Data Protection, including device backups, photos, messages and more. . With the new change, even more types of data stored in iCloud will be fully end-to-end encrypted, which is a higher standard of encryption.

To help MacRumors readers better understand what this new feature is, how it works, and more , we've created this short post to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Enhanced Data Protection.

What does it do and why is it new?

Prior to Advanced Data Protection, Apple only encrypted certain types of user data in iCloud, such as passwords and health data. With data encryption, only a trusted user device can access this information. However, other information stored in iCloud, such as your photos, messages, and device backups, was not completely encrypted with end-to-end encryption, which means that if Apple wanted to, it could have access to your information. With Advanced Data Protection, everything changes.

If extended data protection is enabled for a specific iCloud account, the vast majority of data stored in the cloud will be end-to-end encrypted, meaning no one, not Apple, law enforcement, or the government, can access that information. Only a trusted device can decrypt this information.

Which data will be fully encrypted with end-to-end encryption?

With advanced data protection, users will have end-to-end encrypt the following types of data in iCloud along with health data and passwords.

  • Device backup
  • Messages backup
  • iCloud Drive
  • Photos
  • Reminders
  • Safari Bookmarks
  • Siri Shortcuts
  • Voice Notes
  • Wallet Passes

Note that iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar will not be end-to-end encrypted, as they all require connectivity to external sources such as Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

Is it enabled by default, and if not, how do I enable it?

Advanced data protection will not be enabled by default for users. In a recent interview, Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi explained that Advanced Data Protection requires additional effort from the user to activate the restore method. According to Federighi, the additional process and responsibility that falls on the shoulders of users in case they forget their password or lose access to their account makes it impractical to force every user to go through this process.

However, even if it's not enabled by default, it's still easy to enable. When this feature is available to all users in the US by the end of this month, depending on when you activated your device, you will be able to go to Settings, iCloud, and Advanced Data Protection, turn it on, and follow the on-screen instructions. . .

Can I use it now?

Not yet. Extended Data Protection will roll out to all users in the US by the end of this month, and Apple says it will roll out globally in early 2023. No specific global rollout dates yet.

Is it free?

Yes, it's free. Enhanced Data Protection is an extra layer of protection offered to anyone with an iCloud account at no extra charge.

What was the reaction?

< p> As expected, the reaction of users was positive. With advanced data protection, user data will remain more secure and private. Privacy groups have also praised Apple's decision, calling it a “user privacy victory”. On the other hand, governments don't seem to be thrilled with the new user experience.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *