Apple has finally added end-to-end encryption support for its iCloud – where users can secure their media, notes, bookmarks, and others.
This has been in beta testing for a while and now rolling out to everyone in the US. People outside the US will have this feature early next year in iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, or macOS 13.1. Further, Apple introduced iMessage Contact Key Verification and Security Keys for Apple ID.
Encrypting the Apple iCloud
iCloud is certainly an important aspect of the Apple ecosystem, where users store their valuable files for synchronized working and sharing. Further, iCloud is used by multiple messenger apps for saving user chats and other important items.
While this is important, Apple left the service with standard encryption all these years. Though it’s finely serving its purpose, it won’t be enough to appease the community and against the growing cyberattacks. Thus, Apple has now come up with Advanced Data Protection to safeguard “most iCloud data even in the case of a data breach in the cloud”.
This new system contains end-to-end encryption support for iCloud, where users can store their message backups, iCloud Drive, Photos, Notes, Reminders, Safari bookmarks, Wallet passes, voice memos, Siri shortcuts, etc., but not the iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar data.
The ability to opt-in to encrypted iCloud backups is a really big win for users and bad news for law enforcement, who loved to request iCloud backups to save them the trouble of breaking into a phone.
— Eva (@evacide) December 7, 2022
Data from these apps won’t be encrypted since they need to communicate with other email, contacts, and calendar systems frequently. This Advanced Data Protection has been in testing in the US for a while and now rolling to everyone in the country.
People outside the US will get this feature early next year, says Apple. Interested users setting up this should choose a recovery method (which could be the device passcode or password, a recovery contact, or a personal recovery key) to help themselves in recovering a lost account.
Apple can’t do it from its end since it doesn’t maintain the decryption keys with it. Well, users can toggle this feature off whenever they want and switch to the standard security as of now. Besides, Apple has also announced iMessage Contact Key Verification, where iMessage users can verify the identity of the people on the other end.
This helps them in thwarting threat actors managing to get into the conversation and snoop on your chats. And finally, there are Security Keys for Apple ID – where users can force themselves to use a physical security key to set up the Apple ID account on a different device.