The Apple Lockdown Mode will be introduced in iOS 16 and its features let you lock down your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to avoid government surveillance and target spyware for high-risk individuals like journalists. They are expected to ship with the iOS 16 and iPad 16 OS in September 2022.
This article is a guide on everything you need to know about the Apple Lockdown Mode. We delve into the definition, release date, how lockdown mode works, and what services you will miss when you turn on the Lockdown Mode.
Let’s get started with it, shall we?
First Off, What is Apple Lockdown Mode?
As the name suggests, the Apple lockdown lets you put your iPhone, iPad, and Mac on an even more secure stage than how they come out of the box.
When the Apple lockdown ships, Apple will begin informing potential victims of government spyware as part of their ongoing and existing notifications systems, as well as work with groups that help educate high-risk individuals like journalists and government officials on how to use it when they truly need it.
Turning on lockdown mode is optional, but the moment you do, you turn off a bunch of other specific features of your device. Here are six things you won’t be able to do with your iPhone or iPad when running in Apple’s lockdown mode;
- A more restricted form of USB mode is designed to prevent accessory-based attacks like juice jacking. USB accessories can only be used while the iOS device remains unlocked.
- Configuration profiles and mobile device management engagements are also locked down. Existing ones will remain and work as expected, but you can’t enable any new ones or be socially engineered into installing any new ones.
- For messages including iMessage, SMS, and MMS, Apple lockdown reduces the features to only the simplest, most common file types like jpg, png, webp, and GIFs. It will turn off the newer iMessage functionality like editing, deleting messages, and SharePlay. Some lockdown features will carry over to other messaging apps.
- Don’t forget, when you are under lockdown, everyone is basically prohibited from contacting you unless you contact them first, and that is on a per-service basis. If you FaceTime someone, they can’t FaceTime you. And if you do call them, they are only allowed to FaceTime you for as long as the connection stays active. Connections are blacklisted within 30 days and you are required to engage.
- The biggest lockdown is for web technologies, which are also typically the biggest attack surface when it comes to cyber crimes and government surveillance. The lockdowns apply to services like Safari and other frameworks used by iOS and iPad OS browsers and even the web views that are embedded in the wide array of other apps, specifically the social media apps. Apple lockdown disables the JIT, or Just in Time Pipelines, and some caching in WebKit. Also, no generational or concurrent garbage collection, a dynamic code signing entitlement, web-native fonts, and all but most of the popular and widely scrutinized image formats.
- Say goodbye to quick look preview and to a lot of heavier, more complex web APIs(things like WebGL & WebRTC). No more automatic URL delegation, so a link can’t just kick you into another app automatically anymore unless you okay it at first.
To sum up, Lockdown Mode is a feature that protects your device from unauthorized access. It’s not perfect, and it comes with some tradeoffs in daily iPhone experience or convenience. However, as long as it gets the job done, you should have it running by default, especially if you are a high-risk individual.
For now, let us know in the comment section if you will be using the lockdown feature once it ships out in iOS 16 this fall.
Featured Image: MKBHD