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Lockdown Mode: How to protect iPhone, iPad and Mac from viruses

Super powers against spyware and cyber attacks

July 10, 2022
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Lockdown Mode: How to protect iPhone, iPad and Mac from viruses

In short

Let's go deeper

In the fight against spyware, Apple is once again winning by announcing, to a great surprise, a brand new “extreme” security feature called iPhone Lockdown Mode, also coming to iPad and Mac, to help protect our devices from viruses and targeted cyber attacks.

Let's explore together the brand new Lockdown Mode of Apple's iPhone, available for testing in the updated beta versions of iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.

iPhone Lockdown Mode available on iOS 16

Lockdown Mode, according to Apple, is the first mode of its kind and it will offer iPhones a really extreme level of security.

But be careful, it's not for everyone.

It's a feature designed for a very small percentage of users that could be targeted by highly sophisticated threats such as Pegasus spyware.

In short, It's not a trivial antivirus to always keep activated.

In fact, with Lockdown Mode enabled on iPhone, iPad or Mac, the functionality of the device is decidedly limited to significantly reduce the chances of finding potential exploits and strengthen the system's defenses.

Limitations to the Lockdown Mode system on iOS 16

Here's how Apple describes the security measures that Lockdown Mode will take when it launches this fall:

  • Messages: most types of message attachments other than images are blocked and some functions, such as link previews, are disabled.
  • Web browsing: some complex web technologies, such as just-in-time JavaScript (JIT) compilation, are disabled unless the user excludes a site from Lockdown Mode by declaring it trustworthy.
  • Apple Services: Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not previously sent a call or request to the contact.
  • FaceTime: FaceTime calls coming from unknown people and who, therefore, you have not called before are all blocked.
  • Shared albums: shared albums will be removed from the Photos app and invitations to new shared albums will be blocked.
  • All cable connections with a computer or accessory they are blocked when the iPhone is locked.
  • It is not possible to install the configuration profiles and the device cannot register in mobile device management (MDM) while the Lockdown Mode is active.

How to activate Lockdown Mode on iPhone, iPad and Mac

As already mentioned, the new Lockdown Mode on the iPhone will be available in the next betas of iOS 16 and so it's not currently available to everyone (same thing applies to iPadOS and macOS).

Here are the steps to activate Lockdown Mode on iPhone and Mac:

  1. Open the Settings app in iOS 16 or System Settings on macOS Ventura
  2. Choose Privacy and Security
  3. At the bottom, tap Lockdown Mode
  4. Now you can choose Learn More or Activate Lockdown Mode
  5. Tap Activate and Restart
  6. Go back to the same place to turn off Lockdown Mode

When will Lockdown Mode be released?

The Lockdown Mode will be available for testing in the next betas of iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura with the official launch coming, as usual, in autumn.

Apple says that, in the meantime, it plans to increase Lockdown Mode defenses and add new protections for our dear and fragile devices - and data.

written by human, not by AI

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