End-to-end encryption is coming to most of iCloud with a new optional feature called Advanced Data Protection, according to Apple’s announcement on Wednesday.
Previously, 14 categories of data were protected within iCloud. This new feature brings that number to 23, including photos, notes, voice memos, reminders, Safari bookmarks, and iCloud backups of your devices’ contents. However, not everything is encrypted in this way. It is crucial that calendar and e-mail remain untouched here. Apple says they are not covered “because of the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts and calendar systems.”
US-based Apple Beta Software Program participants can begin using Advanced Data Protection today, and it will roll out to more Americans by the end of the year. If you’re outside the US, you’ll have to wait until sometime in 2023, Apple says.
Advanced data protection is the big news for most people, but Apple has announced two other features related to privacy and security on iCloud. First, iCloud users can now use hardware security keys like YubiKeys. Both NFC keys and plug-in keys are supported.
Second, there’s iMessage Contact Key Verification, which can warn “users facing extraordinary digital threats,” such as journalists, if state-sponsored actors are hijacking or spying on their conversations, in some cases.
Along with today’s announcements, Apple confirmed something most of us already thought: It’s no longer working on a controversial system designed to identify child sexual abuse material on users’ iPhones — the company changed course after a public backlash on privacy and security.
Frame image by Samuel Axon