Apple announces three new data security features coming soon

First up is Advanced Data Protection for iCloud. Apple’s cloud service previously offered end-to-end encryption by default for 14 categories, including iCloud Keychain passwords and Health data.

With end-to-end encryption, data can only be read by your device. Even if this data were obtained by a third party, it would be unreadable.

Now you can protect 23 different categories of data with end-to-end encryption, including iCloud backup, notes, and photos. The only major categories not covered are iCloud Mail, Contacts and Calendar due to the need to work with other systems.

You’ll need to sign up for iCloud Advanced Data Protection. It will come with the official release of iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and macOS 13.1. All of these software updates are expected to arrive this month. The feature will be available in the United States and will roll out globally early next year.

The other two features, iMessage Contact Key Verification and Apple ID Security Key, will be available globally in 2023.

The iMessage contact key verification allows you to verify that you are actually sending messages to the people you intend to. Designed for users such as journalists and government officials, the feature adds another layer of security.

When two users have iMessage Contact Key Verification enabled, they will receive an automatic alert if someone has managed to eavesdrop on their encrypted communication. It’s even possible to compare a contact’s verification code in person, on FaceTime, or over another secure call.

Security Keys will improve two-factor authentication for Apple ID. You will be able to use a third-party hardware security key as one of the factors. This will provide an advanced level of security to protect your Apple ID and prevent an attacker from gaining a second factor in a phishing scam.

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