Telecoms company BT is said to be working with the country's MoD to harden the security of the phone so that military officers can discuss and store sensitive information on the device. Steve Bunn, technical business manager for defense at BT, said the phone would eventually be capable of being switched between different modes depending on which security level was appropriate.
"We've been working very closely with them to develop what we've commonly called a 'dual-persona device'. Essentially this means you can have voice at official and at secret."BT is also working with the MoD to create "secure storage containers" on the device to hold sensitive data, revealed Bunn.
BT is said to have begun using a Samsung Note 4 to develop the bespoke military communications device, but testing quickly revealed that the security of the Android OS wasn't sufficient and the project was transferred to Apple's phone.
Despite Apple's high-profile reputation for upholding iOS security standards, the MoD's switch to iPhone bucks a trend in the defense industry, which tends to prefer phones running Android because of the ease with which the operating system can be altered.
As noted by TechRepublic, the GSMK CryptoPhone, which runs a heavily stripped-down version of Android, is currently in active use among military and security bodies around the world.
Update: BT has since contacted MacRumors with the following statement: "We would like to clarify that the MoD has not expressed any views about the suitability of dual-persona technology from specific handset/technology vendors and is prototyping a range of devices."