Apple Announces New Lockdown Mode on iOS 16 With 'Extreme' Level of Security

Apple today announced a new Lockdown Mode coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. Apple says the optional security feature is designed to protect the "very small number" of users who may be at risk of "highly targeted cyberattacks" from private companies developing state-sponsored spyware, such as journalists, activists, and government employees.

Lockdown Mode Feature
Apple says Lockdown Mode is enabled in the third beta versions of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura released today, and the feature will be available to all users when the software updates are released later this year. While the feature is aimed at users who are targets of cyberattacks, it appears that it can be enabled by any user.

Lockdown Mode is turned off by default and can be enabled in the Privacy & Security section of the Settings or System Settings app. After being turned on, Lockdown Mode can be turned off at any time in the same section of the Settings app. Enabling or disabling Lockdown Mode requires restarting the device and entering the device's passcode.

Lockdown Mode iOS 16
When enabled, Apple says Lockdown Mode provides an "extreme" level of security by strictly limiting or disabling the functionality of features, apps, and websites. At launch, Lockdown Mode will include the following protections:

  • In the Messages app, most message attachment types other than images are blocked, and some features like link previews are unavailable.
  • Incoming FaceTime calls from people you have not previously called are blocked. Incoming invitations for other Apple services from people you have not previously invited are also blocked.
  • Some complex web technologies and browsing features, including just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless the user excludes a trusted site from Lockdown Mode. This protection applies to Safari and all other web browsers using WebKit across the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
  • Shared albums will be removed from the Photos app, and new shared album invitations will be blocked.
  • When a device is locked, wired connections with other devices/accessories are blocked.
  • Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enroll into mobile device management (MDM), while Lockdown Mode is turned on.

Apple said it will continue to add new protections to Lockdown Mode over time. Apple has added a new category to its Security Bounty program to reward researchers who find Lockdown Mode bypasses and help improve its protections, with bounties to be doubled for qualifying findings in Lockdown Mode, up to a maximum of $2 million.

"Lockdown Mode is a groundbreaking capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users from even the rarest, most sophisticated attacks," said Ivan Krstić, Apple's head of security engineering, in a press release shared today. "While the vast majority of users will never be the victims of highly targeted cyberattacks, we will work tirelessly to protect the small number of users who are."

Apple also announced it is making a $10 million grant to the Ford Foundation's Dignity and Justice Fund to support organizations that investigate, expose, and prevent highly targeted cyberattacks. Apple said it will also be donating any damages awarded from its lawsuit filed against NSO Group, creator of the spyware Pegasus.

Last year, Apple began notifying users who may have been targeted by state-sponsored attackers via email and iMessage notifications.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Related Forum: iOS 16

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
iPhone SE 4 Vertical Camera Feature

iPhone SE 4 Rumored to Use Same Rear Chassis as iPhone 16

Friday July 19, 2024 7:16 am PDT by
Apple will adopt the same rear chassis manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 that it is using for the upcoming standard iPhone 16, claims a new rumor coming out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker "Fixed Focus Digital," the backplate manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 is "exactly the same" as the standard model in Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 lineup, which is expected to...
New MacBook Pros Launching Tomorrow With These 4 New Features 2

M5 MacBook Models to Use New Compact Camera Module in 2025

Wednesday July 17, 2024 2:58 am PDT by
Apple in 2025 will take on a new compact camera module (CCM) supplier for future MacBook models powered by its next-generation M5 chip, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Writing in his latest investor note on unny-opticals-2025-business-momentum-to-benefit-509819818c2a">Medium, Kuo said Apple will turn to Sunny Optical for the CCM in its M5 MacBooks. The Chinese optical lens company...
tinypod apple watch

TinyPod Turns Your Apple Watch Into an iPod

Wednesday July 17, 2024 3:18 pm PDT by
If you have an old Apple Watch and you're not sure what to do with it, a new product called TinyPod might be the answer. Priced at $79, the TinyPod is a silicone case with a built-in scroll wheel that houses the Apple Watch chassis. When an Apple Watch is placed inside the TinyPod, the click wheel on the case is able to be used to scroll through the Apple Watch interface. The feature works...
iphone 14 lineup

Cellebrite Unable to Unlock iPhones on iOS 17.4 or Later, Leak Reveals

Thursday July 18, 2024 4:18 am PDT by
Israel-based mobile forensics company Cellebrite is unable to unlock iPhones running iOS 17.4 or later, according to leaked documents verified by 404 Media. The documents provide a rare glimpse into the capabilities of the company's mobile forensics tools and highlight the ongoing security improvements in Apple's latest devices. The leaked "Cellebrite iOS Support Matrix" obtained by 404 Media...
Apple Watch Series 9

2024 Apple Watch Lineup: Key Changes We're Expecting

Tuesday July 16, 2024 7:59 am PDT by
Apple is seemingly planning a rework of the Apple Watch lineup for 2024, according to a range of reports from over the past year. Here's everything we know so far. Apple is expected to continue to offer three different Apple Watch models in five casing sizes, but the various display sizes will allegedly grow by up to 12% and the casings will get taller. Based on all of the latest rumors,...

Top Rated Comments

siddavis Avatar
27 months ago
EU will legislate that Extreme Lockdown Mode must be made interoperable with apps that disable Extreme Lockdown Mode.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnmarki Avatar
27 months ago
I applaud Apple for bringing this feature/mode to the masses. I would really like to see this as an a la carte set of controls though.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chaos215bar2 Avatar
27 months ago
Am I the only one who wants to see some of these made into first-class features? Being able to block automatic loading of previews and attachments in Messages, for instance, would be a great.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lexdexia Avatar
27 months ago
I hope Apple sues that israeli spyware group into bankruptcy.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Doctor Q Avatar
27 months ago
In the Messages app, most message attachment types other than images are blocked, and some features like link previews are unavailable.
I'd like to have this feature myself.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjp1 Avatar
27 months ago
It would be nice if some of these things could be configured. If they are known higher risk, then why can't we disable some things we don't care about?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)