iOS 16.3 Expands Advanced Data Protection Option for iCloud Encryption Globally
Apple today announced that Advanced Data Protection is expanding beyond the United States. Starting with iOS 16.3, the security feature will be available globally, giving users the option to enable end-to-end encryption for many additional iCloud data categories, including Photos, Notes, Voice Memos, Messages backups, device backups, and more. iOS 16.3 is currently in beta and expected to be released to the public next week.
By default, Apple stores encryption keys for some iCloud data types on its servers to ensure that users can recover their data if they lose access to their Apple ID account. If a user enables Advanced Data Protection, the encryption keys are deleted from Apple's servers and stored on a user's devices only, preventing Apple, law enforcement, or anyone else from accessing the data, even if iCloud servers were to be breached.
iCloud already provides end-to-end encryption for 14 data categories without Advanced Data Protection turned on, including Messages (excluding backups), passwords stored in iCloud Keychain, Health data, Apple Maps search history, Apple Card transactions, and more. Advanced Data Protection expands this protection to the vast majority of iCloud categories, with major exceptions including the Mail, Contacts, and Calendar apps.
Advanced Data Protection first launched in the U.S. in December with iOS 16.2, and Apple said the feature would roll out to the rest of the world in early 2023, so the global expansion is on schedule. All of a user's devices must be updated to Apple's software versions that support Advanced Data Protection in their country to use the feature. Outside the U.S., this includes iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, macOS 13.2, tvOS 16.3, and watchOS 9.3.
When Advanced Data Protection is enabled, access to iCloud.com is disabled by default. Users have the option to turn on data access on iCloud.com, which allows the web browser and Apple to have temporary access to data-specific encryption keys.
Advanced Data Protection is designed to maintain end-to-end encryption for most shared iCloud content, as long as all participants have Advanced Data Protection enabled, including iCloud Shared Photo Library, iCloud Drive shared folders, and shared Notes. However, Apple says iWork collaboration, the Shared Albums feature in Photos, and sharing content with "anyone with a link" do not support Advanced Data Protection.
For more information, read Apple's Advanced Data Protection support document.