Apple Reveals Three Major Security Features For iMessage, iCloud, And 2FA

Security and privacy are always a big concern when it comes to modern technology, and Apple products are no exception. From updates that close off risky exploits to adding new features as the version number at the end of operating systems continues to go up, it's a never-ending process. And now Apple is getting ready to provide even more protection options (via Apple) for its multitude of users. Though it's mostly intended for "users who face extraordinary digital threats" like government officials, human rights activists, celebrities, and journalists.

Apple IDs, iCloud, and iMessage are all getting their own updated tools to help you protect your data and information more thoroughly — though not everything is quite ready to go just yet. Still, Apple believes that the new changes, combined with the other security features already implemented in its hardware and software, make its products "the most secure on the market."

"Our security teams work tirelessly to keep users' data safe," Apple senior VP of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, said, "... and with iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, users will have three powerful new tools to further protect their most sensitive data and communications."

Here's what's coming

The first of these new features is Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, which is available for Apple Beta Software Program users in the U.S. starting today — other U.S. users will have to wait until the end of the year, and a worldwide rollout is planned for early 2023. When you opt-in to these advanced protections, end-to-end encryption protections will be extended past the default categories (passwords, Health data, etc) to include nine more. Categories like Notes, Photos, and Backups. Really the only items not encrypted will be your Contacts, Calendar, and iCloud Email (due to what they need to access in order to function).

Apple ID Security Keys are also expected to become a thing in early 2023. In essence, it allows the use of third-party hardware security keys that will work alongside two-factor authentication. So if you opt-in, a hardware security key will become one of the elements required when accessing your Apple ID.

Rounding out the planned security enhancements is Contact Key Verification for iMessage, expected to be made available at some unspecified point in 2023. Contact Key Verification will let you take extra steps to make sure nobody else will be able to access your text or otherwise listen in on your conversations with other people. Alerts will also be sent out if an eavesdropping risk is suspected.