What is Apple Lockdown Mode? Plus, how to turn it on

(Pocket-lint) – Apple is introducing a new security setting called Lockdown Mode. It’ll be a free feature that strengthens your iPhone, iPad, and Mac’s defenses, making it harder for bad actors to compromise your device through highly targeted attacks. When Lockdown Mode arrives, you will need to turn it on to actually enable it. It is not on by default. But it’s also not something everyone will need to use most days. Here’s everything you need to know about Lockdown Mode, including how to enable it, what it does, and when you should use it.

What is Apple Lockdown Mode?

Lockdown Mode is a new security setting that will arrive later this year with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. According to Apple, Lockdown Mode is an “extreme, optional protection” feature for users who face “grave, targeted threats” to their digital security. (Think: Journalists, activists, politicians, and celebrities.) When it becomes available and is enabled on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, Lockdown Mode will change various security settings and block some communications features, making it harder for someone to gain access or control of your device.

How does Lockdown Mode work?

When enabled in settings, Lockdown Mode will alter how your phone works in order to prevent targeted attacks that rely on web-based technologies, social engineering, and wired hacking.

Here are a few of the changes you will notice when Lockdown Mode is turned on:

  • Most message attachments are blocked, and some features will not be unavailable.
  • Incoming FaceTime calls from people you have not previously called will be blocked.
  • Some web technologies and browsing features will be blocked.
  • Shared albums will be removed from Photos, and new invitations will be blocked.
  • Wired connections with another device while your iPhone is locked will be blocked.
  • Incoming invitations from people you have not previously invited will be blocked.
  • Configuration profiles – such as profiles for school or work – cannot be installed.

How to turn on Lockdown Mode

When Lockdown Mode becomes available to you, simply dive into the Settings app on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to enable it. Follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Navigate to Privacy and Security.
  3. Select Lockdown Mode.
  4. Select Turn On Lockdown Mode
  5. Your device will then restart to enable Lockdown Mode.

To turn off Lockdown Mode, navigate back to settings and toggle it off. Easy!

When should you use Lockdown Mode?

Lockdown Mode is not for most people in everyday situations. It’s designed to fight advanced hacking and targeted spyware. These attacks, such as the NSO Group’s Pegasus, happen to a small group of people. Pegasus, for instance, was used to spy on activists, politicians, and journalists. But Apple said it’s spotted similar attacks on users in over 150 countries during the past eight months. If you are a notable person or in a situation where you feel vulnerable or susceptible to attacks, then Lockdown Mode is for you. Otherwise, you’ll likely never need it.

When will Lockdown Mode be available?

According to Bloomberg, Apple recently released the third developer beta for iOS 16, and it includes Lockdown Mode. That means, if you are enrolled in Apple’s beta program for developers, you can try Lockdown Mode on your iPhone now. Just know it’s not stable software, and the feature might not look and work perfectly. Eventually, Lockdown Mode will launch with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. Apple previewed those major updates to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac at WWDC 2022 and is expected to officially release them this autumn.

Public betas of the updates might also arrive with Lockdown Mode for most consumers to test sometime this summer. Pocket-lint will keep you posted on Lockdown Mode’s rollout.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.

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