The iPhone SE 2022 in red, along with the box
The iPhone SE 2022 in red, along with the box

Apple is introducing a new security feature called Lockdown Mode for iPhone, iPad and Mac computers, which will arrive as part of this autumn’s software major updates.

The extreme protection feature is designed to be enabled when an individual has reason to believe their devices have been targeted by a “highly sophisticated cyberattack.” In the main, Apple says this action is being taken to combat malicious attacks “from private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware.”

Apple says that once Lockdown Mode is enabled, the device will stop acting in the way users have come to expect. That means Messages attachments (other than images) are blocked, some web technologies like just-in-time JavaScript compilation will be disabled, and FaceTime calls from unknown users will be blocked.

“Apps, websites and features will be strictly limited for security and some experiences will be completely unavailable,” the company will inform users on the Lockdown Mode screen, which anyone can use regardless of whether they believe they have been attacked.

iPhone Lockdown Mode

The company says that most users will never have to enact Lockdown Mode in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, but it will offer an extreme, optional level of security for those who’ve been personally targeted by the baddies.

“Apple makes the most secure mobile devices on the market. 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 and Architecture, in a Newsroom post.

“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. That includes continuing to design defences specifically for these users, as well as supporting researchers and organisations around the world doing critically important work in exposing mercenary companies that create these digital attacks.”

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