Apple’s lockdown mode can protect against iPhone hacks. how to use it

For most of us follows basic privacy and security tips should be enough to protect us – and our data – online. But if you think you’re the target of a government-sponsored cyberattack with an industrial-grade spyware tool like Pegasusthe regular security rules may not be sufficient.

If you’re a journalist, politician, or activist concerned that your phone is the target of a state-sponsored cyberattack, Apple has released a security feature that anyone can use to protect their iPhone from these types of attacks.

Continue reading: Pegasus Spyware and Citizen Surveillance: What You Need to Know

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Apple’s new security tool called Lockdown Mode is built into iOS 16 and is designed to thwart attacks from malware and spyware like Pegasus. This isn’t the first move Apple has taken against Pegasus and its maker, NSO Group. In September 2020, Apple released a software update that turned to Pegasusso potential victims can receive threat notifications if compromised.

If you want to learn how to put lock mode on your iPhone, here’s what you need to know.

And if you’re interested in getting iOS 16 now, here it is How to download iOS 16 developer beta.

What does lockdown mode do?

According to Apple, lockdown mode provides an “extreme, optional level of security for the very few users who, by virtue of their identity or the nature of their jobs, may be personally the target of some of the most sophisticated digital threats.” The ones targeted by the Pegasus software are those “very few users”.

Essentially, lockdown mode increases iOS security features by restricting certain features that may be vulnerable to attack:

  • Most message attachments other than images are blocked and features like link previews are disabled.
  • Web technologies such as just-in-time JavaScript compilation are disabled unless you exclude them from lockdown mode.
  • Incoming invitations and service requests like FaceTime calls are blocked if you’ve never called the person before.
  • All Shared Albums in Photos will be removed and all new Shared Album invitations will be blocked.
  • All wired connections between your iPhone and computer or accessories are blocked.
  • Configuration profiles, like those for Apple’s public betas, cannot be installed.
  • Your device cannot enroll in mobile device management.

Which devices support lockdown mode?

Currently, you can use lockdown mode on any Apple device running iOS 16, iPadOS 16, or macOS Ventura. As of now, iOS 16 is only available as developer betabut it is expected to be available as a public beta soon.

Continue reading: Will my iPhone run iOS 16? what you need to know

How to enable lockdown mode on iOS 16

As long as you’re using iOS 16, you can currently download it as a public beta eligible phones, you can activate lockdown mode in seconds. All you have to do is walk settings > Privacy & Security > curfew moderead the description, tap Activate lockdown mode and then hit Power on and restart.

Your iPhone will restart immediately, after which it will go into lockdown mode. When you switch to Safari, you should see a “Lockdown Enabled” or “Lockdown Ready” banner at the top of the page, indicating that lockdown mode is indeed enabled and securing your iPhone.

Configure lockdown mode settings

While lockdown mode offers comprehensive security, you have the option to customize it to suit your needs.

As mentioned above, websites in Safari are heavily restricted in blocking mode, but you can bypass these restrictions by excluding a specific website. To do this, launch Safari, go to the website you want to exclude and click aa > Website Settings, switch off lockdown mode and type Turn Out of. The banner at the top of the site should now appear lock out.

To see all your excluded websites, go to settings > Privacy & Security > curfew mode and tap Configure web browsing at the end of the page.

How to disable lockdown mode

Need to disable lockdown mode?

Go to settings > Privacy & Security > curfew mode, tap Disable lockdown mode and then hit Power off and restart. When your iPhone boots back up, lock mode will be turned off and you’ll be able to use your iPhone normally again.

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