iOS 16: Apple announces lockdown mode against cyber attacks with spyware


With Lockdown Mode, Apple yesterday announced a new security measure in iOS 16 against cyber attacks. The mode is aimed at people who are frequent targets of espionage, such as high-ranking corporate and government officials, journalists and activists.

As MacRumors reported that the lockdown mode will also appear for iPadOS and macOS Ventura and is already integrated in the current third beta of the new Apple operating systems. Although the feature is only aimed at a small group of people, it currently seems that all users can activate the safe mode. When the lockdown mode is activated, the functions of the devices are reduced to a minimum. As an additional security measure, the devices are restarted when the mode is activated or deactivated and the user password must be entered.

An “extreme” security level with numerous limitations

As Apple explains, lockdown mode is an “extreme” security level in which some features and the functionality of apps and websites are either severely limited or even switched off completely. The following security measures are activated in lockdown mode:

  • Messages: Most types of message attachments except images are blocked. Some features, such as link previews, are disabled.
  • Web Browsing: Certain complex web technologies, such as just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compilation, are disabled unless users opt out of block mode on a trusted website.
  • Wired connections to a computer or accessory are blocked when iPhone is locked.
  • Configuration profiles cannot be installed and the device cannot enroll in a Mobile Device Management (MDM) when lockdown mode is enabled.

Apple pays huge rewards for bypassing lockdown mode

Like Apple in the newsroom announced that, in addition to the current security measures, more will be added in the future. Apple has also expanded its bounty program for finding security vulnerabilities to include a category specifically for lockdown mode. Security researchers who manage to find vulnerabilities or even bypass the lockdown mode completely can expect rewards of up to two million US dollars.