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Apple to launch Lockdown Mode in its devices to battle spyware firms: Here are the details

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Apple to launch Lockdown Mode in its devices to battle spyware firms: Here are the details
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Apple has announced a new 'Lockdown Mode' for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Macs to safeguard users' data from sophisticated spyware(s). The new privacy-focused feature will roll out with iOS 16, iPad 16, and macOS Ventura "this fall". Apple describes the 'Lockdown Mode' as an "extreme, optional protection" for the very small number of users who face "grave" threats to their digital security.

Over the past several years, state-sponsored entities have hacked high-profile users by gaining remote access to data on their iPhones.

Lockdown Mode will affect the Messages app, FaceTime, Apple online services, configuration profiles, the Safari web browser, and wired connections.

With the tool in place, the Messages app will block attachments other than images and disable link previews. The web browser, another frequent conduit for hackers, will also be severely limited, with restrictions on certain fonts, web languages, and features involving reading PDFs and previewing content.

In FaceTime, users won't be able to receive calls from an individual that they haven't previously called within the preceding 30 days.

Lockdown mode can be turned on using a toggle at the bottom of the privacy menu within the settings app on Apple devices. During the setup, users will be warned that enabling the tool will mean the device "will not function as it typically does" and that "apps, websites, and features will be strictly limited for security and some experiences will be completely unavailable," according to screenshots of the feature shared by Apple.

The company didn't say when versions of the feature may arrive on other Apple operating systems, including watchOS for the Apple Watch, but said it plans to add new protections in the future.

Other online services will also get changes in Lockdown Mode, but Apple didn't specify the exact differences.

Apple also said it would pay researchers a security bounty of as much as $2 million if they find ways to bypass Lockdown Mode and help improve its protections.

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TAGS:Apple iphone spyware firms 
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