With the release of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, hotspot connections instigated through an iPhone or iPad will have improved security thanks to the WPA3 protocol.
Currently, if you have an exposed hotspot connection on an iPhone or iPad running iOS 14 or iPadOS 14, that connection is protected using the WPA2 protocol.
On devices that are currently running an iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 beta, and devices that install iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 when it is released officially later this year, those devices will feature strong WPA3 connection, which was released by the Wi-Fi Alliance three years ago with the aim to “simplify Wi-Fi security, enable more robust authentication, and deliver increased cryptographic strength.”
The WPA3 security protocol isn’t entirely new to users with an iPhone or iPad. Those devices have long been able to connect to other networks that embed the WPA3 protocol but have never embedded it themselves. Now, with the release of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 later this year (likely September) that will all change with support for the more secure standard.
In terms of how a device owner will actually use the hotspot experience, nothing will actually change. Turning the hotspot experience on and off will remain the same and users will still be able to use insecure, simple passwords should they choose to do so. But they will be encouraged to use strong, more resilient passwords that will hopefully prevent against third-parties from guessing the password.
Those who want to take part of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 will need to wait until later this year when Apple releases it. Unless, of course, they want to get involved in Apple’s public beta, which will likely be released very soon. For those who do get involved in the public beta, keep in mind that it’s a very early beta with months of development ahead of it and likely isn’t ready to be installed on a daily driver device.