Apple has today announced Lockdown Mode, a new feature that will limit the potential attack vector of iPhones, iPads, and Macs for those who find that they are particularly likely to be on the receiving end of spyware and other attacks.
Apple announced the new feature via press release, saying that it will be available in the next version of its iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura betas and will also be available as part of the final updates that will ship this fall.
When enabled, Lockdown Mode will make five fundamental changes to the way iPhones, iPads, and Macs function.
Messages: Most message attachment types other than images are blocked. Some features, like link previews, are disabled.
Apple services: Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked if the user has not previously sent the initiator a call or request.
Wired connections with a computer or accessory are blocked when iPhone is locked.
Configuration profiles cannot be installed, and the device cannot enroll into mobile device management (MDM), while Lockdown Mode is turned on.
Apple has also announced a new $10 million grant to “support organizations that investigate, expose, and prevent highly targeted cyberattacks, including those created by private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware.” Apple says the grant will be made to the Dignity and Justice Fund that was established by, and is advised by, the Ford Foundation.
Apple’s new software updates are all set to be made available to the public in or around September and while Lockdown Mode won’t be needed by most, it could be a vital one for journalists and other people at risk of attack.