Apple is revising its security implementations for its customers, as it announced many security announcements on Wednesday. The most significant change Apple will make is that the tech company will finally add end-to-end encryption to iCloud backups.
Under Advanced Data Protection, Apple will expand the number of “data categories” protected by end-to-end encryption from 14 to 23, with backups, Notes, and Photos now covered.
Based on a screenshot from Apple, these categories are covered when you flip on Advanced Data Protection: device backups, messages backups, iCloud Drive, Notes, Photos, Reminders, Safari bookmarks, Siri Shortcuts, Voice Memos, and Wallet Passes. Apple says the only “major” categories not covered by Advanced-Data Protection are iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar because “of the need to interoperate with the global email, contacts, and calendar systems,” according to its press release.
As per its previous standard data protection, Apple had access to the encryption keys for things that weren’t end-to-end encrypted, which allowed them to help you recover data if needed. End-to-end data can only be encrypted on “your trusted devices where you’re signed in with your Apple ID,” according to Apple, meaning that the tech company or law enforcement cannot access your data from Apple’s databases. It will be even more difficult, or downright impossible, for hackers to brute-force their way into the encrypted data.
Several privacy advocacy groups for long have demanded Apple expand end-to-end encryption to iCloud backups. Apple, reportedly, had scrapped plans to do so after the FBI complained.
Users on Apple’s beta program in the US will be able to enable Advanced Data Protection beginning Wednesday, Apple says. It will be available broadly to US users by the end of the year and will start rolling out globally in 2023.
Apple is also improving its two-factor authentication support by letting users secure their accounts with hardware keys starting early next year. Hardware keys have become viral tools to provide an extra layer of security for your online accounts, and soon, users will be able to use a key with your iCloud account as well.