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What is blocking mode? iOS 16 feature explained

iOS 16 begins rolling out this week and brings a number of new features, including Ultra-Secure Lockdown Mode.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new iOS security feature.

What is blocking mode?

Lockdown Mode is an optional iOS feature designed to prevent the most sophisticated cyberattacks.

The setting imposes severe restrictions on your apps, browsing, and phone features, making it an unnecessary and potentially disruptive move for the average consumer, but a handy precaution for higher-end users.

“Lockdown Mode offers an extreme extra layer of security for the very few users who, because of who they are or what they do, can be personally targeted by some of the most sophisticated digital threats, such as those from the NSO Group and other private companies developing sponsored state mercenary spyware,” Apple explained in its Press release.

“Enabling Lockdown Mode in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura further enhances device security and severely restricts certain features, drastically reducing the attack surface that can potentially be exploited by highly targeted spyware for hire.”

What does blocking mode do?

Block Mode offers a range of protections covering everything from your messages and browsing to wired connections.

Most message attachment types other than images will be blocked and link previews disabled, as will web technologies such as JavaScript JIT compilation unless they come from a trusted site.

Incoming invitations and service requests from certain Apple services, such as FaceTime, will be blocked if the user has not contacted the caller first.

Wired connections to computers and other accessories will also be blocked when iPhone is locked, and configuration profiles cannot be installed when lock mode is enabled.

In addition, Apple has announced plans to further strengthen the lockdown mode over time based on feedback and suggestions from the security research community. The company has even created a new category under its Apple Security Bounty program solely focused on lockdown mode, with rewards of up to $2 million for anyone who can crack the feature.

What devices are in lockdown mode?

The security feature is due to launch with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, meaning any iPhone, iPad, or Mac that supports this update will be able to run Lockdown Mode.

This includes the new iPhone 14, 14 Plus, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.

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