Apple has introduced a new security feature that most people are probably never going to use… but which could come in handy if you’re a journalist, activist, or government worker at high risk of a sophisticated, targeted attack.
Lockdown Mode, which will roll out this fall to iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, essentially makes it a lot harder for an attacker to infect your device with malware. But it does that by making your phone, tablet, or computer a lot less useful.
Once enabled, Lockdown Mode will, for example, will put some of the following restrictions on supported Apple devices:
- Messages: Most attachments are blocked, some other features aren’t available.
- FaceTime: Calls from people you haven’t already called within the past 30 days will be blocked.
- Web Browsing: Some features and technologies are blocked.
- Shared Albums: You won’t see them in the Photos app, and you won’t be able to receive invitations for any new Shared Albums.
- Device Connections: Wired connections to another device or accessory are blocked while your device is locked.
- Apple Services: Invitations for Apple Services from people you haven’t previously invited are blocked.
- Profiles: There’s no support for installing school, work, or other configuration profiles.
The company says other features and restrictions will be added to Lockdown Mode in the future, and Bloomberg reports that a version of Lockdown Mode could also find its way to other Apple devices including the Apple Watch in the future. .
Apple says Lockdown Mode is designed for “the very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security,” and the company clearly doesn’t expect most people to use the feature. But it could offer an extra level of protection for folks at risk… or give you an excuse to make your phone a little less useful if you need an escape from the distractions of modern digital life.