Apple’s iOS 17 update, released on September 18, 2023, includes a number of new and improved security features, many of which are aimed at protecting people at greater risk of cyberattacks and spyware, such as journalists, activists, and human rights defenders.
Lockdown Mode, which was introduced in iOS 15.2, is a set of extreme security measures that can be enabled to protect your device from highly targeted attacks. In iOS 17, Lockdown Mode has been expanded to include new features and protections, such as:
- Apple Watch support: Lockdown Mode can now be enabled and managed on Apple Watch, as well as on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. This is important because some recent spyware attacks have been able to compromise Apple Watches.
- Geolocation removal: Lockdown Mode now automatically removes the geolocation data from photos by default when sharing photos with other people. This can help to protect your privacy and prevent others from tracking your location.
- Wi-Fi and cellular restrictions: Lockdown Mode now blocks automatically joining non-secure Wi-Fi networks and connections to 2G cellular networks. This can help to protect you from a variety of exploits.
Anti-web tracking features
iOS 17’s Safari browser now strips tracking information from web addresses by default. This makes it more difficult for websites and advertisers to track you across the web. You can also choose to enable Advanced Tracking and Fingerprinting Protection in Safari settings, which will further block advertisers from tracking you.
Private browsing in Safari now locks by default, prompting you to scan your face or fingerprint before your private tabs will open. This helps to protect your privacy and prevent others from accessing your private browsing history.
Passkeys, a new phishing-resistant way to log in to websites and apps, are getting an update in iOS 17. You can now share passkeys (and passwords, if necessary) with friends and family using end-to-end encryption. This means that nobody else, not even Apple, can access your shared credentials.
Check In is a new feature in iOS 17 that lets you share your travel plans with friends and family. Check In will monitor your real-time location and alert your friend or family member if you don’t arrive at your destination on time. This location data is end-to-end encrypted, so your friends and family members are the only ones who can see it.
Live Transcription is a new feature in iOS 17 that can transcribe the voice of a caller into text displayed on the screen in real time. This can be helpful for identifying and avoiding spam and scam calls.
Overall, the iOS 17 security update includes a number of important new and improved features that can help to protect your device and your data from a variety of threats. If you’re an iPhone user, I encourage you to update to iOS 17 as soon as possible.