Every iOS update adds new privacy and security features, and iOS 16 is no exception. Apple has added tools to make it easier to apply security updates, new Face ID features, photo security improvements, and more, with details on each of the new privacy and security options listed below.
The Settings app includes a new “Security Check” feature designed to make it easier for users to quickly reset any data and location access they’ve given others. According to Apple, Safety Check is aimed at people in domestic or intimate partner violence situations.
You can get to the security check by opening the Settings app and tapping on the “Privacy & Security” section. From there, scroll down to Security Check. Safety Check has two options including an emergency reset and a checklist of all your data sharing options.
Note that Safety Check has a “Quick Exit” button that takes you straight to the iPhone home screen in case you risk being caught using it.
Emergency Reset is a one-tap option that can protect your iOS device in just a few clicks. Using emergency reset will immediately stop sharing everything with everyone and apps.
This includes anything you might share with others, e.g. B. location information, your home data, photo albums and more.
Emergency Reset also lets you remove all emergency contacts and reset your Apple ID and password so no one can log into your account.
For less emergency situations, there’s a guide to managing sharing and access, which gives you an overview of what you’re sharing so you can’t be secretly tracked or monitored using location sharing, shared albums, or other “iPhone” use functions.
You can see exactly who you share data with and what data they have access to, and which apps have access to your data. You can select people or apps and select Stop Sharing option to turn off sharing immediately.
You’ll also see a list of any third-party apps you have installed and what data they have access to, along with tools for disabling that access. You can see what permissions an app has on an individual basis or based on data like Bluetooth, location, contacts and more.
Manage Sharing tells you exactly which devices your iCloud account is signed into and gives you the option to sign out. You can also reset your Apple ID and password, and turn off emergency contacts.
Locked hidden and recently deleted photo albums
In the iOS 16 Photos app, the Hidden and Recently Deleted albums cannot be opened without biometric authentication using Face ID, Touch ID, or a passcode.
Face ID in landscape mode
On iPhone 13 models, Face ID works in landscape mode after installing iOS 16. This allows “Face ID” to unlock the “iPhone” regardless of whether it is held in portrait or landscape mode.
Rapid Security Response
With “iOS 16” Apple can send security updates without having to update the entire operating system. In iOS 15, security updates are tied to iOS updates and require a full update, but “iOS 16” makes Apple easier to distribute security updates and speeds up their download.
When you update to iOS 16, Apple sets your device to install security updates automatically, but the feature can be turned off in General > Software Update > Automatic Updates.
Get important security improvements for your devices even faster. These improvements can be applied automatically between standard software updates.
Apps in “iOS 16” need explicit user permission before they can access the clipboard to copy and paste content. Apps need to ask to use the copy and paste feature, much like apps need permission to access the microphone, camera, location, and other sensitive data.
With “iOS 16” and its sister updates, Apple is adding passkeys to replace traditional passwords when logging into a website or app. According to Apple, passkeys are more secure than passwords and protect users from phishing, malware, and other attacks attempting to access the account again. Passkeys are not implemented in the iOS 16 beta, but will be introduced later this year.
Passkeys work via a key system. One key is public and stored on the website server while the second key is private and stored on the device. On the “iPhone” and other devices with biometric authentication, “Face ID” or “Touch ID” is used to authorize the passkey to authenticate the user to a website or app.
The key from the website and the key from the Apple device must match to allow login, and because the device key is private and only available to the user, it cannot be stolen, leaked, or phished.
Passkeys use the iCloud keychain, which requires two-factor authentication for added protection. Passkeys are synced across all of a user’s devices via the iCloud keychain, which is end-to-end encrypted with its own cryptographic keys.
Passkey synchronization between devices provides redundancy in the event that an “iPhone” is lost, but should all of a person’s Apple devices and passkeys be lost along with them, Apple has developed an “iCloud” keychain escrow feature to Recover passkey information. There is a multi-step authentication process to go through to recover an iCloud keychain with passkeys, or users can set up someone to act as their account recovery contact.
Passkeys sound complicated, but in practice it’s as simple as using Touch ID or Face ID to create a login passkey.
Apple has worked with FIDO Alliance members, including Google and Microsoft, to ensure passkeys can be used with non-Apple devices and across platforms. On non-Apple devices, passkeys work via QR codes that authenticate with the “iPhone,” but it requires support from other companies and needs to be adopted across the tech world.
iOS 16 adds lockdown mode, which provides an “extreme” level of security for activists, journalists, and others who are the target of sophisticated cyberattacks. Lockdown mode severely limits or disables the functionality of many features of the “iPhone” and blocks apps and websites.
Lockdown mode blocks most attachment types in messages, blocks FaceTime calls from non-contacts, restricts web browsing features, prevents installation of configuration profiles, and more. For a full list, see our lockdown article.
Lockdown mode isn’t for the average user and most people shouldn’t turn it on as it’s so restrictive. The feature is disabled by default and can be enabled in the “Privacy & Security” section of the Settings app.
Have questions about the new security and privacy features in iOS 16, know a feature we missed, or have feedback on this guide? Email us here.
security and privacy
With “iOS 16” comes a slew of security- and privacy-focused updates, including “Face ID” in landscape mode, security check, faster security updates, passkeys, and more.
We have a dedicated security and privacy guide highlighting every new feature you need to know about.