Photo: Youssef Sarhan

By: Nick Gambino

The iPhone and pretty much all of Apple’s products have always been recognized as being some of the most secure devices in the world. With cyberattacks running rampant, iPhones, iPads, and Macs have seemed virtually impervious to viruses and such.

But, in actuality, there are no absolutes, which is why Apple is introducing a new feature to further shore up the iPhone and other devices from prying eyes and bad actors. It’s called Lockdown Mode and we’ll see it this fall.

Lockdown Mode is an extreme measure that, when activated, allows the iPhone to block a number of functions that allow incoming and outgoing transmissions.

“Lockdown Mode – the first major capability of its kind, coming this fall with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura – is an extreme, optional protection for the very small number of users who face grave, targeted threats to their digital security,” an Apple blog post reads.

The feature is geared toward those who might be in a line of work where hackers will target their efforts more strongly. If you deem it necessary and turn on Lockdown Mode, you’ll see an increase in security measures such as blocked message attachments (not including images), limited web browsing, blocked incoming FaceTime calls and other service requests, blocked connection to accessories when iPhone is locked and no ability to install remote management apps.

This is only the beginning. Apple will continue to add more protection as they collect feedback on the feature. They’re even doubling rewards paid out to people who find weaknesses in Lockdown Mode. They’re offering up to $2 million for qualifying finds. That’s purportedly the highest payout in the tech industry.

As with most new Apple features, developers have access to Lockdown Mode right now as part of the beta version of iOS 16. It’ll roll out to all users when iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura are released publicly sometime this fall.

In addition to Lockdown Mode, Apple is also issuing a grant of $10 million to the Dignity and Justice Fund to “support organizations that investigate, expose, and prevent highly targeted cyberattacks, including those created by private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware.”

The Dignity and Justice Fund will start issuing their own grants sometime in the next year.