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New iPhone ‘Lockdown Mode’ that protects you from hackers is ‘like turning your handset into Fort Knox’

LOCKDOWN MODE, Apple’s fresh cybersecurity tool coming to handsets with the arrival of iOS16, has been praised by cybersecurity experts.

The new feature, which was unveiled as part of the iPhone 14 launch on Wednesday, gives users the option to temporarily switch off some of the most-abused device features.


The iPhone’s new Lockdown Mode is part of the iOS 16 updateCredit: Apple

At the push of a button, users can launch Lockdown Mode and make it harder for online crooks to install spyware and steal private phone data.

One cyber security expert has gone as far as saying that Lockdown Mode is the “most heavy-duty weapon” in Apple’s cybersecurity artillery.

“It’s the sort of feature that is probably standard issue among intelligence agents, now rolled out to a far wider audience,” said Marijus Briedis, Chief Technology Officer at NordVPN.

“With just a few swipes users can set up the equivalent of Fort Knox on their iPhone, protecting data on their handset from the attention of would-be hackers.”

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This is because, once activated, Lockdown Mode restricts the activity allowed on your device, giving cybercriminals a far smaller target to aim at. 

“The growth of powerful state-sponsored Spyware like Pegasus has been one clear motivation for tougher measures,” said Briedis.

“But Apple’s announcement last month of a security flaw affecting devices running a previous version of iOS shows why consumers could also be tempted by the new feature.”

Using Lockdown Mode does come at a cost, however, the security pro added.

He said that employing this security measure will limit your iPhone’s performance and what you can do with it.

For one, most message attachments and links will be blocked when in Lockdown Mode, and shared photo albums will be unavailable. On top of this, anonymous FaceTime calls will be a thing of the past. 

“Added to this, the mode is not something you can simply toggle on and off without a full system reset.

“Unless you are a high-ranking government minister or privy to priceless state or commercial secrets, engaging Lockdown Mode to safeguard your phone is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

It is certainly worth evaluating the risk of running Lockdown Mode, especially since it might make you look like you’ve got something to hide. 

“If cybercriminals have your device in their sights, running the feature could convince anyone tracking your phone that you have something worth stealing,” Briedis added.

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