Apple’s Upcoming iOS 16 iPhone Features Now Include a Lock Mode to Fight Hackers

We’re apparently getting even closer to a public beta of Apple’s much-hyped iOS 16 as the developers received a third beta update this week.

And many experts say they continue to be impressed with what they’re seeing so far. For instance, users will soon have the ability to edit a post after sending or cancel sending a message. Additionally, users will receive an updated lock screen and other key software updates announced by Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference last month.

“They will really come into their own when, if the rumors are correct, the iPhone 14 Pro models get always-on display,” said a UK-based blogger and tech developer. Olivier Haslam. “But even on current hardware, being able to see certain information without fully unlocking is more important than it first appears.”

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What is lock mode?

And on Wednesday, Apple unveiled a previously unannounced new feature called Lock mode for iPhone, iPad and Mac users who are concerned about falling victim to hacking attempts and spyware attacks. Apple calls this soon-to-be-released feature “extreme, optional protection for the very small number of users facing serious, targeted threats to their digital security.”

Which phones will have iOS 16?

This new feature comes as speculation grows that the public beta of iOS 16 could arrive as soon as next week. Currently, the software is only available to registered beta tester developers. The official release of iOS 16 will take place this fall and will likely coincide with the arrival of new iPhones usually unveiled around September.

The feature will be available on iPhone 8, iPhone XR and newer models released after 2017. Unfortunately, this also means that very reliable but older iPhone 6 and 7 models cannot support iOS 16.

However, for those who are cost-conscious, the iPhone 8 is a very affordable model, said Lucas Freemandirector of support Swapaan online marketplace selling used and refurbished mobile devices.

“The iPhone 8 and XR are still solid devices many years after release,” Freeman said, adding that the iPhone 8 has an average price of $175 on Swappa. “iOS 16 will work fine on these models.”

Keep your iPhone in lock mode

Lockdown Mode also provides protections against blocked attachments, link previews in certain messages, vulnerable web browsing technologies, and incoming FaceTime calls from unknown numbers.

In a report, Ivan KrsticChief Security Architect and Engineer at Apple, said, “Lockdown Mode is a game-changing capability that reflects our unwavering commitment to protecting users against the rarest and most sophisticated attacks.

In addition to Lockdown Mode, the tech giant also announced a $10 million grant and bug bounty of up to $2 million through the Apple Security Bounty program for any researchers who manage to crack the new feature.

Lockdown Mode is among several included in iOS 16 that gives consumers what they may have wanted for a long time and finally gets a good example of Apple at its best, Haslam said.

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“It’s a feature that a vast majority of people will never use. Most won’t even know it exists,” Haslam said of lockdown mode. “But those who need it, journalists in war zones, people who might be the target of spyware attacks for information they have or conversations they might have, they will benefit from the ability to configure their devices to be hardened in a way that a normal one would not be.”

How do users enable lockdown mode?

For those who have iOS 16 in beta mode, here’s what you can do:

Launch “Settings” on your Apple device; Then tap on “Privacy and security”. Next, scroll down and tap Lock Mode to enable the feature. Read the Lock Mode information, then scroll down to tap “Enable Lock Mode.”

From there, “Tap Activate and restart” to confirm and activate, or press “Cancel” to not activate the function.

Apple’s Lock Mode feature aims to prevent users from hacking and attacking spyware.

Is iOS 16 Apple’s best operating system yet?

Haslam said each iOS update can be considered the best yet due to new features and Apple fixing some long-standing issues. He cites an improved lock screen and the new focus mode feature as examples.

Haslam also has a personal interest in the Photo Library feature, something users like him have wanted for about 15 years. He’s excited about the possibility of him and his wife sharing a library of family photos.

“If it works and can be trusted, it will change the way a lot of people handle photos,” he said.

When asked if he thinks iOS 16 is the tech giant’s best operating system yet, Haslam said every version is better than the previous version – with some slight exceptions.

“iOS 16 is no different, but this one feels like Apple peeked into a giant wishlist and checked things out,” Haslam said. “That said, it’s always hard to rate a new update when we’re two betas away.”

“We are still in the early days. A lot can change, whole features can go, new ones can be added.”

Aaron Painter, the CEO of Nametag, a Seattle-based ID-based authentication company, agrees. Painter, who is running a beta version of iOS 16, was impressed with the Access keys feature, which offers a new way to sign in to services or websites simply by using your iPhone to sign in with Touch ID or Face ID.

Painter, a former longtime Microsoft executive, said Apple’s Passkeys feature makes logging “to the next level much easier and faster.”

Haslam said the company is at a stage where it can take more risks to improve its products.

“You could say that iOS is now mature enough that Apple can start adding some bells and whistles while addressing pain points from years past,” he said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Apple’s new iOS 16 lock mode combats hacking and targeted spyware

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