Apple launches End-to-End Encryption for iCloud Photos & Backups

apple advanced data protection

On Wednesday, Apple announced that it is rolling out end-to-end encryption or E2EE for more of your iCloud data. This includes your photos and backups. Apple already had E2EE available and on by default for many iCloud categories. However, Calendar, Contacts and iCloud Mail are remaining unencrypted to support global systems.

Apple is rolling out E2EE today, which it is marketing as “Advanced Data Protection”. It’s available as part of the Apple Beta Software Program. And it is expected to be rolling out to everyone in the US by the end of 2022. Other countries will get access to this encryption in early 2023.

It’s important to note that you will need to set up an alternative recovery method, if you enable this feature, as Apple naturally won’t have the keys to get your data back. Apple says that it will allow hardware security keys as well.

What’s encrypted in iCloud now?

Apple’s Advanced Data Protection is going to be available on the iPhone, iPad and Mac starting with iOS 16.2 and macOS 13.1. Which will roll out later this month, with the Release Candidates for each one having rolled out today. That means that users should see the final build either later this week, or early next week.

So what content in iCloud is encrypted now with Advanced Data Protection? Well here’s the full list: Device Backups, Messages Backups, iCloud Drive, Notes, Photos, Reminders, Voice Memos, Safari Bookmarks, Siri Shortcuts, and Wallet Passes.

As mentioned earlier, some categories are still unencrypted to support global standards, like Calendars, Contacts and Mail.

Apple allows you to turn off Advanced Data Protection at any time. It also sounds like it will be enabled by default, which is a good thing. As a lot of users won’t even know that this is a thing, nor to turn it on. So encrypting this data by default is a good move by Apple.

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