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How to update your iPhone to get end-to-end encryption

Not even Apple can see your stuff when it’s on their servers, and the cops can’t get to it even with a warrant.

illustration of how apple advanced data protection will look like on the iphone
Image: KnowTechie

Apple released a new iPhone, iPad, and Mac update that offers users even more privacy for data stored on iCloud, thanks to end-to-end encryption.

The update includes a new feature called Advanced Data Protection. Users can now encrypt Apple Photos, Notes, iMessage conversations, and iCloud backups kept in the cloud.

If you turn on this feature, most of what you put in iCloud is only accessible to you. And if someone hacks iCloud, your data is safe.

Not even Apple can see your stuff when it’s on their servers, and the cops can’t get to it even with a warrant.

illustration of imessage contact key verification in action
Image: Apple

But since Apple won’t have the keys to your stuff anymore, you’ll have to set up another way to get it back if you lose access to your account.

Advanced Data Protection means users are on their own when recovering their data if they lose access. So, no more trips to the Genius Bar and no more easy backups in the case of an emergency.

If you find yourself locked out of your account, Apple says you’ll need your device password, recovery contact, or recovery key to get your iCloud data back.

How to set up Advanced Data Protection on your iPhone

Apple Advanced Data Protection screenshots for iPhone, iPad, and Mac on a purple background
Image: KnowTechie

First, update all your Apple products. This includes updating your iPhone, iPad, and Mac to the latest version of their operating systems.

For a quick refresher, click any of these below for step-by-step instructions on updating your device:

After updating your Apple devices to the latest version of their operating systems, you’re ready to proceed.

Here’s how to set up Advanced Data Protection on your iPhone

  1. Go to Settings > iCloud > Advanced Data Protection

  2. Once there, tap ‘Account Recovery’ or ‘Advanced Data Protection’ to move ahead

  3. You’ll see a notification letting you know you’re responsible for your data recovery. Tap ‘Set Up Account Recovery’ to begin the process

  4. This step will ask you to add a recovery contact or generate a recovery key

  5. Apple suggests choosing someone you trust to help you get access back to your account. Just keep in mind that Apple won’t be able to help you get back in

  6. Next, you’ll be asked to message your chosen recovery contact to let them know they’ve been selected. They’ll need to approve your request before you can move forward

  7. Alternatively, you can set up a recovery key if you don’t want to trust someone else with all your iCloud data. This is a 28-character code you’ll need to keep safe to recover your backups

  8. After setting up your recovery key, you’ll be asked to verify it by retyping it. Once you’ve done so, your recovery key will be enabled

  9. Finally, once you turn on Advanced Data Protection, you’ll have to enter your iPhone password to enable it

There you go. You have now enabled Advanced Data Protection on your iPhone.

A couple of things to remember with Advanced Data Protection

Remember, if you don’t have your recovery key stored safely or a recovery contact set up – you’re screwed. Your data is as good as gone.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

A couple of things to note, as pointed out by MacRumors Joe Rossignol: iCloud Mail, Calendar, and Contacts are still not end-to-end encrypted.

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