iOS 16 security and privacy features: Everything you need to know

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iOS 16 security and privacy features: Everything you need to know
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Each iOS update adds new privacy and security features, and iOS 16 is no exception. Apple has added tools to make it easier to implement security updates, new Face ID capabilities, improved photo security, and more, with details on all the new privacy and security options outlined below.

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security check

There’s a new “Security Check” feature in the Settings app that’s designed to make it easier for people to quickly reset all data and location access they’ve given to other people. According to Apple, Safety Check is aimed at people in situations of domestic or intimate partner violence.

You can get to Security Checkup by opening the Settings app and tapping in the Privacy & security section. From there, scroll down to Security Check. Security Checkup has two options, including an emergency reset and a checklist of all your data sharing options.

Note that Safety Check has a “Quick Exit” button that takes you to the iPhone’s home screen if you are at risk of being caught using it.

emergency reset

Emergency reset is a one tap option that lets you protect your iOS device with just a couple taps. When you use Emergency Reset, it immediately stops sharing everything with all people and apps.

ios 16 security check emergency reset

This includes anything you can share with people, such as location information, your home data, photo albums, and more.

Emergency Reset lets you delete all emergency contacts and reset your Apple ID and password so that no one can log into your account.

manage sharing

For less of an emergency, there’s a Manage Sharing and Access walkthrough that lets you see an overview of the things you’re sharing so you can secretly use location sharing, shared albums, or other iPhone features. could not be tracked or monitored.

manage ios 16 sharing

You can see exactly who you’re sharing data with and what those people have access to, as well as which apps have access to your data. You can select people or apps and choose the “Stop Sharing” option to stop sharing immediately.

You’ll also see a list of all third-party apps you have installed and what data they have access to, along with tools to disable that access. You can see what permissions an app has on an individual basis, or by data like bluetooth, location, contacts, etc.

ios 16 manage sharing 2

Manage Sharing will tell you which devices your iCloud account is logged into, giving you the option to log out, as well as letting you reset your I Apple ID and password, as well as deactivating emergency contacts.

Close hidden and recently deleted photo albums

In the iOS 16 Photos app, Hidden and Recently Deleted albums cannot be opened via Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode without biometric authentication.

landscape face id

On iPhone 13 models, Face ID works in landscape mode once iOS 16 is installed. This allows Face ID to unlock the iPhone, whether it is in portrait or landscape orientation.

quick security response

With iOS 16, Apple can send out security updates without having to update the entire operating system. In iOS 15, security updates are tied to iOS updates and require a full update, but iOS 16 will make it easier for Apple to distribute security updates, and it will make them faster to download.

iOS 16 Security Update

When you update to iOS 16, Apple will set your device to automatically install security updates, but this feature can be turned off under General > Software Update > Automatic Updates.

Get significant security improvements to your devices even faster. These improvements may be applied automatically between standard software updates.

pasteboard permissions

Apps in iOS 16 require explicit user permission before they can access the clipboard to copy and paste content. Apps will need to be asked to use the copy and paste feature, just as apps require permission to access the microphone, camera, location, and other sensitive data.


With iOS 16 and its sister updates, Apple is adding passkeys that are designed to replace the traditional password when signing in to a website or app. Apple says passkeys are more secure than passwords, protecting users from phishing, malware, and other attacks that try to access the account again. Passkey is not implemented in the iOS 16 beta, but will be introduced later this year.

passkey ios 16 2

Passkeys work through a key system. One key is public and stored on the website server, while the other key is private and kept on the device. On the iPhone and other devices with biometric authentication, Face ID or Touch ID is used to authorize a passkey to authenticate the user to the website or app.

The website key and the Apple device key must match to allow login, and since the device key is private and only available to the user, it cannot be stolen, leaked or phished.

Passkeys use Cloud Keychain, which requires two-factor authentication for further security. Passkeys are synced across all of a user’s devices via the iCloudh Keychain, which is encrypted end-to-end with its own cryptographic keys.

Passkey synchronization across devices provides redundancy in the event an iPhone is lost, but should a person lose all of their Apple devices and their passkey with them, Apple created an iCloud Keychain Escrow function to recover passkey information. Recovering a cloud keychain with passkeys is a multi-step authentication process to go through, or users can set up an individual to serve as the account recovery contact.

Passkeys sound complicated, but in practice, it would be as simple as using Touch ID or Face ID to generate a passkey to go along with login.

Apple is working with FIDO Alliance members, including Google and Microsoft, to ensure that the passkey can also be used with non-Apple devices and all platforms. On non-Apple devices, passkeys will work via QR codes that the iPhone will authenticate using, but this will require support from other companies and adoption in the tech world.

lockdown mode

iOS 16 adds Lockdown Mode, with an “extreme” level of protection for activists, journalists and others who are targeted by sophisticated cyberattacks. Lockdown Mode strictly limits or disables many features of the iPhone as well as the functionality to lock apps and websites.

lockdown mode feature

Lockdown mode blocks most attachment types in messages, blocks FaceTime calls from non-contacts, limits web browsing tasks, prevents configuration profiles from being installed, and much more, complete available in our Lockdown article. with list.

Lockdown mode is not for the average user and most people should not turn it on, considering how restrictive it is. This feature is disabled by default and can be activated in the Privacy & Security section of the Settings app.

guide feedback

Have questions about new security and privacy features in iOS 16, know of a feature we skipped, or want to give feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

security and privacy

With iOS 16, there are several security and privacy-focused updates including landscape Face ID, Security Check, faster security updates, Passkey and more.

Apple Privacy Yellow

we have a Dedicated Security and Privacy Guide Which highlights every new feature you need to know about.

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