(The Hill) – Apple Inc. announced plans to offer users added encryption of data stored in iCloud accounts.
Apple’s end-to-end encryption service, called Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, will allow users to protect their most important data in their iCloud accounts, according to an Apple news release on Wednesday.
The company said the new feature will be available for 23 data categories including iCloud backup, notes and photos. Mail, contacts and calendar will not feature the end-to-end encryption service due to applications’ need to interoperate with the global email, contacts and calendar systems.
Apple also introduced the iMessage Contact Key Verification method, where users can verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend to communicate with, and the Security Keys feature, where users have the option to use a physical security key to sign in to their Apple ID account.
The Security Keys strengthen a user’s two-factor authentication and prevent a possible phishing attack in which a hacker tried to obtain a user’s second factor.
“At Apple, we are unwavering in our commitment to provide our users with the best data security in the world. We constantly identify and mitigate emerging threats to their personal data on device and in the cloud,” Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi said in a statement.
The new updates from Apple come as some government agencies in several countries have expressed their concern about not being able to access data from encrypted accounts for investigative purposes.
Some government legislatures have already implemented or passed legislation that would force Apple to cooperate with authorities on its customers’ privacy data against their customers’ wishes, according to the Washington Post.
Apple’s new Advanced Data Protection for iCloud feature is expected to be available to all U.S. iPhone users by the end of this year and will be available globally by early 2023.
The iMessage Contact Key Verification and Security Keys features will be available globally for users by 2023, the news release said.