With iOS 16, Apple is introducing a function that is intended to significantly increase the protection of iPhone users. In the so-called “blocking mode” the cult cell phone is rigorously sealed off. However, the higher protective wall also has its downsides.

- Advertisement -

Attackers are trying to get hold of iPhone users’ data using increasingly sophisticated methods. Most attacks can be easily repelled with a little common sense and general caution. However, according to Apple, a small group of iPhone owners is particularly targeted by the attackers. The US group now has one for them introduced new feature in iOS 16: the blocking mode.

Apple wants to better protect iPhone users with blocking mode

This is intended to protect people who are “endangered by targeted cyber attacks by private companies with state-sponsored spy software,” Apple writes. This includes journalists, human rights activists and dissidents. The blocking mode is activated via the settings in the iPhone. Once pressed, the smartphone is then locked. According to Apple, the following protective functions should be available at the start:

  • Messages: Except for images, most message attachments should be blocked. Link previews are disabled.
  • Internet: Certain web technologies such as Just-in-Time (JIT) or JavaScript compilation are disabled. However, users can exclude trusted websites from deactivation.
  • Apple services: Incoming invitations and service requests, including FaceTime calls, are blocked unless users first call the sender or send a request.
  • When iPhone is locked, wired connections to a computer or accessory are blocked.
  • If the lock screen is active, configuration profiles cannot be installed and the device cannot enroll in Mobile Device Management (MDM).
- Advertisement -

According to Apple, this is just the beginning. In the future, the group wants to further improve the blocking mode and add new protections.

Block mode for iPad and Mac users too

The trigger for the increased protective measures is the NSO Group, which Apple mentions several times in its announcement about the blocking mode. The Israeli company has managed to hack iPhone users with its Pegasus software. Apple would like to put a stop to such attacks in the future. Blocking mode is available for iPhone from iOS 16. Also from iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura for iPad and Mac users.