Apple has announced a significant expansion of end-to-end encryption for iCloud cloud services. The initiative is called Advanced Data Protection and extends end-to-end encryption to a number of additional iCloud services, including device backups, iMessage backups, photos, and more.

iCloud already offers end-to-end encryption for 14 different categories of data, including things like iCloud Keychain and health data. Advanced Data Protection, however, increases the number of categories of data protected by end-to-end encryption to 23. The new iCloud services and types of data that are now protected by end-to-end encryption are:

  • Device backups;
  • Backup copies of messages;
  • iCloud Drive;
  • Notes;
  • Photos;
  • Reminders;
  • Safari bookmarks;
  • Siri shortcuts;
  • Voice notes;
  • Wallet passes.

“iCloud encrypts your data to keep it secure,” Apple explains. “End-to-end encrypted data can be decrypted only on your trusted devices where you’re signed in with your Apple ID. No one else can access your end-to-end encrypted data — not even Apple — and this data remains secure even in the case of a data breach in the cloud.”

In the beginning, the Advanced Data Protection feature will be available only on request, that is, to enable it, you need to go to Settings and go to the iCloud menu.

If a user turns on Advanced Data Protection, it means that no one but them will have the keys to decrypt that data, including Apple. You will be able to access the data through one of your trusted Apple devices, such as an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. In addition, during the activation of advanced data protection, the user will be prompted to create at least one trusted contact, who will be provided with a decryption key. This is needed if you’ve forgotten your Apple device passcode or can’t use your trusted devices.

Advanced Data Protection launches today in the latest iOS 16.2 beta. It will be available to all users in the US by the end of this year, with expansion to the rest of the world planned for early 2023.