Apple strengthened user privacy on Wednesday by announcing new iCloud security features. This includes Advanced Data Protection with support for physical security keys. And end-to-end encryption for all data stored in the cloud. Apple’s SVP of software, Craig Federighi, discussed the reasons behind the company’s decision to add such features to iCloud in an interview with Joanna Stern of the WSJ.
Federighi responded that the company had been making progress toward complete data encryption ever since the launch of iCloud (2011). When asked why it took so long for Apple to implement end-to-end encryption in iCloud Backup, Federighi said that it was due to the complexity of the technology. All of these actions, the executive claimed, were “necessary precursors” to the introduction of iCloud Advanced Data Protection.
Only a small portion of the data types currently kept in iCloud, like passwords and health information, are end-to-end encrypted. However, users can choose to encrypt almost all of the data stored in iCloud with Advanced Data Protection. Which includes backups of the entire device as well as photos, notes, and voice memos.
When using the default iCloud protection, the data is synced with a key that enables Apple to access it should the user require it. Apple will no longer save this key in iCloud thanks to Advanced Data Protection, though. It will only be kept on the user’s device, though. It will be difficult for third parties to access this data if there is ever a breach on Apple’s servers.