Privacy has become a necessity nowadays, as violations are increasing, and user data has become a common sight for everyone. For Apple, the situation is different because it cares about privacy and considers it an acquired right for every user. However, this is not enough; So, during the following lines, we will learn about data encryption on the iPhone, what data is encrypted and whether it can be accessed, and some tips to improve security on your device.
How to enable data encryption on iPhone
It is possible that the iPhone data encryption setting is already on; As soon as you put in a passcode or face ID, unlock your mobile phone and log into the apps, the encryption works. Here's how to check to see if your data is protected and what to do if it isn't.
- Open Settings.
- Scroll down and select Face ID & Passcode.
- Enter the passcode you set up.
- Check to see that Turn Passcode Off is turned on. This means that your passcode is currently enabled and the iPhone data encryption is active when it is locked.
- If you see Turn on passcode, you haven't set up a passcode or the one you created has been disabled. Click on Turn on passcode and enter the password.
- Scroll down the page. You should see a message Data protection is enabled, it means that your device data is protected and it is now more difficult to access.
- If you don't see this message, double-check to make sure your passcode is enabled.
- You may sometimes find it inconvenient to use a passcode but it is required for the iPhone data encryption process to work properly.
Does Apple provide encryption for the iPhone?
Yes, all Apple devices such as iPhone, iPod, iPad and Mac support built-in basic encryption while passcode is enabled and the encryption in iOS is called Data Protection and data encryption in Mac is referred to as FileVault.
What does encryption of the iPhone mean?
When you lock your iPhone and enable the passcode, the majority of your personal data and your Apple account are encrypted. This encryption makes it difficult for anyone to access your device information whether they are physically close to you or trying to hack your iPhone over the Internet, a cellular network, or even through a Bluetooth connection.
Unlocking the iPhone using the passcode or Face ID decrypts the device's data, so that you or anyone you give it to while the device is unlocked, can access that data without a problem.
What data is encrypted?
When the iPhone data protection setting is enabled, the following type of information and activity is encrypted:
- and usernames.
- Wi-Fi settings and preferences.
- Web browsing history in Safari.
- health data.
- Phone history and iMessage.
- Pictures and videos.
- Contacts, notes, and reminders.
- Other Apple app data.
And while the extra protection offered should give you more peace of mind, it's important to realize that this data is fully encrypted when backed up to Apple's servers via iCloud because Apple doesn't yet provide full encryption in the cloud.
Apple initially planned to fully encrypt all user backups to help protect privacy, but eventually retracted this after pressure from the FBI, so authorities can still access iPhone data saved on the cloud as part of a copy iCloud backups with a warrant.
This means that even though your iPhone's encryption protects the data inside from direct attacks, authorities can still access any files or encrypted activity you synced with your iCloud account during the backup.
Does encryption protect everything on the iPhone?
Most data associated with first-party Apple apps and services is protected when data encryption is enabled, but this does not include information and files associated with third-party apps.
For example, enabling iPhone data encryption will not protect your Facebook account from hackers if you use a weak password for it and two-factor authentication is not enabled, and the encryption will also not protect any communications you make via a third-party messaging app if their servers are compromised. Enabling encryption on your iPhone is just one step you must take when it comes to protecting your personal data.
Tips to improve security
- Switch to a messaging app with end-to-end encryption like Telegram or Signal.
- Rely on a web browser that focuses heavily on privacy like Brave.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on as many accounts and apps as possible.
- Never use the same password for more than one account and always keep it strong and unguessable.
- Keep your iPhone apps and operating system updated regularly.