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What is Advanced Data Protection and How to Enable It: Guide

by Subham Raj
What is Advanced Data Protection and How to Use it

Apple recently introduced a new feature in iOS 16.2 called Advanced Data Protection. The feature is aimed to give users better security and more control over how their data is handled. It is Apple’s most promising security feature to date. Let’s have a deeper understanding of what Advanced Data Protection actually is and how to use Advanced Data Protection on our iPhones.

What Is Advanced Data Protection and What It’s Not

Whenever an iPhone user stores his/her data on iCloud, it is prone to attack by malicious hackers. The data may include sensitive photos and videos, contacts, messages, health data, keychain passwords, and much more. This is where Advanced Data Protection comes to the rescue. Advanced Data Protection provides end-to-end encryption to the “vast majority” (why vast majority and not all, more on that below) of most sensitive iCloud data which can only be decrypted on your trusted Apple devices i.e, your iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Thus providing the utmost security to user data.

In case you’re wondering, iCloud already protects 14 sensitive data i.e, passwords in keychain, health data, payment information, messages in iCloud, Apple card transactions, Home data, and much more by providing end-to-end encryption. But the Advanced Data Protection is expanding the list from 14 to 23. Now, turning it on will also encrypt your iCloud backups, Photos, Notes, Voice memos, etc. Here is the full list of services that are encrypted under Advanced Data Protection.

So what does “vast majority” of data mean? Apple uses that phrase because some data like iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendar need to interoperate with the global email, contacts, and calendar systems. So encrypting such data might result in an unwanted user experience.

How Does Advanced Data Protection Work

Let’s first understand how Apple’s Standard Data Protection works in order to get a hold of Advanced Data Protection. For anything that uses Apple’s Standard Data Protection first, the data gets encrypted and then a key is generated. Then the data and its keys both are stored in Apple’s iCloud server. So if someone with ill intentions gets access to Apple’s iCloud server might abuse your sensitive data, as both the keys and data are stored in the same place.

But Advanced Data Protection works in a different fashion. It sends end-to-end encrypted data to iCloud which can be decrypted only on your trusted devices i.e, where your private keys are stored. So even if someone gets a hold of Apple’s iCloud server, all they will get is a big pile of a jigsaw puzzle that only you have the keys to solve.

Important Stuff Related to Advanced Data Protection

Advanced Data Protection is an added layer of security for iCloud. Due to this, even Apple can’t peek into your data which can create a problem while recovering data from a locked-out iCloud account. To deal with such unpleasant situations, you need to consider three things so that you can never get locked out of your device.

  1. Your device passcode or password (passcode of iPhone and iPad, and password of your Mac, all associated with the same Apple ID).
  2. recovery contact (if you’ve not set a recovery contact, don’t worry we’ll even reveal the steps to do so below).
  3. recovery key (a randomly generated 28-character code that can help you reset the password of your Apple ID).

How to Enable the Advanced Data Protection

To use Advanced Data Protection, you need to set a Recovery Contact or turn on the Recovery Key on your iPhone first. You can choose to go with either one of them or may enable both, in case one doesn’t work out for you in the future. First, let’s look at the steps to enable Advanced Data Protection by adding a Recovery Contact.

1. Turn on Advanced Data Protection by Adding a Recovery Contact

1. Open Settings on your iPhone and tap on name/Apple ID.

2. Tap on iCloud to begin.

Settings on iPhone

3. Now tap on Advanced Data Protection.

4. Tap on Turn on Advanced Data Protection.

iCloud Settings on iPhone

5. On the next page tap on Set Up Account Recovery.

Note: This step is for those who haven’t set up their Account Recovery yet. If you have already set up the Recovery contact or Recovery key on your iPhone, then skip to step 14.

6. On the Account Recovery page tap on Add Recovery Contact.

Note: If you want to proceed with Recovery Key, we will cover steps for later.

Account Recovery Settings on iPhone

7. Tap on Add Recovery Contact.

8. Type the name of the person whom you want to add as a Recovery Contact. It might be your siblings, spouse, family, friends, etc. Once the contact of the person appears, tap on it to select it.

Pro Tip: Select someone from your contact list whom you trust the most and who is easily available to you in case you need their help in the future for resetting the password of your Apple ID.

Account Recovery Contact Settings on iPhone

9. Now tap on Add to proceed further.

10. On the next screen it will ask you to send a message to the Recovery Contact. Tap on Send to notify them, so that they can accept your invitation.

Sending a Message to Recovery Contact on iPhone

11. Tap on Done and wait for the person to accept the request for your Recovery Contact.

12. Once the person accepts your request, you’ll get a notification and then you can proceed to the next step.

Message Sent to Recovery Contact on iPhone

13. Tap on the Apple ID to go back to the Apple ID settings page.

14. Now tap on iCloud.

Back to Apple ID Settings on iPhone

15. On the iCloud page scroll down and tap on Advanced Data Protection.

16. Tap on Turn On Advanced Data Protection.

Navigating to Advanced Data Protection Settings on iPhone

17. Tap on Review Recovery Methods.

18. Review the Recovery Contacts and tap on Continue to proceed further.

Reviewing Recovery Methods on iPhone

19. Enter your iPhone passcode/password.

20. Advanced Data Protection has now been turned on for your iCloud. Tap on Done and now you can continue using your iPhone like usual.

Advanced Data Protection Turned On for iCloud

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2. Turn on Advanced Data Protection by Adding a Recovery Key

Maybe you don’t want to choose a contact as your Recovery Contact backup. In that case, you can also proceed by adding a Recovery Key to your Apple ID. Let’s look at the steps to enable Advanced Data Protection by adding a Recovery Key.

Note: Please take a look above at steps 1 to 4 to navigate to the Advanced Data Protection page or go to Settings > Name/Apple ID > iCloud > Advanced Data Protection. Once there, continue from step 1 below.

1. Once on the Advanced Data Protection page, tap Turn On Advanced Data Protection.

2. Tap on Set Up Account Recovery.

Advanced Data Protection Settings on iPhone

3. On the Account Recovery page, tap on Recovery Key.

4. Tap on the toggle right next to the Recovery Key option.

Account Recovery Settings on iPhone

5. On the pop-up menu tap on Use Recovery Key.

6. Enter your iPhone’s passcode/password on the next screen.

Recovery Key Settings on iPhone

7. A Recovery Key will be generated in front of you, please note it down on a notepad or take a quick screenshot.

Note: We would suggest you note it down or take a printout of the screenshot, just don’t leave it on the iPhone. Otherwise, in case you get locked up, you will lose access to your Recovery Key.

8. Type your recently generated Recovery Key to verify it and then tap on Next.

Verify Recovery Key Settings on iPhone

9. Tap on Back.

10. Tap on Apple ID to go back. You have successfully generated a Recovery Key for your Apple ID. Now let’s go back to Apple ID and enable Advanced Data Protection.

Going Back to Account Recovery Settings on iPhone

11. On the Apple ID page tap on iCloud.

12. Tap on Advanced Data Protection.

Apple ID and iCloud Settings on iPhone

13. Tap on Turn On Advanced Data Protection.

14. Now tap on Review Recovery Methods.

Advanced Data Protection and Review Recovery Method Settings on iPhone

15. Enter the Recovery Key you just noted down, and then tap on Next.

16. Enter your iPhone’s passcode/password.

Verify Recovery Key Settings iPhone

17. Tap on Done. Voila! Advanced Data Protection has now been turned on for your iCloud. All the data stored on your iCloud will be end-to-end encrypted from now on.

Advanced Data Protection Turned on for iCloud

Also Read: How to Take and Highlight a Screenshot on Mac.

FAQs

1. Can I enable Advanced Data Protection on my iPad, as I don’t have an iPhone?

Yes, you can. In fact, the steps for the iPad are mostly identical to the iPhone that we shared above. Just follow the above-mentioned guide thoroughly and you’ll be able to enable it on your iPad in no time.

2. Why Advanced Data Protection is not available in my country/region yet? When will it be available on my device?

Apple hasn’t specified a reason why they haven’t rolled it out globally yet. This feature is currently available in the US and will be made available to the rest of the world in early 2023. Advanced Data Protection will be made available in China too.

3. I have some devices linked to my Apple ID, and Advanced Data Protection is saying to remove those devices, what to do?

If you have some old devices that are linked with the same Apple ID, try updating them first to their latest OS. If the device can’t be updated you need to remove those devices from your Apple ID in order to fully enjoy the safety of Advanced Data Protection.

Advanced Data Protection: One Step Forward

Advances Data Protection is a step in the right direction and further strengthens iCloud security. Now you can store all types of data from your Apple devices and they will be end-to-end encrypted. Not even Apple can have a look at your data and if the iCloud servers are hacked, the hacker won’t have access to the decryption key. I hope this guide was helpful to you in understanding the need for Advanced Data Protection and enabling it on your device.

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